LONDON Princess Diana's sons were said on
Wednesday to be extremely disappointed that a British
television channel ignored their pleas not to screen graphic
photos in a documentary about her death in a Paris car crash 10
Princes William and Harry have called the photos, to be
screened by Channel 4 on Wednesday evening, "a gross disrespect
to their mother's's mother'smemory."
Channel 4 said it would press ahead with plans to broadcast
"Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel," that pieces together her
last moments, after weighing the princes' concerns against the
legitimate public interest.
"The princes are extremely disappointed at Channel 4's
decision to go ahead with the program," a spokesman for William
and Harry told Reuters.
Senior aide James Lowther-Pinkerton, who wrote to the
station with an 11th hour appeal from the princes, said: "It's
the scene of their mother's last moment on earth. It's an
invasion of their privacy."
In light of extensive press coverage in the lead-up to the
broadcast, Lowther-Pinkerton and the princes' communications
secretary Paddy Harverson had asked for a private viewing of
the film. They briefed the princes afterwards.
Channel 4, a broadcaster that has tested the boundaries of
acceptable television in Britain, was mired in controversy this
year when forced to apologize over a racist row in its
"Celebrity Big Brother" reality show.
The decision of the channel to go ahead with the
documentary sharply divided opinion in Britain.
The opposition Conservative Party said the broadcaster
should have heeded the royal pleas. The centrist Liberal
Democrats said there was legitimate public interest.
Patrick Jephson, Diana's former private secretary, said:
"This is a well-made program that invites us to look again at
the culpability -- or the lack of it -- of the photographers
who were first on the scene."
Diana died along with her companion Dodi al Fayed when the
car driven by their chauffeur Henri Paul crashed in a Paris
road tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi on motorbikes.
Paul, subsequently said by French investigators to have been
drunk and under the influence of anti-depressants, was also
Through reconstruction, archive footage, still images and
eyewitness accounts, the film, seen by Reuters in a preview
copy, pieces together Diana's last moments.
The documentary film-makers interviewed the photographers
and the doctor shown administering oxygen to the stricken
princess. Her face is blotted out in a grainy picture from the
The documentary concluded that photos of Diana fighting for
her life in the back of the car suddenly went from "priceless
to worthless" when she died later in hospital and no newspaper
would contemplate printing them.
And perhaps the most haunting picture of all is a grainy
black and white photo of Diana in the back of the car as she
was whisked away from the back entrance of the Ritz Hotel in a
last vain bid to shake off the pursuing paparazzi.