Mixed responses over Princess Diana documentary

Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana during a Korean War commemorative service in South Korea in 1992.
Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana during a Korean War commemorative service in South Korea in 1992.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Britain's Prince Charles blew hot and cold when he was courting Diana Spencer.

He could be "all over me like a rash" and "ring me up every day for a week", but he would also not "speak to me for three weeks", she revealed in a television documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, which was broadcast by Channel 4 on Sunday.

She said she and Prince Charles met only 13 times before they got married in 1981.

Before the broadcast, many people had protested that it was an invasion of Princess Diana's privacy and that the footage would also hurt her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

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The broadcaster said the recordings - taped by her voice coach Peter Settelen in the early 1990s - offered unique insights into her life as the 20th anniversary of her death approaches later this month.

Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on Aug 31 in 1997 at age 36.

But after the Sunday broadcast, British newspapers quoted viewers as saying that it had cast a spell on them from hearing a beloved, familiar voicing talking about the turbulent events in her life, including many heartaches.

Among the revelations, she said she was upset when Prince Charles, at a post-engagement television interview, could say only "whatever love means" - when he was asked if they were in love.

She revealed that his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles started within five years of their marriage.

When she confronted him over the straying, he replied: "Well, I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress."

On their sex life, she said "once every three weeks" before it fizzled out.

She asked the Queen for help, but was told to solve her own problems.

"So, I went to the top lady, sobbing, and I said 'What do I do? I'm coming to you. What do I do?'

"And she said, 'I don't know what you should do. Charles is hopeless.'"

They divorced in 1996.

Confirming what some people suspected, she spoke about a man (believed to be bodyguard Barry Mannakee) who brought sunshine to her life.

She said she was devastated when he was killed in a motorcycle accident three weeks after he was forced to leave the palace for a working stint elsewhere.

"When I was 24 or 25, I was deeply in love with someone. Eventually, he had to go... he was the greatest love I've ever had."

Princess Diana also noted that she had not received gestures of love and affection from her family.

"My parents, they never said they loved me.

"No, no, no idea. There was no hugs or anything like that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'Mixed responses over Princess Diana documentary'. Print Edition | Subscribe