By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The late Princess Diana speaks candidly about her life and troubled marriage in a new documentary debuting Tuesday on Panhandle PBS.
Diana — Her Story, which premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday, features the late Princess of Wales in frank conversations captured on video at Kensington Palace in 1992. The documentary also features new in-depth interviews with those closest to Diana, including long-term trusted confidant James Colthurst, ballet teacher Anne Allan, private secretary Patrick Jephson and personal protection officer Ken Wharfe.
The multi-layered and nuanced portrait of Diana that comes forth is of a naïve teenage girl who ultimately transformed herself into someone the crown would fear as more popular than the monarchy itself. What emerges is the story of a shy young girl who was swept onto the world stage in 1980 and who died tragically in 1997 as one of the most famous women in the world, an independent, modern “people’s princess.”
A special featuring much of the same material caused some controversy when it debuted earlier this year on Channel 4 in England, but it won huge ratings. The hour-long special that will air on PBS was cited as one of the best bets amid a slew of documentary specials out now in time for the 20th anniversary of Diana's death.
"But the kinds of details like the ones in the PBS and Channel 4 docs actually illuminate her in a new way. And they show how an ordinary person — well, a flesh-and-blood person, maybe not ordinary — could turn herself into, and be turned into, an icon," wrote Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz.
In 1992, Diana, whose marriage was in trouble, was becoming increasingly isolated from the royal family. Believing that her popular appeal was her greatest strength, she hired speech coach Peter Settelen to help improve her public speaking and reinvent her public persona in the midst of personal strife. In a series of disarmingly frank videos shot by Settelen at Kensington Palace, a private Diana comes into view as she ultimately reveals her version of the events. Playful, charming and unguarded, she tells stories from her life in intimate detail, sharing how she went from shy teenage girl to unhappy newlywed to a young woman searching for her own voice and place in the world.
Diana — Her Story will encore at midnight Thursday and will be available to watch following its broadcast premiere on our website.