Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Diana Tapes...
Last year the Sunday Mirror published the article below. It now appears the tapes will be shown on TV in the US as a two-part special on 4th and 11th March.

Diana: Her fears of 'unhealthy' relationship with aide...

Princess Diana made a sensational secret video diary in which she complained that Charles had an "unhealthy relationship" with top aide Michael Fawcett. Diana, looking tearful and drawn, complains on camera: "He is too close to Fawcett - what can one do when your husband is in an unhealthy relationship" with a servant? She also tells how Charles and his close aide appeared "uncomfortable" and "uneasy" after being disturbed while together in one of the Prince's private rooms.

The existence of the videos, in which Diana sat alone with the camera, emerged recently. For nearly four years they remained in the loft of her former butler Paul Burrell, who never watched them. Police discovered the tapes after raiding Mr Burrell's home two years ago while gathering evidence for the botched trial in which Diana's "rock" was acquitted of all charges. A highly-placed source who is aware of the videos, said: "The contents of the videos are beginning to leak out and they are dynamite." And a friend of Paul Burrell's said: "For five years they were safe with Paul. He never viewed them. He is appalled their contents are now coming out."

On one tape, the late Princess is seen sitting in a chair in her Kensington Palace rooms wearing a pink cardigan. As the camera focuses in she says: "Well here I am again...alone." She then launches into a bitter tirade against Prince Charles and his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. Looking straight into the camera she says: "I feel completely isolated. Charles confides more in Fawcett than he does with me. The whole situation is completely impossible." The Princess is also scathing about other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Prince Philip. She said the Queen regards her as "not the right material to be Queen - dim". The Duke of Edinburgh, she says. was "just unbelievable" in the way he was always, "putting me down...I think he really has dementia".

The video diaries are separate from the so-called audio "rape tape" which Diana made of allegations by former valet George Smith that he had been raped by a member of Prince Charles' household. On one video tape Diana talks about Smith and says how sorry she feels for his predicament. She says that she understood that at first he was having consensual sex with a member of the royal household but that things got out of hand. Diana says that the royal household member went too far and raped him. "It must have been awful for him," she adds. In another segment Diana looks pale and drawn and breaks into tears as she talks of her feelings of loneliness and isolation.
"I feel trapped," she says on more than one occasion. "The Royal Family is trapped in the Dark Ages. Highgrove is so stifling I can't bear to be there." Movingly, she talks about her children, Princes William and Harry, and her fears for their future. She accuses Charles of trying to "take them over", but talks of her determination to decide how they are brought up. She says: "I want them to meet ordinary people. I want them in the real world." Of her own childhood, she adds: "I was brought up as an ordinary girl and that's the way I want my children to be. I don't want them brought up in this stifling atmosphere." She also speaks about the royal staff. She says: "Even they look down their noses at me. It's just awful. I am sure Fawcett's behind it. He has far too much influence."

The revelations of Diana's concern over Charles's association with Fawcett come after he was forced to resign as the Prince's top aide. Despite being criticised in a report by Charles's private secretary Sir Michael Peat, he was given a reported £500,000 pay-off, assistance to buy his £450,000 grace-and-favour home and a £100,000 freelance contract to work for the Prince. Most of the video tapes were said to have been destroyed after the Princess's death in 1997. According to Scotland Yard sources they were burned in the gardens at Highgrove on the Prince of Wales's instructions. Michael Fawcett is said to have organised their destruction as Prince Charles looked on. But some of the tapes were held by former royal butler Mr Burrell and seized by police in a raid on his home two years ago.

An agreement was struck with the Crown Prosecution Service that the tapes would not form part of the Old Bailey trial against Burrell because of their sensitive nature. A senior source said: "Throughout the tapes Diana looks stressed and under tremendous pressure. You can't help feeling sorry for her, she seems to be going through a nightmare. "But these tapes are absolute dynamite, they are hugely embarrassing to the Prince and very humiliating for the whole Royal Family."

Diana was taught how to operate a video camera by a BBC technician friend in the 1990s. Scotland Yard sources have confirmed the existence of the tapes. "Certain property, including tapes, will be subject to a civil action to determine their ownership," a spokesman said.
The Spencer family are understood to want ownership of the tapes. A Palace source said that in the wrong hands the damage the tapes could cause would be "irreparable".

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