Diana is one of the most beloved figures in British history, affectionately dubbed ‘The People’s Princess’ – but her relationship with the press was complicated to say the least. Was she the unfortunate victim of the paparazzi or did some part of her seek out the limelight?
Royal View host Tim Vincent (Blue Peter / Access Hollywood) is joined this week by Kelvin MacKenzie, former English newspaper journalist and editor of The Sun, Lady Colin Campbell, New York Times best selling royal author, Andrew Morton, Princess Diana’s biographer and Royal Historian Tessa Dunlop.
In Episode 2, Blood on Their Hands, the expert panel explores the volatile relationship between the press and the Royal Family, the grim apex of which was the night that ended in the tragic death of Princess Diana as she fled the paparazzi in Paris.
Lady Colin Campbell says “I’ve been in the public eye for longer than Diana was and I can tell you something: if you ring up the press you damn well known they’re going to get a photographer along to pap you. Come on, you can’t be both victim and perpetrator!”
While the panel debate this idea of Diana as victim or perpetrator of her own press coverage, there is little consensus among them and the discussion turns to questions regarding the driver of Diana’s car and the fact she herself was not wearing a seatbelt.
Andrew Morton notes that the press were not entirely responsible, saying that “Diana lived with the paparazzi day and night. If she had had a Scotland Yard bodyguard with her she’d still be alive today; he would have made her buckle up.”
However, Tessa Dunlop counters this by highlighting the fact that ‘there’s also a human being at the end of the lens – and quite a vulnerable one.’
While there is no debate among the guests that the events in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in 1997 constituted a national tragedy, Kelvin Mackenzie points out that the paparazzi don’t just pursue Royalty, and that this still goes on today.
“She was a global star,” says Kelvin. “It would be happening to Beyonce now: being chased across Los Angeles or New York, in her case everything she did was news on a global basis.”
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