Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shame on Channel 4 for Raking over the Tragic History of Diana and Charles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shame on Channel 4 for Raking over the Tragic History of Diana and Charles

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Leith

LORD knows, I like a bit of saucy gossip as much as the next man. But confronted with the opportunity to hear from the late Diana, Princess of Wales's own mouth how her husband was a dud in the sack, how his seduction technique was all (and I quote) "urrgh", and how his old mum thought he was "hopeless", I balk.

I balk hard, in fact. Here is tittle-tattle about a man now in his late sixties who many years ago went through an unimaginably horrible divorce about which everybody felt entitled to express an opinion, then lost the mother of his children and was blamed for it on the front pages of newspapers, and who has since happily remarried and made a life and family for himself. Never bloody mind that he will one day be king. It's really not that important a job.

Yet this stuff is now to be solemnly presented in a Channel 4 documentary, for no other reason than that it's 20 years since Diana's death and we do love a round number, as a contribution to the historical record. Well it ain't. So he was sexually gauche in his early thirties? Most of us were. Many of us still are. And none of us had as bizarre an upbringing as did the Prince of Wales.

Come on, people. Surely we're better than this. The remarkable thing is not that Prince Charles is eccentric, entitled, emotionally stilted and often tone-deaf in his public pronouncements; it's that he's not much, much more so. And which of us would easily survive a near-four-decade-on postmortem, offered with in-the-moment malice, on the shortcomings of our younger selves? Diana's testimony on these tapes is cast in amber. She can't moderate them. She can't do what so many divorced couples do which is to conciliate, move on, find kindness and shared ground in the love of the children. She can't speak in defence of her own privacy. …

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