Video interviews featuring the late Princess Diana to be broadcast in a Channel 4 programme this Sunday evening (August 6) were seized during a raid on Paul Burrell's former Farndon home.
Clips from the recordings, made between Diana and her voice coach Peter Settelen, will be aired in the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words shortly before the 20th anniversary of the princess’s death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
It has been reported some 20 recordings were among items seized by Scotland Yard when officers raided Mr Burrell’s then home in Farndon High Street back in January 2001. Diana’s former butler, who now lives at Peckforton but still runs a florist in Farndon, was later acquitted of stealing Diana’s possessions.
They were apparently considered so sensitive the prosecution decided they should not feature in evidence during the Old Bailey trial.
Following a legal dispute between Mr Settelen and the Spencer family, the tapes were returned to the voice coach after it was concluded that he held the copyright.
They have never been aired in Britain but have been broadcast by America’s NBC.
Opinions are split between those contending the videos, made at Diana’s private residence in Kensington Palace in 1992 and 1993, should be broadcast because of their historical significance and those closest to Diana who maintain they should not.
Mr Burrell, who married his long term partner Graham Cooper earlier this year, brought out his memoir A Royal Duty in 2003 which follows his career as a member of the royal family’s staff.
But Mr Burrell believes the tapes are ‘a step too far’.
He told ITV Yorkshire: “I think those tapes were made privately for the princess’s own use…I don’t think they should be broadcast. It’s almost like raiding her diary. That’s wrong. It can only upset Prince William and Prince Harry. I understand that there is a thirst for new information but I think it’s a step too far.”
He added: “We all need to draw a line underneath it, remember the good times. It’s not going back into the past and delving through laundry and seedy tapes and thoughts that were never meant to be made public.”
In the footage, Diana tells Mr Settelen about how she only had relations with Prince Charles ‘once every three weeks’ – although he was initially ‘all over me’ ‘like a bad rash’. She also claims the Queen described her own son as ‘hopeless’.
■ Diana: In Her Own Words will be broadcast at 8pm on Channel 4 this Sunday.