(Date Posted:06/10/2006 04:36:09)
Diana's Explosive Secret Tapes. (Having read this, listen to Chapter 15 of Diana's book here on her site
regards her relationship with Major Hewitt being an " Open Secret " .. a book channeled iin 2005.)
There are seven tapes. Each is the length of a Hollywood blockbuster but no movie could have the impact of the
cassettes Princess Diana made before her death. For the voice of Diana on those tapes is proof there is no revenge
colder than that served from beyond the grave. On one of seven long tapes, she speaks of a "powerful circle of gays"
within the Household from which she was excluded. On another tape she talks of how "I entered into a relationship
with James (Hewitt). Charles knew about it and didn't care. He said it gave him the freedom to run his own life".The
tape also reveals Diana's deep sense of betrayal over Major Hewitt's subsequent behaviour. Diana speaks of "Will I
ever be lucky in love". Diana describes what the alleged victim of the rape by a fellow Royal footman told her about
the incident. Diana reveals her "growing concern" about Prince Charles relationship with Michael Fawcett -- and how
she believed it contributed to the end of her marriage.
Michael Fawcett has now left Charles' service, but remains close to the prince. Diana reveals what Charles told her
about the Duke of Edinburgh's relationship with the actress Pat Kirkwood. Diana deals with relationships other
members of the Royal Family have had outside marriage -- accusing them of "calling the pot black when they have
plenty in their kettle to answer for".
Those words are the recollection of the former BBC cameraman who Diana used to secretly make the tapes. While it
is not clear what Diana intended to do with the tapes, any plans were ended with her death a few months later. The
tapes have no connection with the ones which former actor Peter Settelen claimed he also made secretly with Diana
to help her "become a more confident public speaker". The Settelen tapes are believed to have been made prior to
Diana's 1995 Panorama interview. By then, whatever benefits she had obtained from Settelen's coaching had been
shown in her Panorama interview and in scores of public speeches two years previous to making her secret video
"By the time she asked me to film her, Diana was a confident speaker -- well up to professional broadcast standards,"
said the cameraman who now lives in the United States. Last week in a determination to "put the record straight over
claims about this other set of recordings", the cameraman revealed he had kept a diary of that momentous month in
March 1997, when he secretly filmed Diana. Through an intermediary with impeccable credentials, the cameraman
provided two extracts from his diary. He insisted it should be made clear he was not paid for this. He was doing it to
"set right the historical record".The first diary entry is for March 7, 1997:
"Arrived at KP (Kensington Palace) 7.45pm as prearranged. Taxi waved through by duty policeman. Diana waiting in
drawing room as previous. Chatted while I set up. Diana sat in armchair, hands on lap. Asked me to frame only head
and shoulders. Diana would signal with her hand when she wanted a break." The first tape contained Diana's version
of the break-up of her marriage. The role Camilla Parker-Bowles played in it. Charles' relationship with Michael
Fawcett. The cameraman's diary goes on:
"Diana said she knew on her honeymoon that she was the odd one out in a triangle -- Charles, Camilla and Michael
Fawcett. He called Charles every day on honeymoon. Charles took the calls in a separate room. When Diana asked,
she was told it was all to do with work. Diana says she had little or no idea what was involved in Charles' working life.
Diana says she soon became aware that in his personal feelings towards her there was no real husbandly emotions."
Diana spoke in ten-minute takes. In between she sipped mineral water. On that first tape the cameraman recorded
how Diana listened in to secret calls Charles made to Camilla. How Michael Fawcett acted as a go-between for
Charles to keep secret assignations with Camilla. The diary of that first day's filming ends with Diana's claims
that:"She caught Charles and Camilla de flagrante after listening in to his phone calls. Diana described how she
came to listen to their phone calls. In one, Charles was sitting on the toilet seat when she caught him."
The second excerpt of the diary is for March 9, 1997: "Arrived 8.30pm. Stayed 2hrs. Session mostly about her shock
at discovering the extent of Charles' dependence on Michael Fawcett and others she did not approve of around him.
Diana said there is a group of powerful homosexuals around Charles who have huge influence. Some are in the QM's
(Queen Mother's) office. Others are over at BP (Buckingham Palace)'. "On the tape, Diana is said to have given a
vivid account of the group "flouncing and tip-toeing" around Charles and how he "enjoys their open adulation".There
are some suggestions she planned to use them as a bargaining tool. Others suggest she planned for them to be
stored to secure her place in history.
Were they included in that catch-all letter Diana's former butler, Paul Burrel, wrote to Prince William? Did the butler
convey the contents of the tapes to the Queen when they met in the privacy of her Buckingham office for an
unprecedented three hours? Was it a fear that the revelations on the tapes would surface during Burrel's trial at the
Old Bailey for stealing Diana's personal belongings, which forced the Queen to publicly intervene in the butler's trial?
Burrel was subsequently acquitted and the prosecution case collapsed.
The tapes' revelations, delivered in the same little-girl voice which was Diana's carefully cultivated stock-in-trade to
convey something sensational, go to the heart of what she saw as wrong in the House of Windsor.
The story of those tapes is complex and revealing -- and casts new light on Diana's mindset in the months before she
died in 1997. The very existence of the tapes had been a closely-guarded secret until the collapse of the Paul Burrel
trial. Then rumours began to emerge that the Queen's intervention was because she had become aware of the
tapes. There were unconfirmed reports they had been removed from the attic of Burrel's home by the Scotland Yard
team who had also taken from the house a large number of gifts Diana had given him.
What happened to the tapes when they were later studied by Scotland Yard is not known. The story of the seven
tapes -- with a total running time of 12 hours -- is one of the most intriguing in the history of Diana's relationship with
the Royal Family. The tapes have been variously described as her "last will and testament" and the "lonely voice of a
wronged woman". More certain is that the story behind how the tapes came to be made is as intriguing as any plot for
THE BEGINNING: It began on a cold January day in 1997. For months Diana had been telling friends of her
dissatisfaction with her now notorious Panorama "three in a bed" interview, in which she had revealed her own
adultery with Major James Hewitt. In part, her view on the film was coloured by reports that Martin Bashir, who
interviewed her, was saying he would like to sleep with Diana. (Bashir has subsequently denied this.)
POST PANORAMA: Within the implacably hostile Royal Family, Diana had managed to maintain one friendship. That
was with Prince Edward ( Duke of Wessex ) the youngest of the Queen's four children. He was developing his own
film company, planning to make documentaries about the Royal Family. There was talk that Diana herself might
become involved. Edward, so insiders said at the time, had fuelled Diana's anger over the Panorama film and Bashir.
In January, 1997, Diana asked Edward if he knew of a good TV cameraman. He had to be trust worthy. Perhaps used
to his sister-in-law's by now well-developed paranoia -- on the Panorama film she had spoken about being a victim of
the security services spying on her -- Edward seems not to have asked why she wanted a cameraman. At the time
Edward was associated with BBC broadcaster, Desmond Wilcox, the late husband of Esther Rantzen, a British TV
presenter. Wilcox was running a documentary company, Man Alive Productions in Hammersmith, London. Colleagues
from those days say Wilcox was keen to foster links with the Royals. Wilcox had worked at the BBC before leaving to
continue a successful career as an independent film maker. "When Edward consulted Desmond for a suitable
cameraman, he did what Dessie always did, produced his contact book and came up with a name", recalled a senior
executive who had worked with Wilcox. The cameraman Wilcox had suggested was described to Edward as "old BBC.
A veteran of many documentaries, the man had left the BBC to set up on his own network.
Michael Latham, a former senior BBC producer, who had worked with the cameraman, describes him as "not a public
man. He never talked about where he had been or what he was doing. If he knew something he did not let on that he
did".At some point in February, 1997, the cameraman was invited to Kensington Palace to meet Diana.
THE MEETINGS: At their first meeting, Diana close questioned the cameraman. At this stage, she did not tell him what
she planned. That he did not ask undoubtedly impressed her. Other meetings followed. They all took place in the
elegant drawing room where the Panorama programme had been filmed. Finally, in early March 1997, Diana told the
cameraman what she wanted.
DIANA'S BRIEF: Diana wanted him to film a set of videos in which she would speak directly to the camera. There
would be no "cutaways", or what are know in TV as "bridging shots". It would be just her talking into the camera.
Diana did not know, then, how many videos she would make but after each one was completed it would be handed to
her. There would be no other copy made. The schedule for filming would depend on her other engagements. A fee
of £5,000 was accepted for the assignment. It would be paid in cash. Clearly, Diana wanted to avoid any trace of any
contact between her and the cameraman. Diana asked for his cell 'phone number. The cameraman made a
suggestion. Given what she had said about surveillance on the Panorama programme, it would be risky for her to call
him on one of her own 'phones. He suggested that he would purchase two cell phones; one for her, one for him. They
would be used exclusively for their communications.
THE VIDEO FILMING: The first video filming took place in early March, in the late evening. All subsequent six
sessions followed the same pattern. As instructed by Diana, the cameraman arrived by taxi at Kensington Palace. He
was shown up into the drawing room where their previous discussions had taken place. The cameraman unpacked
his holdall. It contained a standard VHS camera and tripod. There were also several blank tapes. Paid in full, the
cameraman never saw Diana again.
It was only after her death in Paris, in August 1997, killed in a road crash with Dodi Fayed, that the cameraman spoke
to one person about his ultra-secret assignment -- and the momentous revelations on the tapes. That person was
Desmond Wilcox. He was sworn to tell no one -- an undertaking Wilcox kept even from his own wife. Those who have
worked with Wilcox at the BBC confirm that, for all his gregariousness, he was a good keeper of secrets but before he
died, Wilcox did tell one other person about what the cameraman had revealed. That person is still alive -- as is the
cameraman. The reason the cameraman originally told Wilcox -- and may also be the same reason the broadcaster
shared the secret with a second person -- is that both Wilcox and the cameraman had been questioned in the
aftermath of Diana's death by MI5 security officers about the existence of the tapes. Neither had been able to throw
any light as to their whereabouts.
Then, confirmation of their existence surfaced in another way. In her short-lived summer romance with Dodi Fayed in
1997, she told her lover -- the son of Harrod's owner Mohamed al Fayed -- about the tapes. Those references later
formed part of the 1051 pages of transcripts relating to Diana that the National Security Agency, America's spy in the
sky agency, subsequently confirmed they hold. The US Justice Department maintain that the transcripts contain
matters of "national security". Mohamed al Fayed continues to fight a US court battle to obtain the transcripts. The
tapes cover the last weeks of Diana's life -- a time when she repeatedly said she was being watched by the CIA, MI5
and MI6. Shortly after her death, the cameraman who had filmed the seven videos left Britain. He first went to New
York. Then to Vancouver, Canada.
Today he lives on the West Coast of America. Last week, under a guarantee of confidentiality, the cameraman's one
remaining link with Britain spoke about the contents of the videos."They are Diana's video diaries of her marriage. In
a sense they are an oral history of the Royal Family. Diana deals with each member in detail", he said. The videos
reserve her most stringent criticism for Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. "Diana describes how she caught Charles
and Camilla de flagrente. Diana reveals how she listened in on their suggestive 'phone talk. Diana says that Camilla
was the raunchier of the two. Diana gives examples", said the source.
He said that on one tape, Diana talks of the "physical treachery" of her husband. Of how he would make late night
calls to Camilla of "a suggestive nature"."Diana paints a portrait of how she pleaded with him for the sake of the
children to give up Camilla. Diana says that she turned to Anne (Princess Royal) and Andrew (Duke of York) for help.
Both, she says, refused to lift a finger", said the source.
According to what the cameraman told the source in a telephone call on Thursday evening to the West Coast, Diana
was "highly upset" about Charles' relationship with Michael Fawcett."Diana has described how she came across them
whispering to each other in the Palace corridors. Diana said there was something of the night about Michael Fawcett.
Diana reveals on one tape that she didn't like the way he seemed to dominate Charles, not just in a physical way, but
mentally also." The cameraman who filmed these revelations admits that he cannot "quote chapter and verse in fine
detail", but he is adamant that on the videos Diana claims: A member of Charles' staff told her about physical
misconduct within the Royal Household staff -- and that Charles "tolerated it".
Diana describes a Royal staff party that was like "something out of Caligula". Diana describes how Charles and other
members of the Royal Family -- the Queen excepted -- used to store expensive gifts in bin-liners. "On one video
Diana describes how there was a right old panic when a member of the Saudi Royal Family came visiting and his
wedding gift had been binned. Staff spent hours going through the bags looking for a set of gold goblets", the
cameraman said last week to the source.
Towards the end, the videos seem to have captured the mood swings of Diana -- and her restless search for a man
to share her life. According to the cameraman's recall, there was also "a terrible anger" at the way she was being
treated by the Royal Family -- especially Prince Philip. "Diana talks about how his welcome into the Family had turned
to cold hostility once the marriage had broken up. On one video she quotes from letters he had sent her. On another
letter she attacks her brother for refusing to give her a home on his estate." Undoubtedly, the most revealing part of
her video diaries is how Diana saw her future.
"Diana makes it clear that she would do everything possible to make sure Charles never became King. Diana wanted
William to succeed to the Throne when the Queen died. Diana clearly saw her role as the power behind William.
Diana had this somewhat romantic idea of being a king-maker -- the mother behind the monarch", said the source.
He explained that the cameraman had told him last week that his abiding memory from the videos was of a very
determined princess that nothing would stand in her way. Ironically, short of money at the time she had made the
videos, they are today worth untold millions.
What has happened to them is still a mystery? With Diana dead, the copyright in the videos could be claimed by
William and Harry but almost certainly they would not wish to view such an unflattering portrait of their father and his
mistress by their mother. The Spencer family would no doubt like to retrieve the tapes -- but probably not to put on
display in the Althorp museum along with other Diana bric-a-brac. Her criticism of Earl Spencer, her brother, would
stop that. There is an intriguing possibility that the tapes have discreetly been handed over to the Queen. If so, they
would almost certainly have been destroyed!
Date Posted:07/10/2006 01:58:55)
The Professional Press Player.
"In all the tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales since her death in Paris four weeks ago, (This precis obviously written
in September 1997 ) there is one aspect of her life that has been largely overlooked. Despite Earl Spencer's
references in his moving funeral address at Westminster Abbey to the media's 'sneering' attempts to bring his sister
down, the Princess was, until the end, an astute student of her own press.
Specifically, the Princess, like 'the people' who worshipped her, was addicted to the tabloid newspapers. One of her
friends told me that each morning over breakfast at Kensington Palace she would read the Sun,the Daily Mirror,the
Daily Mail and the Daily Express,although not necessarily in that order. Only when she had digested this light first
course would she tackle the weightier and often far less appraising reviews of her activities in the broad-sheets.
Once, at a party, a male guest to whom she was talking noticed her staring at something over his shoulder. It turned
out to be a pile of newspapers. 'Would you like me to get them for you,' he asked. After a perusal of the newspapers
the Princess commented, 'Not a bad day for me. The Princess's interest in 'the gutter press' was not confined simply
to the papers themselves. The Princess was also on first name terms with many of the tabloid editors, and at one time
or another had invited all of them to Kensington Palace, including, two months before her death, those of the Sunand
the Daily Mirror. What she confided at these private tete-a-tetes and what she hoped to get in return is still a highly
sensitive issue. As one tabloid editor told me, 'I would be happy to go on the record about my relationship with the
Princess at some point in the future, but now is not the time or place. It is bound to be misinterpreted,' It is not difficult
to see why.
Following Earl Spencer's decision to dis-invite the tabloid editors to the Princess's funeral, and his impassioned
attack on what he described as their 'baffling' attempts to negate all his sister's achievements, the people's emotions
are still too raw, their fuses too short. In one respect at least it appears that neither the Earl nor the people knew the
Princess all that well. For while there is little doubt she would have agreed with the majority of her brothers remarks--
particularly his line about her being 'the most hunted person of the modem age'-- the Princess was never 'baffled' by
the tabloids. On the contrary, all the evidence suggests that she understood the tabloids only too well, and following
her separation and her subsequent divorce from Prince Charles she had worked diligently to bring them 'on side'.
Richard Kay, the Daily Mail reporter she called on the night she died, had long been a favoured confidant, of course.
What isn't so well-known is rumours the Princess was also in regular and close contact with the editors of the red -
top titles. As in Kay's case, the idea was to keep these assignations Secret! The difference is that, unlike the dealings
with Kay -- who was famously photographed meeting her in a car in a Bayswater back alley-- that is the way they
have remained until now.
Who initiated the contacts, where did the meetings take place and what did the Princess hope to get out of them?
Those who, like Earl Spencer, despise the tabloids for intruding on the privacy of public figures may be surprised at
the answer. For it appears that the Princess -- the most hunted woman of her age -- was as much the wooer as the
wooed. According to sources close to Buckingham Palace, it was she who made the first approach when, at the
beginning of 1996, she surreptitiously invited the editors of the four main tabloids -- the Daily Mirror,the Sun,the Daily
Mail and the Daily Express-- for lunch at Kensington Palace.
In most cases just the Princess and her then press secretary, Jane Atkinson, were present. According to one tabloid
editor at least, Prince William was also in attendance. 'She was incredibly open and honest,' admitted the tabloid
editor in question. 'I admit I was surprised and asked her, "Is there a specific reason you're meeting me?" She replied,
"No. no. I just wanted to talk to you about a few things, get to know you and I think it would be quite useful for William
to meet an editor."'
Although it seems incredible now, at the time it is not difficult to see why the Princess would have opted for such a
course. Prince William had already been snappcd on the playing-fields of Eton and she knew that as he grew older
the paparazzi and the tabloids' own staff photographers would grow more persistent, having had already observed
how the royal family's regal approach to media relations were bad and singularly failed to protect them and was
determined to forge a new working strategy both for herself and her son.
As the Princess told Tina Brown, the editor of the New Yorker,over lunch in Manhattan earlier this summer: 'I try to din
into him all the time about the media, the dangers, and how he must understand and handle them. I think it's too late
for the rest of the family, but William -- I think he has it.' The Princess also confided in Ms Brown that it was her hope
that William would grow up to be as smart about handling the media 'as John Kennedy Junior', and if he had been
listening attentively during his mother's luncheon with the tabloid editor he would have learned the first lesson well:
bring them into your confidence.
'The Princess was very entertaining company,' said the anonymous editor. 'Her conversation was laced with
confessions and revelations. It was pretty riveting stuff, but it was all on the understanding that you wouldn't pass
them on. After that we would be briefed regularly about what she was thinking and what she was doing. It was a little
bit like the lobby system. We would go to her office with a story, they would tell her and she would give us a response
-- off the record, of course -- It was a strange relationship -- We were never her friends, but we weren't the enemy
either.' This isn't to say, of course, that the Princess enjoyed the results of her work. Unlike the people, she read the
tabloids out of necessity, not love.
The Princess was wise enough to realise that they were the bane of her life, when it came to the publication of
paparazzi photographs, they tended to be far more supportive of her public causes than the broad sheets. As
another tabloid editor, again speaking on the basis of anonymity, put it, the Princess recognised her relationship with
the tabloids was a two-way street and exploited it to the best possible advantage: 'The quid pro quo was that in return
for access to her private office you would be broadly sympathetic to her charity work, and by and large we were.
What Earl Spencer doesn't seem to appreciate is that the ones who caused her the greatest distress were the
editorialisers and sneerers an the broad sheets. We treated her trips to Angola as great tabloid events. It was the
think pieces afterwards that really got to her.'
Isn't this recidivist account of the Princess's tabloid relations a little bit suspect? After all, it was the tabloids which
published the grainy paparazzi shot of her and Dodi Fayed kissing on his father's boat, the Jonikal, earlier this
summer. Surely it was the tabloids' own staff photographers and reporters who continued to make the Princess's and
Dodi's holiday in the South of France such hell, pestering them to the point where the Princess had to plead with the
tabloids to leave her alone.
Once again the Princess's public indignation may be less straightforward than it first appeared. The first rights to 'the
kiss' were bought by the Sunday Mirror, but a number of tabloid editors point out that the second rights were
acquired by the Daily Mail and that in the following days the Daily Mail also bought up and published other paparazzi
pictures of the holiday too. Given her close relationship with Richard Kay, they say it is inconceivable that this would
have occurred without a nod and a wink from the Princess.
Moreover, one editor insists that when he approached her private office at Kensington Palace, he was told that she
was 'very relaxed' about the pictures.' That was a euphemism meaning she was more than happy that they came out,'
he argued. 'That's when we started to see her posing in her swimming costume. Every day there was effectively
another unofficial photograph on the Jonikal. Given the resources of the Fayed family, if she hadn't wanted to be
seen we wouldn't have seen her! At one point we even offered to withdraw our photographer, but were told this was
unnecessary. There was a clear, unstated co-operation there.' This, it must be said, is not the view of those on the
other side of the tabloid fence. As one source close to Buckingham Palace put it, 'The tabloid editor's account is
extraordinarily self-serving but then the Princess had long since dispensed with the services of a press secretary and
was not above admonishing editors if she was displeased.'
For instance, when Stuart Higgins invited her to lunch at the Sun, the Princess let him know she knew where his true
loyalties lay, teasing him by saying, 'I hear you are a friend of Camilla's.' Another editor recalls how he had called
Kensington Palace to tell them he was preparing a story on a speech the Princess had given during a private visit to
an eating disorder clinic when she suddenly came on the telephone in person. 'The Princess knew we had the story
anyway and wanted to be sure that what came out in the paper was going to be helpful to other bulimia sufferers, so
she briefed me for 40 minutes. The Princess told me exactly what she had been saying, what she had hoped to
achieve and what her own suffering had been in incredible detail. The understanding was that I would not quote her
directly but do it as reported speech.'
To the editor's surprise, when he arrived at his office the next morning, the Princess had issued a statement via the
Press Amociation deploring the report. 'I rang her immediately and congratulated her an a brilliant operation. It
amused me that the way it had been communicated to the rest of the media was that she knew nothing about the
story until it appeared in the paper, when she was the one who had told me.'
'This was not an isolated example of the Princess's use of subterfuge. In 1995 she was photographed by a News of
the World photographer coming out of a London hospital where she had been paying a secret late night visit to her
then boyfriend, the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. The Princess was furious and, according to sources close to the
palace, quickly struck a deal to stop the real story from coming out. In return for not exposing her romance, the
Princess would give the News of the World a 'world exclusive' about how she was secretly visiting patients at the
hospital late at night, so that they would not he inconvenienced by the press. The story duly appeared in the News of
the World the following Sunday and was picked up by the rest of the media the next day.
Another example was the time Will Carling arrived at the front gates of Kensington Palace with rugby shirts for the
young princes, only to find the tabloids lying in wait for him. At the time this was a huge embarrassment for Carling,
who had every reason to believe that his visit had been confidential. His wife, Julia, a public relations consultant, was
also furious and not long after began divorce proceedings. What neither of them may have realised at the time is that
the Princess had actually tipped off the tabloid photographers herself. The Princess had already grown bored of
Carling's attentions and while he was left to flail in front of the flashguns, she used the opportunity to slip out of the
back entrance of the palace unnoticed.
Following the canonization of her memory since her death in Paris, it now seems shocking to recall the Princess as
she really was. While she was alive her adeptness at manipulating the media was widely recognised, as was the fact
that during the latter years of her 'loveless' marriage to Prince Charles the tabloids had been one of her greatest
Who can forget the poignancy for instance, of that lone shot of her in front of the Taj Mahal and the endless
comment it sparked about the Princess's isolation and her 'unrequited love'? The Princess herself set up the famous
photograph.The truth is that the Princess had been colluding in her own coverage at least since March 1991. Her
then friends say that at that time, when her father died, she did not want Prince Charles to travel to the Earl's funeral
with her. His office was forced to reinstate a meeting in London at the last moment, so that his behaviour would not
look like lack of sympathy for her bereavement. The friends believe, however, that such a lack of sympathy on the
Prince's part was just what she wanted to convey. Defenders of her behaviour at this time say that it was proof of how
desperate she had become; of what Charles had driven her to but the fact remains that she had now become
involved with the tabloids.
As in all her subsequent dealings with the tabloids, the aim was to paint herself in a more favourable light, and if that
meant painting others in a less favourable one, then so be it. As one tabloid editor put it: 'Her relationship with us
wasn't so much love-hate as, I'm going to make it as positive as I can -- And if the s ... hits the fan I'm going to limit the
damage. The Princess was a great politician, a great spin doctor.
'If the Princess were still alive, she probably wouldn't quibble with that analysis. After all at her lunch with Tina Brown
she explained how she had tried to persuade the royal family to hire a media professional to advise them and had
even mentioned the name of Peter Mandelson, but it had all been to no avail, 'They kept saying I was manipulative,'
she told Brown. ' What's the alternative! To just sit there and have them make your image for you?' One thing the
Princess can never be accused of is having let others mould her image for her.
While it may be a bit rich for Stuart Higgins to claim, as he did in an editorial following her death that she 'liked the
Sun',it is equally misleading for her brother to pretend that the tabloids were intent on bringing her down. As Ross
Benson, the Daily Express columnist and one of the few people willing to speak openly about his meetings with the
Princess, puts it, 'The Princess didn't distinguish between the tabloids and the broadsheets so much as between
those journalists who were sympathetic to her and those who were not. Of course she resented the intrusions by the
paparazzi, but she got on with the tabloid staff photographers very well.' In fact, listening to Benson's account of his
dealings with the Princess -- who initiated various contacts with him, including lunch -- her admiration for Mandelson
makes more and more sense. 'Diana was a media brat,' concluded Benson. 'If she was pleased with something you
had written she would let you know but you learned a lot quicker if she was unhappy.' In other words, her behaviour
was no different from that of a very grand spin doctor and therefore her intimate relationship with the tabloids should
not be considered surprising.