Helping Diana find her voice---Peter Settelen
" Here below is a precis detailing an example of conversations I shared with Peter, someone who I let in to know
Diana, the person, the woman behind the persona. I spoke candidly with him about a number of issues, many of them
deeply personal finding we shared a tremendous rapport, so my feeling comfortable enough within his company to do
so, a luxury so rarely enjoyed by me and most specifically of course with men ! My closest friends in whom I normally
confided being women and older than me usually, consequently with a depth of experience, so by example Lady
Bowker who herself died in 2000 but whose advice and wise counsel I readily sought regularly.
I have deliberately seen this message is coupled with a specific video - link as Peter as well as being a much welcomed
ear for me proved marvellous in transforming me to being the speaker of such speeches as the one featured here. He
also of course being directly responsible for my speaking out publicly about the illness I personally knew all about;
bulemia in such a personal way. " Ladies and gentlemen; I have it on very good authority that the quest for
for perfection etc etc !"
Up until I sought his help as a professional voice coach, I'd spoken in monotone tones so almost guaranteed to put my
audience to sleep, consequently he and I spent hours together working diligently on technique in order to ensure the
audiences I spoke to alternatively stayed very much awake and indeed listened to what I had to say about issues which
people needed waking up to !
It has been a deliberate exercise on my part, so albeit through Andrew of course, that Peter has recently been
contacted by telephone and email so made personally aware I am still speaking now and thank you to those of you
who have also contacted him in this regard, I am extremely appreciative of your having done so. At the moment
admittedly with no response from him for reasons best known to himself but I would imagine it not being because he
does not believe in it's being a possible reality; as during our conversations, so not the one detailed here, he certainly
came to realise my personal beliefs about what happens to us when we die ! I made no secret of the fact that I knew I
wouldn't be back, meaning reincarnated,. I wouldn't want to be actually and that I certainly believed in the after - life
having had its existence proved to me by a Medium who I consulted to contact Daddy with successful results as well as
of course having astrologers and mediums amongst my personal friends! If anyone from the after - life would speak, it
would be me; Diana!
Peter has a reputation to maintain, his own public persona, so therefore like my boys must exercise caution regarding
contacting Andrew to speak to me and I appreciate this naturally as frustrating as it personally is for me to realise
being the reality ! "
A brief conversation with Peter Settelen:
In September 1992, 11 years after her fairy tale wedding to Prince Charles, the normally private Princess Diana sat
down in her Kensington Palace living room with a man she barely knew and recorded this casual, wide-ranging and
surprisingly frank discussion of her life.
Princess Diana: “My parents, they never said they loved me.”
Peter Settelen: “So you never knew that anyway?”
Princess Diana: “No. No. No idea. There was no--there was always a kiss there. No hugs or anything like that.
The video camera belonged to Peter Settelen, a former actor who had developed a thriving business as a voice coach.
They met through a mutual friend. Settelen says in their first meeting, Diana came across as a frightened woman, shell-
shocked by a bad marriage and worse publicity. He told her improving her public speaking skills could be a therapy of
sorts and a way for a soon-to-be-divorced woman to show her husband and the world that she wasn't frightened, but
strong and independent. Settelen told her he could help her find that strength.
Settelen: “After the first session, I said, 'Look, I want to bring a camera. I want you to see you, and we will do your
story, you will tell me your story, and then you can watch. Because in a way it does show you who you are. If
somebody can draw you out and take you to the best of you, and you then see it, it reaffirms, 'Yes, that is me, it's okay
to be me.'”
By their second meeting, Diana seemed so comfortable with Settelen and his video camera that she quickly and
unexpectedly began to share intimate details of her personal life.
She recalled the moment in 1980 when her courtship with Charles began. It was at the estate of a mutual friend,
shortly after the funeral of Charles' great uncle and close friend Lord Mountbatten.
Princess Diana: “And I said, ‘You must be so lonely.’ And I said, "It's pathetic watching you walking up the aisle at ST.
Paul's with Lord Mountbatten's coffin in front.’ I said, you know, ‘It's ghastly. You need someone beside you.’ Ugh!
Wrong word. Whereupon he leapt upon me, and started kissing me and everything. And I thought waaaaah. You
know. This isn't what people do. And he was all over me for the rest of the evening--followed me around, everything, a
puppy. And um, yeah, I was flattered but I was very puzzled.
Diana was just 19, and despite that fumbling first encounter, she fell hard for the Prince -- even though, as she told
Settelen, Charles still had a lot to learn in the boyfriend department.
Princess Diana: “He wasn't consistent with his courting abilities. He'd ring me up every day for a week, and then he
wouldn't speak to me for three weeks. Very odd. And I, I accepted that. I thought fine. Well, he knows where I am if he
wants me. And then the thrill when he used to ring up was so immense and intense. Drove the other three girls in my
flat crazy. But-- no, it was all-- it was odd.”
Diana told Settelen that despite their celebrated public image, romantic sparks had never caught fire between the
Settelen: “There was virtually no sexual relations between you and
Princess Diana: “Well, there was. There was, there was. But it was odd. Very odd. But there was -- it was there, and
then it fizzled out about seven years ago -- six years ago? Well, seven; Harry was eight-“
Settelen: “How do you know it was odd?”
Princess Diana: “Instinct told me. It was just so odd. I just -- I don't know. There was never a requirement for it in his
case. Sort of a once every three weeks look about it and I kept thinking...and then it followed a pattern. He used to see
his lady once every three weeks before we got married."
Diana spoke openly about the physical and emotional effects of her unhappy marriage, her frustrating relationship
with the Royal Family and Charles' ongoing relationship with his former girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Princess Diana: “I remember saying to my husband, you know, ‘Why, why is this lady around?’ And he said, ‘Well, I
refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress."
Settelen acknowledges that Diana never meant their conversations to become public -- and in fact, they almost didn't.
Missing for years, confiscated by police, and subject to a lawsuit by Diana's family, the tapes only recently returned to
Settelen's possession. Since then, he's been intensely criticized for his decision to release them.
Ann Curry: “But if your aim was not to make these tapes public, then why are you now releasing this tape with this
interview and profiting from it?”
Settelen: “I don't want to denigrate Diana. I'm trying to give the public an opportunity finally, okay you see her for
yourself, because these people are spoiling, not just the work that I did with her but using it again to kind of diminish
her, and I don't think that's right.”
By the time she sat down to record these tapes, Diana was determined to make a happier, stronger life for herself and
her conversations with Peter Settelen would mark the beginning of that transformation and a step toward the destiny
she'd long imagined for herself.
Princess Diana: “I knew that something profound was coming my way and I was just um treading water, waiting for it.
I didn't know what it was. I didn't know where it was. I didn't know if it was coming next year or next month. But I
knew I was different from my friends in where I was going.
***Settelen Interview Addendum
Let's Forget Diana !
(c) Andrew Russell-Davis
I think it is time for people to read and realise how life altered dramatically for Diana
once the Royal Divorce was finalised on August 28th 1996 ! Immediately upon it the
Royal Title of "Her Royal Highness" was stripped from her.
Diana herself was clearly no longer regarded as a royal by the family and her name
systematically removed from all official royal documents. It has been said that
Buckingham Palace staff were instructed that the name Diana was "Never again to be
spoken in the presence of The Queen".
Already in July 1996, the "London Gazette" upon the Monarch's instructions had
published letters patent deleting Diana's name from prayers for the Royal Family in
churches throughout the kingdom. In 1993 following the Official Royal Separation
announcement and four years prior to Diana's death, Buckingham Palace had deleted Diana's name from the " Court
Circular"; which lists all Official Royal Engagements.
Following Diana's death in Paris, France, the Monarch instructed that Diana's name was not to be mentioned during
the Sunday morning service of August 31st 1997 at Craithie Kirk Church near Balmoral, a service attended by her and
H.R.H. Prince Charles and he and Diana's sons who earlier that morning became motherless. No prayers were to be
said in remembrance of Diana and instead the minister gave his original prepared sermon about the joys of moving
house which included jokes by Scottish comedian; Billy Connolly! It is reported that Harry who was just 13 years old
and in his personal grief, totally perplexed; asked his father " Papa are you sure Mummy's dead ? " By 2007, 10 years
after Diana's death in the French capital city and the same year William and Harry commemorated their Mother's
birthday publicly with the extravaganza "Concert for Diana" ; Diana postcards were banned from being sold at all
Royal shops in the Royal Palaces and at Windsor Castle.
The Monarch lost substantial public respect and support in her response to Diana's death including her insistence in
staying at Balmoral until the day before the funeral; when upon returning she made a public speech to the nation but
prior to this something that had lead to newspapers bearing headlines like " Where is Our Queen ?"! H.R.H. The
Prince of Wales gaining support in personally flying to Paris to collect Diana and bringing her home to the people of
the nation who were openly grieving but more especially to her boys one last time!
Date Posted:26/06/2006 05:40:47)
Diana: Her tears and her courage / Patrick Jephson .. Former Private Secretary to Diana
Inside a royal aeroplane there's a special kind of excitement as the doors are about to open. If it's for the start of a big
foreign tour - if there is a President waiting at the bottom of the steps and the world's press penned on the Tarmac -
then the excitement verges on the hyper. If you could bottle that kind of energy, you'd be a billionaire.
In my eight years with Diana, Princess of Wales organising tours all over the world, I sometimes thought we were
addicted to the stuff. Once, when Diana was flying to Egypt for a high-profile official visit, I almost had an overdose. It
had been a difficult flight. We had landed in Turkey en route to deliver Prince Charles for a private holiday with a
group we all knew would include Camilla Parker Bowles. As Diana flew east, into the gathering darkness and all the
uncertainties that lay ahead in the ancient desert kingdom, I looked at the unhappy Princess and saw that she was
crying. Whatever her part in the state her marriage had reached, she was paying a cruel price for it now.
As we descended towards Cairo she dried her eyes and went to the royal loo. A few minutes later she emerged a
changed woman. Cold water, fresh make-up, smart hair and a designer suit had transformed her into the picture of
international compassionate glamour. Best of all, the look in her eyes confirmed she was going to give this tour
everything she'd got. By sheer determination, professionalism and talent she would show her critics back home - and
her husband - that she was every inch deserving of her proud royal title. Diana getting off that plane into a blaze of
flashbulbs in the warm Egyptian night displayed no signs of the teary eyed princess I'd seen on the aircraft !
Everybody coped with the after landing tension in their own way. Diana's dresser and butler would get busy preparing
the cabin baggage and hanging dresses for a rapid exit to the special car I'd arranged to meet them at the other door.
The policemen would try to make their walkie-talkies work and check they had all the mysterious bulges under their
jackets in the right order. The lady- in- waiting would practise looking cool and elegantly demure - something they all
did very well. The doctor would collect his little black bag and tenderly prepare the blood fridge for offloading. The
cook would finish writing his postcards. The baggage master would stretch his arms and crack his knuckles in
preparation for the exertions about to begin as he climbed into the cargo hold to take charge of our mountain of
baggage. The secretary would put her shorthand pad back into her handbag and carefully file away a vital sheaf of
itineraries and briefing papers.
So what was Diana's routine once landing on the tarmac of wherever we might be? She'd pat her hair, pull down her
jacket and straighten her skirt. She called out to her team: " Everybody ready? Too late if you're not..." Then she'd
square her shoulders and, as she passed, she smiled. "Just another episode in the everyday story of royal folk! "Then
she was off down the steps and into the royal routine she had taught herself to play to perfection. Diana had served a
very valuable apprenticeship touring as a couple with Prince Charles. I remember from years before the atmosphere
from inside the plane as they arrived in Australia in the early years of their marriage on that very first tour together.
You could feel the anticipation as the Prince and Princess prepared to leave the familiar surroundings of the royal
compartment and head out into the noise and heat of a bright Australian morning.In the background you could see
some of the 20-plus tour party getting organised. "After you, after you," said Diana to her husband, and it brings a
lump to my throat even now to see them apparently working so well together.
By the following year the couple's schedule was hectic: Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia,
Hong Kong, Hungary. They were practised royal performers, reconciled to doing their duty in public and leading
largely separate lives in private. Yet to see them work the crowd in a busy Hong Kong square, to watch them charm
diplomats and businessmen at a reception or to feel their genuine compassion for a group of disabled children was to
witness a world-beating double act. It wasn't hard to be proud of our archaic royal system when you saw Charles and
Diana on the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia waving to well-wishers as the Marines band played "A Life On The
Ocean Wave".Even then, Diana tended to draw a disproportionate amount of attention. Diana couldn't help it !
Whether it was schoolchildren or a troop of native dancers, it was Diana's name that always seemed to be called out
the loudest. There was a magic about her that went beyond a bright smile and snappy clothes. During the playing of
the national anthems on arrival in Hungary at Budapest airport, as the guard of honour presents arms and the men
stand stiffly to attention, unseen by anybody the wife of the Hungarian president is silently weeping with emotion.
Unseen by anybody - except Diana.! In a heartwarming gesture, she quietly takes the woman's hand and comforts her
during the rest of the ceremony. It's a gesture of instinctive humanity beyond the dreams of the smartest PR adviser.
That was typical of the princess's gift for the job she had been given.
Sadly by the time of the Korea tour of late 1992, the double act looked painful rather than unbeatable. This was the
annus horribilis, as Her Majesty the Queen had remarked publicly and within weeks Charles and Diana had announced
their separation. There would be no more joint tours. However, like a butterfly shedding her chrysalis, Diana found
that her new life as an independent operator allowed her to spread her wings.
As her private secretary I was in charge of all Diana's public engagements and soon I was crisscrossing the world,
setting up overseas working visits and then doing the journey all over again, this time at her shoulder to see that
everything worked smoothly. In 1995 alone Diana completed 25 such tours - the destinations soon began to look like
something from a world airline directory: the US, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, India, Pakistan, Egypt,
Zimbabwe, Argentina. New York in the U.S. was a frequent destination, perhaps Diana's favourite. On her first solo
tour there, in 1989, she visited the Harlem Hospital Center in one of the city's toughest neighbourhoods and changed
the world's perception of Aids by cradling in her arms a baby who was dying from the disease. Speaking 15 years after
the event, one of the hospital's doctors describes the benefit of Diana's simple, symbolic act as incalculable. It is a
powerful reminder of the Princess as a force for enormous good as she helped change attitudes to drug abuse, mental
health, leprosy, Aids and land mines. Amazingly, she seemed to thrive on the most daunting and demanding visits.
Giving hope to those in desperate need or drawing attention to the plight of those at the bottom of the pile were part of
her special vocation. Diana knew such visits could produce tangible benefit. The lady invested huge amounts of
emotion in the task and re-wrote the royal book of etiquette in the process. Somehow, even without the support of a
happy marriage, she managed to draw on deep reservesof compassion and determination within herself. Diana would
respond with warmth and a smile to sights that struck me dumb with shock. Afterwards, she would often express her
emotion in laughter, bad jokes, singing and, occasionally, blasts of anger over some administrative glitch, real or
imagined.Very rarely, the suffering she encountered would slip through even her coping mechanisms. I remember
bedtime in an African Aids orphanage. The toddlers had all lost their families to the disease. They themselves would
all be dead before their sixth birthdays! Diana watched as the children were gently put to bed by the nuns who cared
for them. Lovingly she helped tuck some of them in but, as the nuns helped them say their prayers, Diana had to look
away. I saw the tears on her cheeks.
I have a particularly poignant memory of the last foreign visit I made with Diana. Appropriately, it was to New York,
where she was receiving a humanitarian award from Henry Kissinger in 1995.It was an evening of true Manhattan
glamour as 1,500 guests packed into the Hilton ballroom. Later, when I escorted Diana back to her suite in the Carlyle
Hotel, she invited me in for a glass of champagne; it was a typically thoughtful gesture. As we looked out at the night-
time skyline of the world's most exciting city, she was in reflective mood. We admired her humanitarian award - a
lump of heavy glass on a granite base. I said: "All these years I've been flying around the world telling people you
didn't accept awards - your job was to hand them out. But Maam, I think you were right to accept this one. You've
certainly earned it. "Oh no," Diana replied. "But I'm working on it."