Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Images of the crash that killed Princess Diana

A senior aide of Princes William and Harry has written a letter to Channel 4 on their behalf urging the channel not to use graphic photos of the crash that killed their mother, Princess Diana.

The programme, called Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel, is to be telecast on Channel 4 on Wednesday. It will include pho tographs taken by French photographers immediately after the car crash and interviews with them and the other witnesses.

"I must ask you not to broadcast those photographs that depict the crashed car whilst the princes' mother lies dying in its wreckage. Also, I ask on the princes' behalf that the shot of the ambulance, with a medic clearly administering emergency treatment to the unseen figure of the princess, not be broadcast, Princes William and Harry's private secretary Jamie LowtherPinkerton wrote to Channel 4 on Friday.

"These photographs, regardless of the fact that they do not actually show the princess's features, are redolent with the atmosphere and tragedy of the closing moments of her life," he added.

Prince Charles' communications secretary Paddy Harverson and Mr Lowther-Pinkerton were allowed by Channel 4 to view the programme at its offices. The Channel 4 decision to broadcast the programme has led to a lot of criticism. Political parties and the royal family had called for the programme to be scrapped. Channel 4, however, has stuck to its decision to telecast the documentary.

On Tuesday, Channel 4 said it had weighed the princes' concerns against the legitimate public interest of the documentary and said it would be broadcasting the images.

In the letter to Channel 4, Mr Lowther-Pinkerton wrote:

"Given that you were unwilling to release a copy for Prince William and Prince Harry to view personally, I verbally briefed the princes on the content of the programme immediately after the viewing. I explained to the princes the central focus of the programme and its themes, and, in particular, the part played by the paparazzi in the tragedy. I do have to say, though, that this latter issue has already clearly been addressed in the findings of both the French police investigation and the Stevens report and is, therefore, of debatable fresh ‘public interest'"

"Their Royal Highnesses have asked me to communicate to you in the strongest terms possible that their position remains unchanged from that clearly articulated by them in July 2006, on the occasion of the Italian magazine, Chi, publishing a photograph of the scene surrounding their mother's dying moments.

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