June 5, 2007 / 10:40 AM / 11 years ago

Diana's sons plead in vain over TV pictures

LONDON (Reuters) - The sons of Princess Diana pleaded in vain on Tuesday with a British television channel not to broadcast graphic photos in a documentary about their mother’s death in a Paris car crash 10 years ago.

Channel 4 said it had weighed the princes’ concerns against the legitimate public interest of the documentary and will be broadcasting the images in “Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel” on Wednesday.

Princes William and Harry said the photos were “a gross disrespect to their mother’s memory”.

“It was not our intention in commissioning this program to cause them distress and we do not believe the film is in any way disrespectful to the memory of Princess Diana,” Channel 4 said. “No images of the victims of the crash are shown in this film.”

In a letter written by their private secretary, the princes asked Channel 4 to remove several images depicting the crashed car while Diana was still in the wreckage and pictures of a medic administering emergency treatment.

Senior royal aide Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said the princes “believe the broadcast of these photographs to be wholly inappropriate, deeply distressing to them and to the relatives of the others who died that night”.

In a letter to Channel 4 executive Hamish Mykura, he wrote: “If it were your or my mother dying in that tunnel, would we want the scene broadcast to the nation? Indeed, would the nation so want it?”

“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.”

Diana died along with her companion Dodi al Fayed when the car driven by their chauffeur Henri Paul crashed in a Paris road tunnel while being chased by paparazzi on motorbikes. Paul was also killed.

The decision to make the letter public underlined the anger of the young princes who have constantly asked for their mother to be left to “rest in peace”.

But their pleas are falling on deaf ears in the lead up to the 10th anniversary of her death in August.

Last year, the princes criticized an Italian magazine for printing a picture from the crash.

“We feel deeply saddened that such a low has been reached,” the two princes said in a rare statement.

Milan-based magazine Chi defended its decision to run the photo, which showed Diana slumped and dying in the mangled Mercedes moments after it slammed into the tunnel at high speed.

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