War over Diana as authors try to cash in on anniversary

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The Independent Online

In life, Diana, Princess of Wales, was pursued even until her very last moments. In death, her memory is about to be hounded as never before. Fully 13 months before the 10th anniversary of her death, the Royal Family is bracing itself for an unprecedented avalanche of books about her public and private affairs.

Dozens are now being planned or written, containing recollections - real or imagined - about the most beguiling woman of the late 20th century. They include books by: CNN's Larry King, promising memories of the Princess reportedly from the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Jeffrey Archer; Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, who is working on a coffee-table breaker that pledges to use a mixture of commentary and reportage to follow the Princess's rise to prominence from "country girl to a global celebrity"; and David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, the designers of her wedding dress who are promising to tell the "inside story" of the gown. Add to this a heavyweight biography of the Princess by the historian Sarah Bradford, and a detailed discussion of her "cult" after death by Ted Harrison, both due out next month.

At least a dozen major documentaries are also thought to be at various stages of production. Never, it seems, has royalty provoked such an unseemly pursuit of royalties.

Last week's reproduction by the Italian magazine Chi of a photograph of the injured Princess receiving oxygen in the Alma tunnel in Paris was taken from one of the forthcoming books and is but a foretaste for her family of what is to come.

Her sons were quick to condemn the publication. "We feel deeply saddened that such a low has been reached," Princes William and Harry said in a statement released by Clarence House. "Despite the support shown to us and our mother's memory by so many people over the past eight years, we feel that as her sons we would be failing in our duty to her now if we did not protect her as she once did us."

The photo inChi magazine was taken from Lady Diana: The Criminal Investigation, a new book by the French author Jean-Michel Caradec'h. British tabloids heaped condemnation on the magazine. "Shame on you," chided The Sun. The Daily Express called the image "grotesque" and swore not to reprint it.

But Fleet Street has not suddenly gone coy on the subject of the Princess. This weekThe Sun carried claims by a television cameraman that he had had an affair with her.


'Diana: The Last Days' (Martyn Gregory)

Newly updated edition of the definitive investigation into the Paris car crash to mark the 10th anniversary.

'Diana' (Sarah Bradford)

Heavyweight analysis by acclaimed royal biographer, drawing on accounts from friends, courtiers and employees.

'Diana: Myth and Reality' (Ted Harrison)

Explores the post-death Diana and her religious and cultural significance since 1997.

'A Dress for Diana' (David and Elizabeth Emanuel)

25 years on, the "inside" story of Diana's "fairytale" wedding dress is told by its designers.

A dozen documentaries are being prepared more than a year before the 10th anniversary of the Princess's death.