This princess was positively born to broadcast. What is more, she has tried turning the other silken cheek and stiffening her (subtly glossed) upper lip, and where has it dumped her? Up to her swan neck in the seething effluent of malevolent speculation, rising hackles and sordid surmise. Life as a fallen idol is not all lightly tossed radicchio at Le Caprice, you know. When every Tom, Dick, James and ex-rock-moll-PR chick is entitled to spill beans, vent spleens and dish dirt, somehow dignified silence lacks bite. No one loves an enigma. Post-Andrew Morton passivity starts to look frighteningly like an admission of guilt. Eventually, a girl's gotta do what every slighted woman from Mandy Smith to Germaine Greer has done before her - sit on a sofa in a truly fetching little suit and unburden her soul in the nation's living rooms.
Anyone who thinks Diana will stick her Maud Frizon-shod foot in it cannot have been paying much attention to the venomous character-smashing that the poor dear has already endured. When Cornflakes' eaters globally are already convinced you are a ruthless, home-wrecking, telephone-abusing bulimic with megalomaniacal exhibitionist tendencies, there is not a whole lot of cred to shed.
What is more, she has the comfort of knowing she cannot possibly make more of a ham-fisted hash of it than the Prince of Wales. Dimbleby and Charles were the Cannon and Ball of documentaries, as spontaneous as autocue, as wooden as Charles's heart. Diana, reading a pre-written speech, is unadulterated vowel-mangling torment but, one to one off-the-cuff, the lady is a star. Of course, the best television gives the illusion of being precisely that, one individual speaking intimately to another. If the Panorama producer soothes her shyness, slices through the red tape and pulls it off, we should hear the 20th-century's unhappiest icon unscripted for the first time.
It is appropriate that we bask in Diana's own version of the conjugal scraps which have kept so-called "royal correspondents" in Armani, if only to oust the humbugs and parasites. Diana has performed sterling service salvaging flagging dinner-party conversation for well over a decade. Surely she has earned the right to look us squarely in the lens and distinguish the tittle from the tattle? The Princess's only mistake is choosing such a frothy, trivial, lightweight programme for soul-baring. She would fare far better on Vanessa.
The writer hosts a chat show on ITVReuse content