Princess Diana’s voice coach recalls moment her public speaking skills were ‘put to the test’

Stewart Pearce says he watched her become an ‘assured, powerful humanitarian leader’

<p>Princess Diana during a visit to a community centre in Brixton,London, 1983</p>

Princess Diana during a visit to a community centre in Brixton,London, 1983

Princess Diana’s former voice coach has shared his perspective of watching her transition from a “voice of submission” to a “voice of triumph”.

Stewart Pearce, the author of Diana: The Voice of Change, worked with the late Princess of Wales from 1995 until her death in 1997.

Diana had sought his help because “she knew that her voice was not powerful”, and public speeches “terrified” her, Pearce told People in a new interview.

Over the course of the years, he watched her move from a “demure and pained young woman” to an “assured, powerful humanitarian leader”.

He recalled one occasion where her progress was “put to the test” in 1995, while she received the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year Award in New York City.

During her speech, Diana was speaking about Prince William and Prince Harry when someone from the crowd shouted, “Where are they today?”

"They're at school, as all good children should be, and enjoying themselves,” she calmly responded.

"That was a real point of triumph, that she was able to move forward and be that present and not feel immediately intimidated by the energy that was being thrown at her, which was rather unfortunate and immensely public," Pearce said.

"It could have gone anywhere. It was obviously quite an aggressive demand upon her, but she was able to stand her ground, remain absolutely centred and say what she felt,” he continued.

He said her response was a “moment of present-mindedness that she had not been able to accomplish before”, adding that she received a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience following her speech.

Earlier this month, an independent inquiry by Lord Dyson, a former judge, found BBC journalist Martin Bashir used deception to secure his 1995 Panorama interview with Diana.

The investigation, published 20 May, concluded that Bashir was in “serious” breach of BBC rules when he used fake bank statements to “deceive and induce” Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, into setting up the interview.

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