ITV marks what would have been her Princess Diana’s 60th birthday on July 1

Thursday: Diana ;(ITV, 9pm)

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:00 pm

She died in 1997 at the age of just 36, but Diana, Princess of Wales is still making headlines.

In May, the BBC apologised following an inquiry into how Martin Bashir was able to secure the infamous 1995 Panorama interview with the Princess, in which she declared there were three people in her marriage.

Then earlier this month, Prince Harry paid a tribute to his mother when he announced that his new daughter would be named Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor (her cousin Charlotte also has Diana as a middle name).

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Diana, Princess of Wales, sitting on ohe steps outside her country home, Highgrove

Before that, there was a renewed interest in the life of Diana following the fourth series of the royal drama The Crown, which came to Netflix in 2020 and gave some viewers, who were too young to have followed the story at the time, a new insight into her troubled marriage to Prince Charles.

But just how did Diana come to have such a hold over the public’s imagination? ITV will be providing some answers with its feature-length documentary about the woman Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister at the time of her death, famously dubbed ‘the People’s Princess’. Simply titled Diana, it is airing to tie in with what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1.

Directed by the Bafta-award winning Jemma Chisnall, it draws on photos and letters from those who were closest to the Princess, as well as never-before-heard testimony and rarely seen archive footage to offer a fresh look at some of the most iconic moments in her life.

In the process, it charts how she went from a shy nursery assistant to a global superstar and tabloid obsession, while also providing an insight into the complex woman behind the media image.

Executive Producer for 72 Films, David Glover, says: “There is something a bit magical about Princess Diana – and despite the difficulties in her personal life she managed to use her connection with people to do huge amounts of good.

“Her 60th birthday feels like the perfect time to re-examine her life and legacy and explore just how she went from a relatively unknown teenager to the most mourned person who ever lived.”

Jo Clinton-Davis, ITV’s Controller of Factual Entertainment, adds: “It is a difficult undertaking to shed new light on the most emotional, dramatic and pivotal elements of the life of Diana, when that light still burns brightly. But by delving deep into her relationships with friends, colleagues and staff, our aim is to provide a vivid portrayal of the woman who became known as the Queen of Hearts.”

The documentary isn’t the only way ITV is marking what would have been a milestone birthday. The channel has commissioned Diana’s Decades, which shows how she both reflected and influenced the spirit of the 1980s and 1990s. As well as hearing from people who met her or whose lives were touched by her, the series will also remind us of some of the big social and cultural changes she experienced during her too-short life.

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