Channel 4 has continued to defend its plan to broadcast photos of the crash that killed Princess Diana despite a formal request from her sons that the images are not shown.

Prince William and Prince Harry?s private secretary wrote to Channel 4 saying that the princes believe broadcasting the images would be a ?gross disrespect? to the memory of their mother, reported the BBC this morning.

In response, Head of Channel 4 Julian Bellamy issued a statement. It reads:

‘Channel 4 acknowledges the concerns expressed by the Princes William and Harry about the documentary; we would like to make clear that it was not our intention in commissioning this programme to cause them distress and we do not believe the film is in any way disrespectful to the memory of Princess Diana. We have weighed the Princes? concerns against the legitimate public interest we believe there is in the subject of this documentary and in the still photography it includes.’

It is understood that none of the images shown identify Princess Diana or the other victims of the Paris car crash.

The statement adds: ‘No images of the victims of the crash are shown in this film because we made a clear decision from the outset to uphold the consensus quite properly reached by the British media not to use any images that depict the occupants of the car after the crash. Those images that are included have been selected with due consideration for the feelings of the relatives of those involved.’

As we reported last week, Channel 4 has steadfastly defended its plan to broadcast the documentary featuring a controversial photograph of the Princess of Wales in the aftermath of the 1997 car crash.

The programme, called ‘Diana: The Witnesses In The Tunnel?, is due to be broadcast on 6 June.

The Channel 4 statement continues: ‘We believe, in this context, the photographs and the assembled interviewees provide the most detailed and credible eyewitness account yet delivered of an event of international importance that for ten years has been obscured by claim and counter-claim. They support the first-hand testimony of passers-by and the photographers at the scene who have been publicly criticised and condemned for their behaviour that night.’

Bellamy claimed that the programme goes no further visually or in tone than many previous British TV and newspaper reports.

‘A number of the pictures in the documentary have already appeared in the British media in a similar context,’ he added. ‘Commentators who have watched the programme for preview purposes have agreed that it is a responsible documentary. We believe this view will be shared by those who watch it.

‘Channel 4 has scheduled an additional programme later on the same evening in which the issues raised by the Channel?s decision to show the programme will be debated.’

News update 6 June: Diana pics will be screened

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Channel 4 statement