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Q and A
Wednesday
Arthur Edwards

Arthur was the first to snap Diana as a 19 year-old nursery school teacher. He went on to cover her engagement, wedding, the births of her sons and her funeral.
 
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"Diana knew how to manipulate the press and was very clever at it. But a certain section of the press hunted her, which could send her into a deep depression. By and large, she was in control and handled herself brilliantly. There were however some times when I felt ashamed to be part of the same profession as some of the other photographers.

Since her death, the media and the Royal Family have moved closer together and the relationship is more cordial and there is much more pleasure in the job."

Mr Edwards, you wrote that "Diana knew how to manipulate the press and was very clever at it". Would you say also that the press knew how to manipulate the public and was very clever at it?
Peter Watkins, 63
Lithuania

Every newspaper and magazine has its own particular agenda that supports or condemns different causes, political parties and takes sides. Putting their point across is, I suppose, manipulation and, yes, they are good at it.

Diana became very good at manipulation too. When Aids was a taboo illness, she single-handedly removed the stigma from this terrible disease and she did it with our help. I was there when she visited an Aids ward at the Middlesex hospital where she shook hands with patients in the final stages of this killer disease. It certainly changed my view and I hope my pictures helped change the views of millions of other people.

Sometimes when I think back about Diana's life, I think of the good things she did regarding her good works but I also think she made some unwise decisions - like the Panorama interview, which I considered a great betrayal.

The book she did - and denied she did it - with Andrew Morton was a great piece of manipulation. It divided our country. You either loved Prince Charles or you hated him after that. More hated him than loved him, I am afraid. He was considered a cold, uncaring father who had just used the princess to provide an heir to the throne - in my opinion not true. He is a very caring and loving father and I believe he genuinely loved Diana in those early years.

Isn't the suggestion that Diana "manipulated the media" simply an excuse used by the media to justify the excessive pressure it exerted through endlessly scrutinising her every move?
Sian Williams
Leighton Buzzard, UK

Diana said on her Panorama interview that she was going to Argentina and that she was taking the press pack with her and hoped that they would report her good works - and we did.

She also took us to Angola, Bosnia, Aids clinics in Harlem, and the slums of Rio di Janeiro. By highlighting these huge problems hopefully we did some good.

If this is how she manipulated the press (?), then she did a very good job.

But you can't have your cake and eat it if you try to control what newspapers say about you, you are in for a big shock. They are not PR sheets for Buckingham Palace, Number 10 Downing Street or anybody else. They say it how it is and they do not mind whose feelings get hurt. Occasionally this happened to the princess and she did not like it.

I personally felt sorry for Diana. Everybody stared at her wherever she went - even the policemen who were supposed to be protecting her could not take their eyes off her. She was simply a very gorgeous lady and sadly she had to suffer this endless scrutiny whenever she appeared in public. In the latter years she gave up her right to a personal protection officer and I felt this was a huge mistake. Not only would he have protected her from the excesses of the media and in particular the paparazzi. But he would have told the driver of the death-crash car to slow down and insisted the princess put on her seatbelt.

Given Diana's ambiguous attitude towards the press what was her general attitude to you when she met you and do you think she ever thought you were in a position to help her deal with the press pack?
Mark Hudson, 29
Nottingham, UK

I first met Diana when she was 19-years-old and I only recognised her because she was wearing a necklace with a D on it and when I asked her to pose for me she did it perfectly.

During her courtship with Prince Charles she was often besieged by photographers outside her West London flat and I was only able to help her once when she was surrounded by French photographers and was about to breakdown and cry. "That is just what they want to see, " I said. " Just drive off and ignore them."

A few weeks later she got engaged to Prince Charles and she did not need any help from anyone regarding her relationship with the press pack.

However, she did have a lot of problems with the paparazzi who continually pestered her whenever she left the safety of Kensington Palace. They buzzed round her like mosquitoes and she felt she would never be free of their attentions.

In St Tropez last year she came over to the boat that I was photographing from and suggested that if the paparazzi did not leave her alone she would live abroad. I don't think this would have happened because her sons live here. You may ask what was I doing on the boat? Well, Diana was on holiday with the al Fayed family and this, we felt, was a genuine news story. When I explained this to her, she understood. She was not happy but she realised that we had a job to do. She went back to the beach, got on the back of a jet ski with Prince Harry driving and whizzed by us several times, making sure we had great pictures.

Why did the media report the death of Diana, Princess of Wales almost exclusively and hardly mention the death of someone really important such as Mother Teresa?
Fiona White, 50+
Guildford, UK

As you know, Mother Teresa died just a few days after Princess Diana. She had been seriously ill for the past 18 months. In fact I had to renew my Indian visa every three months because I expected that when she eventually died, Princess Diana would rush to her funeral - they were that close.

Mother Teresa was a very old lady and the news of her death was very sad. However, the whole nation was in such a state of shock when Diana was killed in the Paris car crash - so young, so happy and leaving two fine young men without a mother - that the death of Mother Teresa was overshadowed.

I met Mother Teresa in Calcutta and saw the tremendous work she did. But Diana was just something very special - not only to the British people but to the rest of the world.

Why is it that a year after her death, the tabloids still cannot leave her alone?
N Skinner, 28
St Albans, UK

Now the anniversary of Diana's death is past, I expect the coverage will be much less. But when the French judge delivers his verdict later this year on the cause of the crash that killed the Princess, the interest will flair up again and there will be pages and pages more for you to read - and enjoy.

I think that the coverage has been over the top. Lost pictures, hidden pictures, pictures that have never been seen before - anything to make you buy that particular paper. I am now sick and tired of reading the stories and looking at the pictures. I wish that we would let her rest in peace but I do not think everybody feels the same. It's no coincidence that on Monday 31 August most papers were sold out by ten o'clock in the morning. The reason was that they all had Diana on the front - so there is still huge interest in reading about this woman who is fast becoming an icon.

Has Diana's death made a difference to the way celebrities are treated by the press?
Jonathan Lipczer, 18
Ilford, UK

No. The exception to this is Prince William and Prince Harry. They have been left completely alone to enjoy a press free education and holidays without long lenses focused on them.

Although certain celebrities and politicians would welcome more press restrictions, I feel that the princess's death has brought greater self-regulation to the industry.

We recently had a story of a famous TV personality who had been a very naughty boy, and before Diana's death would have been headline news. But now, as it would not have been in the public interest, we decided not to publish.

This would have been lapped up by the public but it served no serious purpose and would have destroyed the person's public image.

Three weeks after Diana's death I was sent to photograph Paul McCartney for a forthcoming album release. And even though the shooting was taking place in a public street, I was told by my boss to make sure to ask his permission to photograph him. This was taking the privacy question too far the other way. But the problem solved itself because Paul McCartney failed to show up.

As Prince William reaches 18, 21 and older, will the press begin to take special interest in everything that he does?
Mark R. Lobes, 20
Chicago Area, US

Prince William is the biggest star in the royal galaxy. He has his mother's good looks and will one day be our king. He has a couple more years of privacy but when he walks out with a pretty girl on his arm that will be a great picture - and he knows it more than anybody.

Of course we are interested in everything he does - exams results, how good he is at sports - but since Diana's death the newspaper industry in Britain has steered clear of intruding too much into this young man's life.

Prince William is extremely shy and hates the media with a passion. But last March in Canada he put his head up and smiled and all the young girls went crazy for him - but this is far too rare.

William's brother Harry has a much more spirited attitude to life. He is the first on the ski slopes and the last to leave. He rushes in and knows no fear. He holds his head up at all times - even at the lowest points of his life. I remember when he and William, with their father, were looking at flowers and tributes outside Kensington Palace a few days after their mother's death. Harry held his head up high but fought back the tears. Even at 12 years of age he shows great strength of character and has accepted his destiny.

William could learn a lot from his younger brother in how to cope with the trials and tribulations that they will both face throughout the rest of their life.

Given the amount of coverage being given increasingly to Zara Phillips, am I right in thinking that the tabloid - and indeed the quality - newspapers are already building her up as the new Diana?
Simon Brown, 29
Brussels, Belgium

Zara Phillips is a good-looking girl and has a fantastic personality and a wonderful sense of humour. At the Queen Mother's 98th birthday recently, she continually teased William as the young girls were screaming for him to come and talk to them. The photographers, myself included, for once were concentrating not on William but on Zara's tongue.

The Sun had broken the story the day before but nobody knew for certain until they saw it for themselves. Our paper the next day carried a picture of Zara - lips firmly sealed looking at William - and the headline said: "Spot the stud". So a girl as interesting and as lively and as pretty as Zara will fill many column inches in the future. But nobody, in my opinion, will ever be as popular or as loved as Diana.