Jennings dropped by the Royally Obsessed podcast to chat with me and my co-host Roberta Fiorito about what it was like to convince Morton to sign on to work with him and also to share his reaction to the first time he heard Diana’s voice on those tapes.
According to Jennings, Morton wasn’t immediately sold on working with him. “I straight out asked him: ‘We’d love to use your tapes.’ I remember the conversation vividly. He said, ‘Get in line, mate. You’re about the 2,000th producer that has asked me for those tapes. I plan on taking them to my grave.’”
That’s when Jennings made his hard sell. “‘Wait, Andrew, wait!’” he said over the phone to Morton. “‘We do these things differently. There’s no narration and we’re not going to interview anyone to tell us what Diana was like. We want to use the tapes and just let her talk. We want to let Diana be the narrator of her own story.’”
Morton was intrigued. Per Jennings, there was a long pause before he replied, “No one’s ever asked me to do it like that.” Two days later, Jennings was on an overnight flight to London to meet with Morton at his publisher’s office in South London.
As the pair listened to the tapes—seven hours in total—Jennings recalls that there was a lot to take in. But there was also an unexpected detail about Diana that struck him immediately: her sense of humor. “I didn’t get how funny she was. There’s a lot more in the tapes where [Diana’s] telling little asides about her day and making jokes. Some of it was gossipy, but a lot of it was just her turning a phrase and making a joke about something...The whole way back to the airport, I kept thinking: Princess Diana was really funny.”
If you haven’t yet streamed Jennings’s documentary, it’s available to watch on Disney+. As for whether or not we’ll ever get to hear the tapes in full (the documentary only uses about 90 minutes worth), per Jennings, discussions have begun, but time will tell.
For more from Tom Jennings, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.
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