Princess Diana's Voice Coach Recalls the Moment She Was 'Put to the Test'
Stewart Pearce new book Diana: The Voice of Change explores how the royal moved from a "demure and pained young woman" to an "assured, powerful humanitarian leader"
Stewart Pearce helped Princess Diana find her voice — and now he's using her journey to help others do the same.
Pearce, who has also worked with famous faces like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and actor Mark Rylance, was introduced to Princess Diana through a mutual friend just a few years before her untimely death in 1997.
"She knew that her voice was not powerful," the voice and presentation coach tells PEOPLE. "She knew that her voice was a voice of submission, not a voice of triumph. She wanted to find that."
Pearce worked with Diana to feel confident yet authentic, keeping her compassion and vulnerability that drew so many people to her, especially while giving public speeches — something he said "terrified" her.
Pearce recalled one occasion when she was "put to the test" while receiving an award in New York City. While speaking about her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, someone in the crowd shouted out, "Where are they today?" Princess Diana calmly replied, "They're at school, as all good children should be, and enjoying themselves."
"That was a moment of present-mindedness that she had not been able to accomplish before," he says. "She then had a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience."
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"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 continues. "It could have gone anywhere. It was obviously quite an aggressive demand upon her, but she was able to stand her ground, remain absolutely centered and say what she felt."
Pearce's new book Diana: The Voice of Change explores how the late royal "moved from the demure and pained young woman, seen in the Martin Bashir interview, to the assured, powerful humanitarian leader witnessed in July 1997."
And with Princess Diana back in the spotlight due to The Crown, a Broadway musical telling her story, her 60th birthday being marked on July 1 and more, Pearce says it is the "absolute right time" for the book's debut.
"We're hearing so much from the empaths of the world," Pearce says. "I thought, that's another really great reason to use Diana as the sensitive that she was and see what she did to allow herself to become more courageous but still stay empathic and vulnerable."
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