The late Princess Diana went to great lengths to be able to tell her story without the royal family’s knowledge, Andrew Morton, the author of Diana: Her True Story, has revealed.
When it was published in 1992, Morton’s book about Princess Diana and her struggles with depression and bulimia, Prince Charle’s infidelity, and her attempts at self-harm shocked the world. At the time, many were still under the impression that Diana and Charles had a fairytale marriage. Diana: Her True Story caused a media storm and was banned by major bookstores and supermarkets.
This weekend, Morton sat down with TV presenter Liz Hayes for an interview on the Australian 60 Minutes. During their chat, Morton told Hayes the “story behind the story” of how he and Princess Diana recorded the tapes without anyone in the palace finding out. Speaking with News.com.au, Hayes said that she was struck by Princess Diana’s determination to let the public know about her predicament and that she found it “vaguely hysterical” how Diana managed to record the secret tapes.
“It is quite amazing the lengths they had to go to get Diana to be able to say in first person what her situation was and tell her story.”
According to Morton, he and Princess Diana managed to document her version of events by recording tapes on the sly. They did this with the help of Dr. James Colthurst, an old friend of Diana’s. The doctor agreed to act as a sort of undercover agent for Morton.
Colthurst said that he would ride his bicycle to the palace and have lunch with the princess.
“I’d cycle in, the recorder was in the briefcase, nothing surprising there,” he said (via the Daily Mail).
“I’d go in and we’d normally have a few questions before lunch, we’d have lunch then we’d come out after lunch, I’d clip the microphone on and she’d finish them of.”
According to Morton, the whole process of recording the secret tapes was rather “ramshackle.”
“[Colthurst] would put on a microphone then he’d munch his way through a plate of biscuits then just read out the questions.”
The author also revealed that he and Princess Diana would use “scramblers” whenever they talked on the phone so as to protect their conversation. Morton also opened up about the moment he first listened to one of Diana’s tapes and felt, for the first time, just how grave her situation was.
“It was the most incredible outburst of really innermost pain, rage, frustration, anger. You were swept away with it. It was very compelling.”
Morton used the secret tapes when writing the controversial Diana: Her True Story. The book, he said, is the closest thing to Princess Diana’s biography. The princess was tragically killed in a car crash just five years after it was released.
The tapes have been published to mark the 25th anniversary of the book’s publishing and the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.
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