Princess Diana poured out her woes over depression, betrayal, bulimia and her suicide attempts in a “stream of consciousness” recordings, her official biographer has recalled.
Andrew Morton, 69, who wrote the book ‘Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words’ with the mum-of-two’s cooperation in 1992, said he listened with “astonishment” when she sent him a tape of her innermost feelings.
He told the Daily Mail on Friday night (27.08.22) ahead of the 25th anniversary of her death aged 36 this Wednesday (31.08.22): “Turning on my tape recorder, I listened with mounting astonishment to the unmistakable voice of Princess Diana, pouring out a tale of woe in a rapid stream of consciousness.
“She was talking about her unhappiness, her sense of betrayal, her suicide attempts – and two things I’d never previously heard of: an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa and a woman called Camilla.”
He added about her confessions about her traumatic marriage to Prince Charles, who she divorced in 1996 mainly over his relationship with his future wife Camilla: “It was 1991. Diana was approaching 30, and the very idea that her 10-year marriage was in dire trouble seemed unthinkable. To most people, Charles and Diana were still a fairytale story.”
Andrew said Diana, who died in a high-speed Paris tunnel car smash, trusted him with her story as he knew Dr James Colthurst, whom he met in 1986 when the royal opened a new CT scanner in his X-ray department at St Thomas’ Hospital, London.
He added: “Afterwards, over tea and biscuits, I questioned him about Diana’s visit and soon realised he had known her for years.
“Gradually, James and I became friendly, enjoying games of squash followed by large lunches and talking about everything but the princess.
“As her friend, of course, James was well aware that her marriage had failed and that her husband was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
“Diana had a nagging fear that, at any moment, her enemies in the Palace would have her classified as mentally ill and locked away. Where to turn?
“It had dawned on her that unless the full story of her life was told, the public would never understand the reasons behind anything she decided to do.
“She knew I was researching a book about her and she had been reasonably pleased with an earlier work of mine, mainly because it irritated Prince Charles with its detailed description of the interior of Highgrove.
“One day, she asked Colthurst, ‘Does Andrew want an interview?’ I was keen to talk to her directly but this was out of the question. So I interviewed her by proxy, giving my questions to Colthurst, who then conducted six taped interviews with her at Kensington Palace.”
Andrew said Diana passed him a series of letters and postcards from Camilla to Prince Charles, which he described as “passionate, loving and full of suppressed longing”.
He added: “They left absolutely no doubt that Diana’s suspicions were correct.”
But he stressed while she “raged” about her husband’s cheating, she hid the fact that she’d “enjoyed a long love affair with Major James Hewitt from 1986 to 1991”, as well as a brief fling in 1989 with her old friend James Gilbey.
Andrew reflected: “Looking back, Diana’s audacity was breathtaking. One is left wondering if she wanted to get her side of the story published first, so she would escape blame for the failure of the marriage.”
His book was banned by numerous bookstores and supermarkets, despite telling the truth about Diana’s eating disorder and battles with suicidal thoughts and anxiety.
He said: “Ironically, a biography written and produced with Diana’s enthusiastic co-operation was being piously boycotted on the suspicion that it was a pack of lies.
“But it soon became apparent that the book really was Diana’s true story — and the princess quickly began to receive the kind of support that always meant so much to her. Letters came flooding in, many from people who had suffered with eating disorders themselves.
“She never regretted the taping sessions. And in the last five years of her life, the world witnessed the flowering of her humanitarian spirit.”