Royals ‘never forgave’ Princess Diana for ‘toxic’ and ‘wounding’ BBC interview

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The Royal Family “never forgave” Princess Diana for her notorious Panorama interview, her former aide has revealed.

Back in 1995, Diana told BBC journalist Martin Bashir that she had fallen in love with army officer James Hewitt.

She also sensationally claimed there were “three of us in this marriage”, referencing Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Patrick Jephson was private secretary for the former Princess of Wales from 1988 to 1996 – during which period she divorced Charles and was cast aside by the monarchy.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Jephson said he tried to move her “into the protective orbit of The Queen's organisation” after the interview.

The pair had just returned from a royal tour of Argentina and Diana appeared “unusually timid”.

Mr Jephson continued: “Although encouraging words were said about the possibility of Diana moving more closely under the wing of Buckingham Palace, the fallout from Panorama was too toxic and too wounding to be forgiven, let alone forgotten.

“Prince Charles's close friend Nicholas Soames spoke for many in the royal establishment when he pronounced on BBC Newsnight that the Princess was obviously in the 'advanced stages of paranoia'.

“The outburst reportedly earned him censure from the then prime minister, John Major, but was an accurate reflection of how an exasperated old guard viewed Diana.

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“To them the Princess was a troubled spirit who had now, in their eyes, descended into dangerous fantasy.”

Within a month, The Queen had written to Charles and Diana and urged them to get a divorce.

Conservative Prime Minister John Major also held an hour-long meeting with Diana.

In January 1996, Mr Jephson handed in his resignation after the “disaster” – not wanting to fight “the Princess's corner in bare-knuckled legal battles” with Charles.

Royal historian Robert Lacey earlier claimed Prince William was devastated by the BBC interview in royal biography Battle of Brothers: William and Harry — the Friendship and the Feuds.

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The book, being serialised in the Daily Mail, reads: “When William's housemaster returned to his study, he found the prince slumped on the sofa, his eyes red with tears. And when Diana telephoned an hour later, William refused to speak to her.

“Two days later, the distraught princess told her faith-healer Simone Simmons what had happened. William had been 'so angry with her,' said Diana.

“He had broken out in one of the notorious rages that would, from time to time, scar his teenage years and young adult life.

“‘All hell broke loose. He was furious…that she had spoken badly of his father, that she had mentioned Hewitt…he started shouting and crying and, when she tried to put her arms around him, he shoved her away.'

“The next day, William apologised to his mother for his bad temper, and presented her with a bunch of flowers. But Diana felt some irretrievable damage had been done.”

  • Princess Diana
  • Royal Family

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