Diana denied “personally assisting” Andrew Morton with the writing of his explosive 1992 biography Diana: Her True Story, but she did allow her friends to speak to him, she said, to help set the record straight on her behalf while her life behind the scenes was spiraling.
“A lot of people saw the distress that my life was in, and they felt it was a supportive thing to help in the way that they did,” she told Bashir. The princess had thought that maybe a book would give people “a better understanding” of her. “Maybe there’s a lot of women out there who suffer on the same level but in a different environment, who are unable to stand up for themselves because their self-esteem is cut into two.”
She left out, however, that she submitted to interviews by proxy, Morton asking questions via her friend Dr. James Colthurst, who recorded her responses. Diana also gave Colthurst (who in turn showed them to Morton) a few pieces of private correspondence from Camilla to Charles, the author shared in the Mail on Sunday in 2017.
“However, due to Britain’s libel laws, I wasn’t at the time able to write that Prince Charles and Camilla were lovers, because it couldn’t be proved,” Morton recalled. “Instead, I had to allude to a ‘secret friendship.'”
Unlike with the BBC interview, Morton said, “She never regretted the taping sessions. As her friend filmmaker Lord Puttnam recalled: ‘She owned what she had done. She knew what she was doing and took a calculated risk, even though she was scared sh–less. But I never heard one word of regret, I promise you.'” (After she died, the book was republished as Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words.)
Still, Diana told Bashir, the book (which “shocked and horrified” the royal family) was certainly a turning point for her and Charles. “What had been hidden—or rather what we thought had been hidden—then became out in the open and was spoken about on a daily basis, and the pressure was for us to sort ourselves out in some way.”
The sorting out resulted in their separation being formally announced in December 1992, capping off the Queen’s “annus horribilis.”