Princess Diana’s Biographer Shares Details Not Shown in ‘the Crown’



  • Princess Diana’s biographer, Andrew Morton, is featured in the fifth season of “The Crown.”
  • Morton and Diana worked together on her biography in secret through audio tape recordings.
  • Morton told Insider that the experience was more dramatic in real life. 

Princess Diana’s biographer, Andrew Morton, said the events that inspired the fifth season of “The Crown” were far more dramatic in real life.

Morton wrote the 1992 biography, “Diana: Her True Story,” which shared details of the princess’ unhappy marriage to Charles, his affair with Camilla, as well as Diana’s struggles with her mental health. 

Diana was secretly involved with the creation of the book, and in 1991 she sent audio tapes to Morton that had intimate details about her life for him to use. After she died in 1997, Morton released a revised version of the book, “Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words,” and for the first time admitted that the biography had been created with full cooperation from the princess.

Andrew Morton in 1992, shortly after the publication of his book, "Diana: Her True Story."

Andrew Morton in 1992 shortly after the publication of his book, “Diana: Her True Story.”

Tim Graham/Getty Images



In the latest season of “The Crown,” Diana’s involvement with Morton (played by Andrew Steele) is shown in the second episode. The episode shows Morton and Diana communicating through an intermediary, the princess’ close friend, James Colthurst, as the three of them work to keep Diana’s involvement secret.

Morton worked as a consultant for the fifth season of “The Crown,” and he recently penned another royal biography, “The Queen: Her Life,” which was published Tuesday.

Speaking with Insider, Morton shared what the series got right and wrong about the making of Diana’s biography that shook the monarchy.

Morton said his apartment was broken into, but the experience was more dramatic in real life

“The Crown” shows Morton’s apartment being broken into and Colthurst being knocked off his bike shortly after they start working on the book. Morton, Colthurst, and Diana worry about whether the incidents are related.

The episode also shows Diana feeling concerned for her privacy, as she fears somebody might be listening to her telephone conversations.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in "The Crown."

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in “The Crown.”

Netflix/The Crown



Morton told Insider that these events did happen, however, they were more dramatic in real life.

“Diana was very concerned about her safety… her rooms were swept for bugs, we paid for it,” Morton said. “So as far as any drama goes, it was accurate. It was authentic, and it could have been more dramatic.”

Morton said he stopped using his office telephone and would only use payphones because he shared Diana’s concerns about being listened to. 

Morton said he believed that Charles and Diana’s life was like a fairytale before writing the book

Morton said there were several things he experienced that didn’t make it to the show, including the moment he first listened to Diana’s audio recordings in 1991. 

“One of the things for me, as a human being, was when I first heard Diana talking in a working man’s cafe in North London… I listened, put the headphones on, and heard Diana talking about Camilla Parker Bowles, who I had never heard of,” Morton said.

Princess Diana and King Charles, then a prince, after their 1981 honeymoon.

Princess Diana and King Charles, then a prince, after their 1981 honeymoon.

Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty Images



Diana shared details about the love triangle she was in with Charles and Camilla. For example, she said that she felt jealousy when discovering Charles had brought two photos of Camilla and a pair of cuff links that Camilla had gifted him on their honeymoon. 

Morton told Insider that he couldn’t tell anyone he was working with Diana, with the exception of his publisher.

“It was a huge responsibility and I was very honored to be asked to do what I did. But with that responsibility, to make it authentic and accurate, was to give Diana her voice where she felt voiceless — she felt desperate inside the royal family,” Morton said.

“And that’s one of the things which took me a long time to understand because I, like everybody else, I had lived the fairytale. I just believed that Charles and Diana were married, had two kids, and lived happily ever after,” he added.

“You’ve got to come to terms with the difference between the myth, the fairytale, and the reality. And that’s what this book was about,” he said. 

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.



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