Paul Burrell, 62, said Diana chose to give her own 1995 bombshell interview to a ‘heavyweight news progamme’, rather than Oprah’s ‘commercial’ US television show because she wanted to be more ‘in control’ of her narrative.
Appearing on Lorraine today, Paul recalled Oprah, 67, approaching Diana ahead of her explosive Panorama interview and said the chat show host has finally ‘got the interview she wanted’.
He predicted that the Princess of Wales would have guided Meghan through life in the Firm, advising the Duke and Duchess of Sussex not to go down the ‘commercial route’ and to ‘be in control of their own destiny’.
Princess Diana’s former butler has called Oprah Winfrey a ‘very clever business woman’ after bagging a tell-all interview with Harry and Meghan after the Princess of Wales turned her down
Diana gave her own bombshell interview in 1995 (pictured) to BBC’s Panorama because she because she wanted to be more ‘in control’ of her narrative than she would be on a ‘commercial’ US show
‘She would have been the person there to help because she had the experience’, said Paul of Diana. ‘And of course Oprah did come to Kensington Palace and tried to court the Princess before her panorama interview.
‘She said to the princess “I want to be the first person to interview you”. But Diana said afterwards, “I couldn’t do that because I wouldn’t be in control of it, that is commercial television in the Unites States. I want to give it to a serious news programme which is heavyweight and will make my words more relevant”.
‘The princess would have discussed all of this with them, the young people and said “Do you really want to go down this commercial route? It really is a minefield, control it. Be in control of your own destiny”.
‘Oprah is a very clever business woman and she got the interview she wanted, she didn’t get it with Harry’s mother but she got it with Harry.’
Appearing on Lorraine, Paul recalled Oprah approaching Diana ahead of her explosive Panorama interview and said the chat show host has finally ‘got the interview she wanted’
He believes that the couple have ‘crossed the bridge’ from royalty to celebrity, but urged the pair to ‘get on with their life’ and ‘continue the work Diana started’ following the interview.
‘Harry and Meghan have crossed that bridge from royalty to celebrity and they are now celebrities,’ he said. ‘There are very few ways back over that bridge.
‘He said his brother and father are trapped in the institution of monarchy, that is their destiny, that is their path. Harry always knew his brother had a different path to him Harry had to find his own road map and that’s what he’s doing now.
‘I wish him all the luck in the world, I want them to succeed and continue the work Diana started, they have the world at their feet, go now and do what you have to do. Get on with the job and get on with your life. ‘
During the couple’s highly-anticipated two-hour interview, Meghan hailed her ‘happy ending’ with Prince Harry and Archie now the family are in California – calling their escape from the UK ‘better than any fairy tale’.
During the couple’s highly-anticipated two-hour interview, Meghan hailed her ‘happy ending’ with Prince Harry and Archie now the family are in California – calling their escape from the UK ‘better than any fairy tale’
But it their joy followed hardship, with Meghan revealing during the interview she was suicidal when she was pregnant and had warned Harry ‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are ‘thriving’ in the US after having ‘been through a lot’ during their time as senior royals.
The main bombshells from the Oprah interview
– Meghan’s mental health
The Duchess of Sussex revealed she had suicidal thoughts and said: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive any more.’
She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.
The duchess said: ‘I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.’
– Baby Sussex is a girl
Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl.
The duke joined his wife in the second half of the interview, and told the chat show host: ‘It’s a girl.’
He said his first thought was ‘amazing’ when he discovered they were having a girl, adding: ‘Just grateful. To have any child, any one or any two, would have been amazing.
‘But to have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for? Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.’
Asked if they were ‘done’ with two children, Harry said ‘done’ and Meghan said: ‘Two is it.’
She also confirmed the baby is due in the ‘summertime’.
– Royal family accused of racism
Meghan said, when she was pregnant with Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family raised ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.
Asked whether there were concerns that her child would be ‘too brown’ and that would be a problem, Meghan said: ‘If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.’
Pushed by Winfrey on who had those conversations, Meghan refused to say, adding: ‘I think that would be very damaging to them.’
She added: ‘That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him, and I think it was really hard to be able to see those as compartmentalised conversations.’
– Archie’s title
Meghan suggested she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected.
The duchess expressed her shock at ‘the idea of our son not being safe’, and the idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.
Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.
As the first born son of a duke, Archie could have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, instead at the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
– The Prince of Wales
The Duke of Sussex said his father the Prince of Wales stopped taking his calls while Harry and Meghan were in Canada ‘because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family’.
He said Charles wanted him to put his plans in writing.
– The Queen
Harry denied that he had ‘blindsided’ his grandmother Queen with the bombshell statement about stepping down as senior royal.
The duke said he believed the report probably could have come from ‘within the institution’.
– The Duchess of Cambridge
Meghan said Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding.
Reports circulated ahead of the Sussexes’ nuptials that Meghan left Kate in tears at Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting.
But Meghan told Winfrey the ‘reverse happened’.
Meghan said she was not sharing the information to be ‘disparaging’, but added it was ‘really important for people to understand the truth’.
‘She’s a good person,’ the duchess added.
Meghan hit nerves across the world in 2019 when she said ‘it is not enough to just survive something’ and instead ‘you’ve got to thrive and feel happy’ when speaking about her struggles with life in the Firm.
And now, the duchess said she, Harry and Archie are ‘on the other side’ and circled back to her earlier comments, triumphantly declaring ‘we’ve actually not just survived but are thriving’.
But it their joy followed hardship, with Meghan revealing she was suicidal when she was pregnant and had warned Harry ‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’.
Harry also revealed that his father Prince Charles stopped taking his calls after they decided to quit while his wife said an unnamed member of Harry’s family was ‘worried’ about how ‘dark’ their son Archie’s skin would be when he was born.
But Meghan said: ‘Now, because we’re actually on the other side, we’ve actually not just survived but are thriving.
The Duchess of Sussex also used the interview to liken herself to Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a princess who loses her voice when she marries a prince.
While standing in the family’s chicken coop, Meghan told Oprah: ‘I was sitting in Nottingham cottage, and The Little Mermaid came on.
‘Now, who as an adult really watches The Little Mermaid? But it came on, and I was like, “Well, I’m just here all the time, so I may as well watch this.”
‘And I went, “Oh, my god! She falls in love with the prince, and because of that, she has to lose her voice.”
‘But by the end, she gets her voice back.’
Oprah said: ‘And this is what happened here. You feel like you got your voice back’, to which Meghan replied: ‘Yeah.’
The Sussexes also used the interview to reveal they were already planning ‘Megxit’ just six months after they married in May 2018.
Describing how she considered ending her life believing it ‘was better for everyone’, Meghan said: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.
‘And I remember – I remember how he just cradled me. I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help.
‘I said that “I’ve never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere.”
‘And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution’.
She added: ‘I don’t want to put more on my husband’s shoulders. He’s carrying the weight of the world. I don’t want to bring that to him’.
The Duke of Sussex also said his family had ‘cut him off’ financially in early 2020, claiming that they had to sign multi-million dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify because he was relying on spending his inheritance from Princess Diana.
In the biggest royal interview for decades, Meghan claims Harry’s family were worried about how ‘dark’ their son’s skin would be. Harry also accused the family of failing to ‘show support’ for his wife when she suffered racism, and said he was ‘trapped’ in the Royal Family until he met Meghan.
He said: ‘My father and brother. They’re both trapped. They don’t get to leave’. He added that his mother Diana would be ‘angry and sad’ that he felt he had to leave the royal family, but ‘she saw it coming’. Harry said: ‘All she’d ever want for us is to be happy’.
Asked about his relationship with Prince Charles, Harry said they were now speaking, adding: ‘There’s a lot to work through there, you know? I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson. I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship’.
Harry also said the couple left because of the media in Britain and because of a ‘lack of support and lack of understanding’ from his family, and revealed that his father refused to speak to him after they left for Vancouver. And in a sign that his relationship with his brother William is strained, claiming he ‘didn’t have anyone to turn to’ and was ‘ashamed’ to admit his wife struggling.
He said: ‘I love William to bits. He’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together. I mean, we have a shared experience. But we’re on different paths’. Harry added: ‘My family literally cut me off financially. Members of my family were suggesting that she [Meghan] carries on acting, because there was not enough money to pay for her. There was some real obvious signs before we even got married that this was going to be really hard’.
Meghan also revealed that Kate Middleton made her cry before she married Harry in a row over flowergirls’ dresses, and claims she called the Queen when she heard Prince Philip was admitted to hospital almost three weeks ago.
In the sensational interview she also accused the Royal Family of having ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ Archie’s skin would be before he was born because she is mixed-race and Harry is white.
The Duchess of Sussex also described her ‘pain’ that officials had denied him the title of prince and accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect their son Archie by denying him 24/7 security.
Meghan refused to say which royal had the conversation with Harry about Archie’s skin colour, claiming it would be ‘damaging’ to the person in her husband’s family who raised it.
When Oprah asked if she was denied the title because of he is mixed-race, Oprah asked if the palace had concerns Archie would be ‘too brown’, Meghan said: ‘In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we have in tandem, the conversation of ‘He won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title,’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.
Oprah then interrupted and said: ‘Hold on. Hold up. Stop right now. There’s a conversation… about how dark your baby is going to be?’ Meghan replied: ‘Potentially, and what that would mean or look like’.
‘And you’re not going to tell me who had the conversation?’, Oprah asked. To which Meghan replied: ‘I think that would be very damaging to them. That was relayed to me from Harry. Those were conversations that family had with him.’
Much of the two-hour show was about the Royal Family, but there was no mention of Meghan’s rift with her father and a brief mention of her mother Doria.
Meghan As Oprah wrapped up the interview the couple insisted that they had had a ‘happy ending’ by moving to LA, with Harry saying he had ‘no regrets’. But his wife added: ‘My regret is believing them [the Royal Family] when they said I’d be protected.’