‘The Crown’ Season 5: Princess Diana Really Did Participate in Andrew Morton’s Biography

The Crown Season 5 has arrived on Netflix, and with it, a whole lot of drama. From rumors of a romance between Prince Philip and a family friend to reports that Prince Charles tried to encourage the Queen to abdicate, there’s a lot to dissect in the new season. After season 4 revealed the private struggles Diana and Charles suffered at the outset of their marriage, the new season focuses on the 1990s, when the royal pair publicly separated and divorced. And now fans are curious about the rumored tell-all biography that Princess Diana herself helped write.

Princess Diana tapes as depicted in ‘The Crown’ Season 5

the crown season 5
Elizabeth Debecki in ‘The Crown’ Season 5 | Netflix

In episode two of The Crown Season 5, Elizabeth Debicki’s character, the former Princess of Wales, covertly records audio tapes for Andrew Morton, a journalist preparing a biography of Diana. The tapes reveal intimate information about Diana’s time as a royal, her experiences with bulimia and depression, and her failing marriage to Prince Charles.

As the episode progresses, the royal family steps in as reports surface that Princess Diana is involved in the project. A tense scene unfolds as Prince Philip confronts his daughter-in-law and gives her a stern talking to.

Did Princess Diana actually record secret tapes for Andrew Morton’s book?

Princess Diana did, in fact, take part in Andrew Morton’s biography. Morton has repeatedly discussed Diana’s role in his book, which he attributes to the friendship he cultivated with one of the royal’s closest friends.

An experienced royal correspondent, Morton was already working on a book about Princess Diana, as hinted at in The Crown. Slowly but surely, he got to know Diana’s acquaintance Colthurst with the hopes of using him as a source (via Ms Mojo). 

Having been satisfied with Morton’s earlier works, Diana began providing Colthurst with bits of information to pass along to Morton, such as the dismissal of Prince Charles’ private secretary. Morton subsequently crafted an article out of that for The Sunday Times.

Next, Diana started thinking big. She felt compelled to share the details of her life with the world, including the suffering she had experienced and the goals she had worked toward. A book written by an established author would serve the Princess’ purpose well.

A key hurdle, though, was figuring out how to actually conduct the interviews. Speaking to The Daily Mail about how he managed to get the Princess of Wales involved in writing the biography, Morton said, “I was keen to talk to the Princess directly, but this was simply out of the question. At 6ft 4″ tall and as a writer known to Palace staff, I’d hardly be inconspicuous.”

As a result, Colthurst consented to interview Diana using questions drafted by Morton, tape her responses, and return the tape to Morton.

What were the biggest revelations in Andrew Morton’s book?

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Princess Diana’s involvement with Morton’s book began with her desire to convey the realities of her life as a royal to the public. While her life seemed like a fairy tale come true to the outside world, behind palace walls, she was very miserable. So what are the most surprising things that came out in Diana: Her True Story?

Diana said that when she joined the royal family, everyone in the palace ignored her, and she didn’t get any formal training in royal protocol. The Princess also revealed that she had attempted suicide several times. 

According to Morton, Diana was trying desperately to fit in with her new family and status, while also dealing with the debilitating effects of morning sickness and the lingering ghost of Camilla Parker Bowles.

The then-Princess of Wales disclosed that she had an eating disorder (bulimia) as well, which didn’t make life any easier. Morton claims that, on average, the Princess would intentionally make herself sick four or five times every day. She was also very forthright about Charles’ affair with Camilla.