I have a lil’ theory about the British media’s water-carrying for King Charles in regard to his campaign against The Crown. My theory is that there are a significant number of people in the British media who have been sharpening their knives and looking for a way to begin attacking Charles, and they thought “critiquing The Crown” would be their vehicle to do so. The fact that The Crown’s Season 5 was a somewhat flattering portrait of Charles has bummed them out, but they’ve still used the coverage to remind people about Charles’s despicable behavior, and how he treated Diana in particular. So it’s unsurprising to hear that Princess Diana’s former chief of staff – her longtime private secretary Patrick Jephson – spoke to The Scandal Mongers podcast and got into some nitty-gritty stuff about Charles’s gaslighting and smear campaign against Diana. Some highlights:
On Charles’s campaign to paint Diana as unstable & unwell: “This is not just some casual gossip, it was a systematic campaign. Okay, it was a long time ago, but … the man they were supporting is now our king and these things should not be buried, they should not be conveniently pushed to one side. They happened, in theory they could happen again, and certainly they shouldn’t pass without censure.”
On the official line that Diana was “a bit crazy”: “I get very frustrated. That has become the official line. If you ask people close to the current royal establishment — if you dare bring up the subject of Princess Diana, which very few people would — then I think that is the answer you would get; that it was a tragic story and that she was essentially troubled mentally, and the implication being that she was not entirely up the job, which essentially then she failed at.” Referring to the new Queen Consort Camilla, he said: “And the unspoken addition is that everything is alright now because we have her replacement, who is wonderfully down-to-earth and grounded and not at all flakey or paranoid.
The real Diana was perfectly sane: “When I hear people follow this line, when I see it not being challenged, I think, well, wait a minute. I knew Princess Diana probably better than almost anybody — certainly professionally — and she was one of the most sane people I ever met. Considering the life she lived, considering the pressures she was under, she wasn’t just sane, she had a kind of ability to restore sanity to crazy situations. As an eye witness, she could be a bit of a handful sometimes, but she was always extremely aware, sane, grounded, and funny.”
Diana would turn those accusations to her advantage: “Once it became apparent her critics were trying to smear her with allegations of mental instability. She said ‘Yes, I do have an eating disorder,’ for example, and she gave a speech about eating disorders. I can’t think of a better definition of sanity than [to] have people accuse you of being nuts, and stand up and make a speech about the condition that you do have,” and explain how it “affects a lot of people, particularly young women. I think that is a sign of extraordinary strength and shows the essential pettiness of her accuser,” Jephson added. He said the stories about her mental health were spread “by and large, by men, about a woman in a marriage with the intention to help another man.”
Diana wanted to tell her story & people really were after her: “It was also no wonder that Diana turned to Andrew Morton to tell her story in a book —and no wonder that she fell for Martin Bashir’s lies… There was plenty of evidence that people were briefing against her, they were tapping her phone, they were hostile to her in many ways and determined to clip her wings as a princess. There were reasonable grounds also to think that her connection to her children might be at risk during the divorce negotiations. Bashir knew what he was doing, he undermined her confidence in her ability to form decisions that she could have confidence in, in those circumstances, to act in a cautious way. If she believed what he told her, it was a perfectly reasonable response to do what she did.”
Diana wanted someone to call Charles to account: “She was also far too aware that nobody was calling the prince to account for his conduct, nobody in his family was calling him to account. They seemed to be complicit in what to her was a betrayal. The establishment was complicit, the affair with Camilla was well known in establishment circles and all they did was to talk about Diana behind her back, to whisper about her. Nobody offered her support, nobody took her to one side and said ‘now look this is all very unfortunate, but it happens in all families, but but you’re going to get through it and we’re going to support you and you’re doing a great job and we want you to do more of it — but no. She was left isolated, she was left with no acknowledgment of the situation she was in, the stress she was under, the challenges she faced every day to raise her children in these circumstances, plus she had to prepare them for a life of service. And she thought, ‘How am I going to get my side of this out?’”
No one understood what an asset Diana was: “Unfortunately, instead of embracing Diana as a fabulous asset, as somebody who could be an essential part of the modern royal family, they chose instead to be suspicious of her, to resent her, to undermine her and to dislike her.”
[From Page Six]
“They happened, in theory they could happen again, and certainly they shouldn’t pass without censure.” It’s literally happening again because the same people are running the exact same play against Diana’s younger son and his wife. The same establishment has tried to convince everyone that Prince Harry is weak, unstable, mentally ill, and that’s why he was attracted to Meghan. Let’s not forget that when Meghan was truly suicidal – after they did everything they could to make her so – they refused to get her help.
As for Jephson’s pointed comments about Charles’s campaign against Diana and how desperate she was to be heard and acknowledged… again, that’s what people thought The Crown would be this season. They were expecting Peter Morgan to get into Charles’s very real smear campaign against Diana and how poorly he treated her overall. The fact that Morgan largely ignored or soft-pedaled that part of that story is narrative malpractice!
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.
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