A new podcast has shed light on the war of words which raged between Princess Diana and King Charles in the early 90s.
Patrick Jephson, who was the late royal’s press secretary from 1988 to 1996, claimed in the new podcast The Scandal Mongers, hosted by royal authors Phil Craig and Andrew Lownie, that sources close to the King orchestrated a ‘systematic’ smear campaign against his estranged wife, which made her life ‘hell.’
He added that he was frustrated by the fact it has now become ‘accepted’ that Diana struggled mentally, and said she in fact showcased ‘extraordinary strength’ under the pressure of royal life and media attention.
Meanwhile, Phil Craig, who wrote Diana: Story of a Princess, said that these briefings have had a lasting impact on the legacy of the King’s first wife, and added they were the ‘nastiest’ aspect of the War of the Wales.
Patrick Jephson, who was the late royal’s press secretary from 1988 to 1996, claimed in the new podcast The Scandal Mongers , hosted by royal authors Phil Craig and Andrew Lownie, that sources close to the King orchestrated a ‘systematic’ smear campaign against his estranged wife, which made her life ‘hell.’ Pictured in 1989
Jephson and Diana in 1996. The royal expert added that Diana knew that Charles’ friends were feeding negative stories about her to the press
The former press secretary, picttured, added that he was frustrated by the fact it has now become ‘accepted’ that Diana struggled mentally, and said she in fact showcased ‘extraordinary strength’ under the pressure of royal life and media attention
Jephson claimed that this campaign of disinformation went beyond ‘casual gossip’ and was a ‘systemic campaign, Page Six reported.
He said he was ‘very frustrated,’ by the allegations that Diana was ‘a bit crazy’ had ‘become the official line.’
He added: ‘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.’
He added that Diana, who died aged 36 on August 31 1997, was aware that her ex-husband’s camp effort to discredit her in the press, and would use it to her advantage.
Diana, pictured in Saudi Arabia in 1996, used smear campaigns that were spread against her to her advantage
He said that she brought up her history of eating disorders in her speeches at a charity event to turn the table on her critics.
He added that those spreading the rumours were majorly men who had the intention to defend another man by attacking a woman, and that the Princess Diana he worked with for eight years was sane of mind, funny and grounded.
Speaking in another episode, Phil Craig said he feels the briefings were the ‘nastiest part’ of the story of Diana and the King’s marriage.
He recounted how Patrick Jephson set up a meeting between Diana and Jonathan Dimbleby, who at the time was gearing up to interview the King for a programme which was eventually released in 1994.
Princess Diana pictured on October 5, 1989 was described by her former press secretary as ‘charming, funny and eloquent’
Craig said: ‘Diana is absolutely at her best: she’s charming, she’s funny, she’s slightly flirtatious, she’s absolutely on top of her brief, she’s talking very eloquently about politics, and about world leaders.’
He added that Dimbleby and Patrick Jephson sat down to talk after the interview, and that the Australian broadcaster told the royal secretary: ‘If I can’t believe what I have been told about Diana, I can’t believe any of it.’
‘I wonder if it’s what made Jonathan pull back from his original plan, which was to get into the mental health stuff,’ he added.
The expert added that Diana was ‘hardened’ by the King’s infidelities and the fact that staff would lie to her about his whereabouts.
Phil said he thinks it is ‘appropriate to say that Prince Charles’ gaslit Diana.’
However, the added that the late royal also exaggerated several aspects of her life in a ‘drive for sympathy.’
‘She created this new picture which people bought into, which really wasn’t what happened,’ he said.
‘I do wonder why later on in her life she sort of exaggerated the pain of her own childhood and adolescence.
‘All I can think of is that by the, she was perhaps playing for sympathy,’ he added.
‘She went too far in Morton’s book and she exaggerates too much,’ he added, referencing the Diana in Her Own Words, by Andrew Morton, which was released in 1992.
Phil said Diana lied about throwing herself down the stairs, a claim she made in the explosive book.
He said he spoke to people who had witnessed the event, and that Diana slipped down a few steps during a row with Charles while she was pregnant with Prince William, but that Charles called the doctor immediately.