Oh, what a disgusting feeling from Deja Vu.
Reading the revelations about Harry and Meghan in Finding Freedom in the past few days made me all too scary of Andrew Morton's book Diana: Her True Story. It was as explosive as this book – and proved to be profoundly harmful.
Almost 28 years later, the parallels between Diana and now the Sussex are worryingly close.
Yesterday, in the latest installment of stunning details, we learned that while filming her legal TV drama Suits in Toronto, Meghan "occasionally took a paparazzi photo here and there or shared information with the press."
So much for the jealous protection of privacy! Diana did exactly the same thing.
Penny Junor warns "the parallels between Diana and now the Sussexes (above) are alarmingly close"
She often shared stories with favorite journalists – often to put her husband Charles in a bad light.
But if you dine with the devil, you need a very long spoon, and there were times when this cozy relationship with the Fourth Stand spectacularly fell back on her – when the press wrote unflattering things about her.
Diana, like Meghan, was delighted to read her own positive reporting – but found any criticism extremely difficult to swallow.
The first episode of Diana: Her true story appeared in a Sunday newspaper, and I remember the headline: "Diana was" carelessly "driven to five suicide bids by Charles."
Morton described in great detail the disillusioned and desperately unhappy life of the princess within the royal family.
He wrote about her childhood as she met the Prince of Wales, the preparations for the couple's engagement and marriage, her struggles with bulimia, her self-harm, the lack of support she felt, Charles & # 39; later indifference to her , his obsession with his lover Camilla Parker Bowles and what Diana considered his shortcomings as a father.
Prince Harry, pictured as a child with his mother Princess Diana in 1987, is the subject of a new book, Finding Freedom, with his wife Meghan Markle
Their advertisements had been alarmingly short – like another recent royal romance. When the media found out, they besieged Diana's London apartment and followed her wherever she went.
No wonder William should have told his brother to "take as much time as he needed" to get to know Meghan.
He and Kate had taken eight years to get engaged: Harry hadn't known Meghan for so long.
The Morton book caused immeasurable harm to the monarchy, the queen, and other family members, eventually leading to the end of Diana and Charles' marriage.
But the people who were most hurt by this book were William and Harry, whose young lives were already affected by the unfortunate unification of their parents and who then had to go through the very public humiliation of their separation and life, possibly divorce.
Morton's book had the ring of authority. He had quotes from some of Diana's closest friends, such as James Gilbey of "Squidgygate" tape fame and Diana's former roommate Caroline Bartholomew.
Sir Robert Fellowes, then both the Queen's private secretary and Diana's brother-in-law, asked the princess if she had anything to do with the book. She swore she hadn't. The Duke of Edinburgh asked her the same question and she denied it again.
Because of her word – although we now know that she was not telling the truth – the chairman of the then Press Complaints Commission condemned serialization as "a hideous exhibition of journalists who put their fingers in the stuff of other people's souls".
So much to try. The PCC chair and others who had spoken in a similar manner, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, soon looked very silly when Diana was photographed when she went to Caroline Bartholomew's house (after alarming the newspapers) and approved the book by giving her old friend a big hug at the front door.
It was only after her death five years later that Morton revealed how committed the princess had been.
She had spoken into a tape recorder and the tapes had been given to Morton through an intermediary.
There were a total of 18,000 words, many of which appeared almost literally in the book. Where's that left us today?
Finding Freedom is already the bestseller from Amazon UK
And who are the sources for Finding Freedom that provide their authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand with equally generous long, detailed and emotional quotes?
There are said to be more than 100 such sources, including "close friends of Harry and Meghan, royal aides and palace staff".
Last weekend, Mr. Scobie denied that any briefings from the Duke or Duchess had taken place.
For their part, the Sussex people have declared that it is not an “authorized or recommended book”. We have to accept these claims at face value; It is noteworthy, however, that even the Sunday Times, which published excerpts at the weekend, reported that "the intimate personal data and part of the language could cause people to question the allegation" that Mr. Scobie and Ms. Durand have not interviewed the Duke and Duchess.
My point is that Diana has found a way to tell “her true story” as flattering as possible.
Finding freedom does almost the same thing for Harry and Meghan. When a relationship breaks down, however, there are always two – if not more – sides of the story.
Then Diana was angry and started to harm the Prince of Wales and the family. And now, a generation later, Harry and Meghan are all too annoyed by how much their own relationship with the royal family has deteriorated.
As we have read, they felt compelled to give the "back seat" to high-ranking kings. They believed that they had brought the monarchy's institution to "new heights" and were convinced that "vipers" were working against them in the palace.
They even suggested that they be held back so as not to outshine senior family members.
Sure enough, just like in 1992, there is an exciting volume in which unnamed "friends" of the couple push Harry and Meghan's case forward – and explain their complaints – so that the whole world can see him.
If one thing seemed certain to see William and Harry grow up, it was that they had learned from their parents' mistakes.
The media and their audience had affected the catastrophic lives of Charles and Diana – maybe too much.
Diana had used the media to relay her affair and, too late, found that she couldn't control it.
Only her tragic death ended the worst coverage of her. When they reached adulthood, perhaps marked by some of these experiences, William and Harry seemed determined to separate their private and public lives as much as possible.
They seemed ready to pounce on a cross-brand publication and were not afraid to instruct lawyers, which the royal family had rarely done in the past.
They seemed to set new boundaries to protect their friends and families – and who could blame them after everything they'd been through?
But based on the evidence for this misguided new book, Harry doesn't seem to have learned anything.
He is impetuous like his mother and doesn't always think.
Meghan, it seems, was not afraid to tell the media stories and use the paparazzi if she liked.
No wonder so many people claim that this book has all the features of their arrangement – tacitly or not.
In any case, for a couple who claims to want a private life, this book has given the world better insight into their personal situation and relationship with Harry's family than anyone else could have known.
Just like Diana did all those years ago. The story seems to be repeating itself.
After seeing it for the first time, I'm just sad.
Penny Junor is the author of Prince Harry: brother, soldier, son, husband.
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