Princess Diana was not ‘fully aware’ of the ‘machine’ she was in when she joined Royal Family and ‘didn’t have a big support team at the Palace’, close friend claims
- Dr James Colthurst first met Diana while she was on a ski trip in France aged 17
- As a student, he was asked to assess her twisted ankle and two became friends
- Claimed The Firm was ‘unaccustomed to having a superstar in its midst’
Princess Diana was not ‘fully aware’ of the ‘machine’ she was entering when she joined the Royal Family, a close friend has claimed.
Dr James Colthurst, then a medical student, first met Diana while she was on a skiing trip in Val Claret in France aged 17, when he was asked to assess her twisted ankle.
He went on to have a close friendship with Diana, who he described as being ‘fun,’ ‘bright’ and ‘mischievous,’ and was the go-between who ferried tapes of the late royal’s confessions to author Andrew Morton for his blockbusting book of revelations, Diana: Her True Story.
A few years after their meeting, a 20-year-old Diana tied the knot to Prince Charles and quickly became one of the most high profile women in the world.
Writing in The Telegraph, Dr Colthurst recalled seeing the pressure she faced and penned: ‘I felt, when she joined the Royal family, she may not have been fully aware of the machine she was in.
Princess of Wales visiting St. Thomas’ Hospital where she met her old friend Dr. James Colthurst (white coat) when she opened a new scanner unit
Pictured, Princess Diana with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry during a holiday with the Spanish royal family at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, August 1987
‘The Firm, for its part, was unaccustomed to having a superstar in its midst, and I don’t think they knew how to cope with the enormous amount of publicity she generated.’
He went on to say how he doesn’t believe anyone was ‘prepared’ for just how popular she would become in her own right – claiming there was ‘jealousy’ among Prince Charles’s team as her global fame continued to grow.
‘She didn’t have a big support team at the Palace herself: she was just trying to do her best,’ he claimed. ‘When she did what she thought was right, it was well received by the public but not always by the Firm.’
Dr James Colthurst also went on to discuss the difficulty of her marriage breakdown with Prince Charles playing out for the world to see.
Dr James Colthurst (pictured) was the go-between who ferried tapes of the late royal’s confessions to author Andrew Morton for his blockbusting book of revelations, Diana: Her True Story
The Duke of Cambridge (left) and Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales
During these ‘rocky years’, he claimed he would receive up to ten phone calls a day from the late Princess of Wales, adding that it was the ‘daunting’ number of patronages that she took on which helped keep her happy.
Dr Colthurst says that the late Princess of Wales appeared to be ‘happy’ in her final months and wasn’t in ‘too bad a place,’ having just enjoyed a summer break.
He recalled one of his last memories of his close friend, explaining how she laughed down the phone ‘almost uncontrollably after someone gifted her a rather unusual poem engraved on a silver tablet.
The comments come as Prince Harry, 36, was reunited with his brother Prince William, 39, at Kensington Palace on Thursday where together they unveiled a statue of their beloved late mother on what would have been her 60th birthday after a tumultuous 18 months for their own relationship.
The unveiling took place at a small family event attended by The Princess’ siblings: The Earl Spencer, The Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and The Lady Jane Fellowes, in addition to the Statue Committee, the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces, Rupert Gavin.
The statue of the late Princess of Wales aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people.
The figure is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work.
The portrait and style of dress was based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion.
Prince William and Prince Harry wanted the statue to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history.
PRINCESS DIANA’S DEATH IN PARIS
Diana arrived in Paris on 30 August 1997 with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed after spending nine days together on his father Mohammed Al-Fayed’s yacht in Sardinia.
They pair dined at the Ritz hotel, owned by Dodi’s father, and left after midnight to travel to an apartment in in Rue Arsène Houssaye, just off the Champs Elysees.
The Ritz’s deputy head of security Henri Paul was tasked with driving a black Mercedes away from the main entrance of the hotel on Place Vendôme to fool the waiting papparazzi, while Diana and Dodi exited via the rear entrance on Rue Cambon.
Trevor Rees-Jones of the Fayed family’s secturity team was driving the couple and took them into the Place de l’Alma underpass.
Photographers pursued them into the underpass and Paul, who was under the influence of alcohol and speeding, lost control of the Mercedes 280S while trying to outrun the press pack and careered into a support pillar.
Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed were killed instantly, but Diana was still alive and was removed from the wreckage
She suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital several hours later.
An inquest concluded that Diana’s death was ’caused, or contributed to, by the speed and manner of the driver of the Mercedes and the speed and manner of the following vehicles’.
The Flame of Liberty, a replica of part of the Statue of Liberty, which stands on the Place de l’Alma has become an unofficial monument to the Princess, and is still visited by royal fans who lay pictures and flowers beside it.
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