Princess Diana’s former chief of staff has slammed former courtiers of King Charles for spreading lies that she was mentally ill.
Patrick Jephson, who worked closely with Diana for eight years, alleges Charles’ staff smeared his first wife in a ‘systematic campaign’ – despite it being an open secret within the ‘establishment’ that he was having an affair with longtime mistress Camilla Parker Bowles.
Jephson said: “It wasn’t just the occasional gossip, it was a systematic campaign. Okay, that was a long time ago, but…the man they were supporting is now our king and these things shouldn’t be buried, they shouldn’t be conveniently pushed aside.
“They happened, in theory they could happen again, and they certainly shouldn’t go uncensored.”
Jephson, 66, speaks on ‘The Scandal Mongers’ podcast with Phil Craig, which will stream on Spotify next week.
Asked about a now common perception that Diana, who died aged just 36 in a tragic car accident in Paris in August 1997, was “a bit crazy” and “probably impossible”, Jephson replied: “I’m very frustrated. This became 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’s the answer you would get; that it was a tragic story and that she was essentially mentally troubled, and the implication being that she was not entirely up to the job, which she essentially failed at.
Referring to new Queen Consort Camilla, he said: “And the unspoken addition is that everything is fine now because we have her replacement, who is wonderfully down to earth and grounded and not at all flaky or paranoid. “
Jephson added, “When I hear people toeing that line, when I see it unchallenged, I think, well, wait a minute. I knew Princess Diana probably better than almost anyone – certainly professionally – and she was one of the most sane people I’ve ever met.
“Given the life she lived, given the pressures she was under, she was not only sane, she had a kind of ability to restore sanity in crazy situations.
“As an eyewitness, she could be a little difficult at times, but she was always extremely aware, sane, grounded and funny.”
Jephson, who quit Diana’s job in January 1996, admitted there had been a change in Diana’s personality following her split from Charles, now 74, who took the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September. He said: “She went from being, as far as the world is concerned, a happily married wife and mother to an abandoned ex-wife…that’s a hell of a change in anyone’s book.”
Looking at her closely, Jephson said he was more qualified than most to offer an opinion on Diana’s mental health during this time, adding that she had turned things to her advantage “once he was became apparent that her detractors were trying to smear her with allegations of mental instability.”
“She said, ‘Yes, I have an eating disorder,’ for example, and she gave a speech about eating disorders. I can’t think of a better definition of mental health than [to] ask people to accuse you of being nuts, and to stand up and make a speech about the condition you have,” and explain how it “affects a lot of people, especially young women. I think it’s a sign of extraordinary strength and shows the essential pettiness of her accuser,” Jephson added.
He said the stories about his mental health were spread “basically, by men, about a married woman with the intention of helping another man.
“It was also no wonder Diana turned to Andrew Morton to tell her story in a book – and no wonder she fell for Martin Bashir’s lies,” he said.
Bashir, a now disgraced BBC journalist, made a series of claims that the royal machine was ‘to get Diana’ in order to secure his now famous interview with the princess. He also ordered fake bank statements that allegedly showed how payments were made to Jephson’s account by intelligence services monitoring Diana’s movements.
In May, the BBC paid Jephson “substantial damages” and issued an “unreserved apology” for the 1995 interview.
He said Diana could not be blamed for giving Bashir ‘credit’, adding: ‘There was plenty of evidence that people were inquiring against her, they were tapping her phone, they were hostile to her at all respectful and determined to clip her wings as a princess.There were also reasonable grounds to believe that her ties to her children might be threatened during the divorce negotiations.
“Bashir knew what he was doing, it undermined her confidence in her ability to make decisions that she could trust, in these circumstances, to act with caution. If she believed what he was telling her, it was a perfectly reasonable response to do what she did.
Buckingham Palace has so far not responded to the Post’s request for comment.
Diana turned to Morton to write the book: “Diana: Her True Story”, when she learned that “her marriage was dead, her husband was pursuing a very effective and successful long-term relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. She also sadly knew that his own attempts at extramarital bliss were rather useless.
He added: “She was also far too aware that no one was calling the prince to account for his conduct, no one in his family was calling him to account. They seemed to be complicit in what for her was a betrayal. The establishment was complicit, the affair with Camilla was well known in establishment circles and all they did was talk about Diana behind her back, whispering about her.
“Nobody offered her support, nobody took her aside and said ‘now look, this is all very unfortunate, but it happens in every family, but you’re going to get through this and we’re going to support you. . ‘does a great job and we want you to do more – but no.
“She was left isolated, she didn’t recognize the situation she was in, the stress she was under, the challenges she faced every day raising her children in these circumstances, and she had to prepare them for a life of service. And she thought, ‘How am I going to make myself understood?’ »
Still, Diana was “very, very good at her job,” Jephson said, and “not dumb,” adding, “A lot of people underestimated her at their expense.”
Even the UK’s ambassador to Moscow wanted Diana to visit, saying she would attract senior Kremlin officials who wouldn’t go out for anyone else, Jephson said.
“Unfortunately, instead of embracing Diana as a fabulous asset, as someone who could be an essential part of the modern royal family, they instead chose to mistrust her, resent her, undermine her and to not like it,” Jephson added. .
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