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The anniversary of Diana’s divorce is tomorrow and the anniversary of her tragic death is on Monday 31. The Princess of Wales’ deep unhappiness during her time married to Prince Charles was a huge contributing factor in the breakdown of their marriage. She suffered from depression and bulimia, and also felt betrayed and abandoned by her husband, who she knew was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
However, Diana also felt excluded by Palace courtiers, who she nicknamed the ‘grey suits’, who she felt thought she was “a non-starter”.
Royal biographer Richard Kay told True Royalty TV that in many ways Kensington Palace became a “prison” for Diana, symbolising everything that she found frustrating about being a princess.
He said: “She felt spied on, but the spying on was really for her own protection ‒ the security cameras you see all over the place.
“She felt that the police who guarded the Palace were constantly reporting on her movements, who her friends were, who came to see her.
“So it became a real difficulty for her, because she couldn’t really decide if she wanted to break free from that royal life and strike out and live outside the Palace or whether she needed the protection it afforded her.”
Similarly, Meghan and Harry felt like there were not many people they could trust inside the Palace, according to a new biography about the couple entitled ‘Finding Freedom’.
According to the book’s authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex called Palace courtiers “vipers”.
They also battled with the difficult decision about whether to cope with the strain of royal life or whether to strike out, and of course, in the end they decided to strike out.
The couple stepped down as senior royals at the end of March and moved with their son Archie to California.
Perhaps they felt they were able to do this because they were a couple instead of on their own, but also because they could take their son with them, whereas Diana would probably have had to leave William and Harry behind.
Indeed, Prince Philip once warned her that if she did not start behaving herself, she may find herself exiled without her children.
Like Diana, Meghan and Harry also felt like they were being spied on by courtiers, even believing that other royal households were leaking stories about them to the press, according to Finding Freedom.
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The authors claimed that courtiers from other households ‒ such as the Cambridges’ ‒ did what they could to reign in the popularity of Harry and Meghan, even as they were “propelling the monarchy to new heights around the world”.
Indeed, the Sussexes felt that William and Kate’s staff did whatever they could to maintain their bosses’ popularity, even if it meant “throwing Harry under the bus”.
What’s more, Meghan and Harry tried to bring their grievances to senior royals but felt their complaints were not taken seriously.
The book said: “There were just a handful of people working at the Palace they could trust.
“A friend of the couple referred to the old guard as ‘the vipers’.
“Meanwhile, a frustrated Palace staffer described the Sussexes’ team as ‘the squeaky third wheel’ of the Palace.”
Meghan and Harry also seem to take over from Diana in terms of their attitude towards royal protocol.
Darren McGrady, who was Diana’s personal chef, said both Diana and her son do things because they think it is right, not because it is the usual way of doing things.
He told the Daily Mail last year: “Harry is so like his mother.
“She was so, ‘This is what I’m going to do because it’s the right thing ‒ what do you mean it isn’t the official way ‒ not protocol?
“Harry is the same with Meghan, whereas William would be more, ‘What can we do here?’ and the advisers, or grey suits as Diana used to call them, would have advised him.
“But Harry is like his mum, instant reaction through emotion. The boys are so different like that.
“She always used to say, ‘William is deep like his dad and stubborn and Harry is a hothead like me: he does the first thing that comes into his head. They will look after the heir and I will look after the spare.’ She connected with Harry more.”
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