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Princess Diana’s former aide says Harry and Meghan’s royal rift echoes past ahead of Oprah interview

Natasha Preskey
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s former private secretary has spoken about Meghan and Harry’s rift with the royal family, ahead of their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Speaking about the upcoming interview, Patrick Jephson said that he saw echoes of Diana in Harry and Meghan’s situation.

Diana became estranged from the royal family after splitting from Prince Charles, and spoke to Martin Bashir for the BBC’s Panorama programme in 1995.

“Thirty years ago we were in a comparable situation where rifts were opening up within the royal family and it was starting to escalate,” Jephson said in an interview with CNN.

Harry and Meghan Oprah interview live: Latest news and updates

“There were a lot of unhappy people involved then, I’m quite sure there are a lot of unhappy people involved now.”

Jephson said he believed those involved in the rift between Harry and Meghan and the royals were “really hurting”.

“First and foremost, we should understand that this is a family rift,” he said.

“It has taken on a lot of the trappings of a big media PR story, but at the heart of this are real people really hurting and I hope that somewhere in the midst of the current back and forth somebody is putting down the seeds for eventual reconciliation, which has to come.”

Jephson, formerly Diana’s chief of staff, said that tell-all interviews like Harry and Meghan’s can backfire.

“The precedence for royal interviews of this kind are not very encouraging,” he said.

“Both Prince Charles and Princess Diana and more recently Prince Andrew have tried to put their sides of the story on TV through these sorts of interviews and in all cases, it has backfired.”

When it comes to healing relationships in the royal family, Jephson said this is the responsibility of “senior palace management”.

“I hope that it will be intervention from all well-intentioned people to help Harry and Meghan settle in their new lives and help heal the wounds that arose through the way they departed,” he said.

Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah, which airs on Sunday 7 March in the US and 8 March in the UK, will mark almost a year since the couple stepped back from the royal family on 31 March 2020.

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