How Princess Diana Helped Write Her Own Biography

In 1992, a new biography of Princess Diana created controversy with its uncensored look at her life inside the British royal family. Biographer Andrew Morton penned "Diana: Her True Story," which included many startling revelations about the "People's Princess." Some of the most stunning parts of the book deal with her mental health. Princess Diana reportedly made several suicide attempts in the 1980s (via the BBC). She also battled an eating disorder and was deeply unhappy about her husband's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (via People magazine).

Some wrote off these revelations as being drawn from rumors, but Morton defended the credibility of his book. "It is not hearsay. It is what the Princess of Wales has told her friends about what happened to her," Morton explained to the BBC. At the time of his book's publication, Princess Diana denied that she had any involvement in the project, and Morton claimed that he interviewed many people close to the princess, but he wouldn't reveal his sources. It was only after Princess Diana's death in 1997 that the truth about Morton's sources became public. The princess herself served as one of the leading sources of information for her own biography.

Princess Diana shared her side of the story

How Princess Diana participated in Morton's biography "Diana: Her True Story" sounds like something out of a spy novel. The pair never met in person, as all the royals at Buckingham Palace would have strongly objected to Diana giving away anything about what was happening inside the notoriously private family. Even though Diana had no idea what repercussions she would face from her husband, Prince Charles, or her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, she was driven to cooperate with Morton to get her side of the story out to the public. Diana made a series of tape recordings, in which she shared all her personal details and dilemmas (via People magazine). After she completed a tape, she relied on a friend, Dr. James Colthurst, to deliver it to Morton. Colthurst did this by bicycling from the princess' residence in Kensington Palace directly to Morton.

Morton said listening to the tapes was "like being transported into a parallel universe, the Princess talking about her unhappiness, her sense of betrayal, her suicide attempts and ... an eating disorder, and a woman called Camilla" (per People). According to The New York Times, Princess Diana was also involved in many other aspects of the biography, including providing family photographs and weighing in on the cover photo selection. She even read the manuscript and made her own edits and corrections. After Princess Diana's death, Morton published a new edition of her biography, which acknowledged her contributions to the book.