Closest friend reveals: ‘New secrets coming out could drive Meghan Markle & Prince Harry apart’

As it emerges that never-before seen footage of Princess Diana will be aired on Netflix next year, her former butler Paul Burrell tells Closer why he believes it will cause more tension for Meghan Markle and ‘torn’ Prince Harry

meghan markle prince harry

by Lily Smith |

The Royal family has faced continuing fallout since the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – dubbed the greatest upset for The Firm since the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

Now there’s more drama in store, as it’s emerged a new documentary about Diana is in the making – featuring hours of unheard and unseen footage.

It will be a sequel to the 2017 documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, and will reportedly feature audio and video tapes of Diana which were created to help Andrew Morton write his 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story.

princess diana
diana in 1995 ©Getty images

It’s due to air next year – the 25th anniversary of Diana’s tragic death – on Netflix, posing an awkward situation for Prince Harry as it’s the same streaming giant that he and wife Meghan partnered with last summer.

Diana’s infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir – seen by 23m viewers – unearthed shocking claims of Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and saw Diana reveal how isolated she felt during her marriage.

Now her former butler and close friend Paul Burrell tells Closer that the documentary will be uncomfortable for Harry, who’s already reportedly feeling “torn” over the ongoing rift with the royals.

paul burrell
paul has spoken to closer magazine ©Shutterstock

Paul, 62, says, “The new video tapes will no doubt be fascinating for viewers. They’re likely to be conversations with her voice coach, Peter Settelen, and the audio tapes she sent back and forth to her biographer, Andrew Morton. There’ll no doubt be more secrets unveiled and it’ll show more of an insight into who she was. Around that time, she was extremely paranoid – she believed she was being bugged by the press and followed. She had me lifting up floorboards and disconnecting the phone at some points.

“The documentary may draw up scandal and private details about Diana, and that’ll be really uncomfortable for Harry. He’s always hated the fact his mother was exploited – and now the same is happening on the very same platform he and Meghan are working with.

meghan markle prince harry
meghan and harry together in 2020 ©Getty Images

“Netflix have capitalised on the appetite for royal scandal with The Crown, Harry and Meghan’s upcoming work and now this Princess Diana documentary. If Harry’s already feeling torn and uncomfortable about his recent actions, this will no doubt cement those feelings.

“It’s very awkward as I think Meghan may see Diana as a role model, and feel she can relate to her. So she’ll welcome more insight into Diana’s life and for them to be compared. But those differing feelings could create a divide between her and Harry. It could even drive them apart.”

princess diana prince harry
princess diana and prince harry together in 1995 ©Getty Images

Last month, Harry returned to the UK for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral – where he faced his family for the first time since the interview with Oprah, where they made allegations of racism and a lack of mental health support within the Palace. Closer previously reported how he returned to pregnant Meghan in LA feeling “torn and regretful” after spending time with his family and in his old home.

Meanwhile, Meghan has reportedly been striving forward with the their commercial projects. After Netflix, Spotify and Apple deals were made last year, last week it was revealed that she’ll release a children’s book next month.

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meghan is releasing a children’s book ©Getty images

However, the book – called The Bench and inspired by the relationship between Harry and their two-year-old son, Archie – was blasted on social media for celebrating a father and child bond, despite Meghan cutting off her father, Thomas Markle, with further criticism for using her royal title on the book despite stepping down.

Fans also speculated that the cartoon of the father in the book – a red-headed character dressed in army uniform – was used to depict Harry, who served in the military for over a decade but was stripped of his titles after Megxit. A royal author speculated the cartoon was used to show “how much the army meant to Harry and how upset he is to lose his military titles.”

meghan markle prince harry
meghan and harry together in 2018 ©Getty Images

Despite Meghan and Harry’s philanthropic pledge and the launch of their charity, Archewell Foundation, there has been no mention of any charitable proceeds – and PR expert Nick Ede believes the Duchess would have likely been paid between a £250k to £500k advance to write the book.

The couple received yet another backlash after reports they’re spending £280k on a nursery – in the same weekend Harry urged others to donate to help with global coronavirus vaccinations at the Vax Live charity concert.

Paul – who once likened Meghan to Diana, calling them both “strong-willed and philanthropic women” – now says that Meghan’s recent decisions have created a stark divide between their characters.

Check out: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship from the start

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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July 2016: Meghan And Harry Meet

So when did the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were introduced by a mutual friend in July 2016, originally thought to be Markus Anderson (also the director of Soho house) but who was later confirmed to be Violet von Westenholz. Meghan said in an interview that before she met the Harry she didn't know much about him 'the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] was, 'Well is he nice?'. According to Harry he knew Meghan was The One from 'the very first time we met.' after only two dates Harry asked Meghan to accompany him on a trip to Botswana.

Closer magazine
Get the best celeb interviews in Closer magazine each week ©Closer magazine

He says, “Diana’s agenda was always first and foremost charity work. When she was part of the royals and married to Charles, this was her priority, and it remained when they divorced. She gave her life to helping others – continuing with her patronages and doing good.

“We’ve seen some decisions from Meghan seemingly made for personal gain. The Netflix, Spotify and Apple deals are all for the couple’s own profile. She’s put her name as ‘The Duchess of Sussex’ on the book, which has led to claims that she’s using her royal status for commercial gain.

“That’s what starkly separates her from Diana. Meghan may want to be like her, but she’s not going the right way about it. Her priorities seem to be commercial – which meant nothing to Diana.”

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And Paul believes Harry will feel increasingly split over the coming months and years.

He says, “Harry said he wanted to step back from the royals for a more private life, but everything we’ve seen has counteracted that claim. We’ve got the deals, the Oprah interview, the LA lifestyle – I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a reality show in the future. It seems the agenda has changed. It all seems so different to what Harry used to value.

“I think he’ll come to disagree with these new ambitions and, sadly, I don’t think it’ll end well. I don’t believe this life is one that he truly wants to lead, but I don’t doubt he adores Meghan and his family. I think he’ll find himself in a very different situation once he realises that.”

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