Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Drama Is Similar to Princess Diana Royal Rift's, Former Aide Says

Prince Diana's former aide and chief of staff says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal drama is similar to what Diana went through in the '90s.

meghan markle prince harry princess diana
(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • For many royal fans, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming 90-minute sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they are expected to spill lots of royal tea, feels unprecedented in the royal family.
  • Some royal insiders, however, see strong parallels between the Sussexes' experiences and Princess Diana's rift with the royal family in the '90s.
  • "The precedence for royal interviews of this kind are not very encouraging," Princess Diana's former private secretary and chief of staff Patrick Jephson said of royals sitting down for televised tell-all interviews in the midst of personal drama.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finally ready to open up about their experiences with the press and the royal family over the past few years. The couple are expected to address many of the public's burning questions about their royal exit during their 90-minute sit-down with Oprah Winfrey tonight.

While most of us can't imagine what Harry and Meghan will have to say during their interview, for some royal insiders, their situation feels like déjà vu. In an interview with CNNPrincess Diana's former private secretary and chief of staff Patrick Jephson explained that the Sussexes' rift with the royal family feels very similar to Diana's own estrangement from the royals after her split from Prince Charles.

"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 explained. "There were a lot of unhappy people involved then, I'm quite sure there are a lot of unhappy people involved now. First and foremost, we should understand that this is a family rift. It has taken on a lot of the trapping 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."

Jepshon also noted another similarity between Harry's royal rift and his late mother's: Both ultimately decided to do high-profile, televised interviews as a result of their experiences. Of course, as Jephson pointed out, these kinds of royal tell-all interviews haven't historically gone well.

"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."

Still, Jephson is hopeful that Harry and Meghan's story with the royal family will have a happier ending than Diana's did and that, if other senior royals reach out, the relationships can be mended.

"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 added.

Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special airs this Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.