Andrew Morton Says Elizabeth Debicki’s Portrayal of Princess Diana Was So Good “It Was Like Being with a Ghost”

“It was like being in the room with Diana.”

Princess Diana
(Image credit: Getty)

Take it from a Princess Diana expert if there ever was one: Andrew Morton—the author of Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words, the 1992 bombshell biography of the Princess of Wales that we later learned was really more of an autobiography—said Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Diana in season five of Netflix’s The Crown, aced the role.

“It was like being in the room with Diana,” Morton told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. “Elizabeth Debicki and her portrayal of Diana was astonishing. I don’t say this lightly, but that performance really conveys the Diana that I got to know for a couple of years in the early 1990s.” He added that Debicki has “done a Golden Globe worth of acting there.”

The storyline of Morton collaborating with Diana on the book features in episode two of season five, which dropped on the streaming service on Wednesday. Morton secretly interviewed the late Princess of Wales with her cooperation in the early 1990s through a series of tape recordings, The Independent reports. Those tape recordings were then used to write his book, which—not surprisingly—became a massive bestseller.

Morton told Good Morning Britain that The Crown’s “attention to detail is astonishing” and that he “was struck watching the episode about me. About how the paper that I typed the book on was the same paper. The typeface was the same.” Morton added “I’m really quite blown away by it.”

He added that the 1990s were a “difficult period” for the royal family and that there was “no getting away from that.” Of his book, he said the experience empowered the princess and “gave her control of the narrative for the first time in her life.”

“When I was first dealing with her, she was quite desperate to get her story out, to the point where she thought the book could be written and published within a week,” Morton said. “It showed how desperate she was to convey her message to the wider world.”

Debicki captures Diana’s essence, as Morton told The Daily Beast that “it was like being back in the room with her 30 years ago. It was unnerving. It was like being with a ghost. It spoke to me very clearly.”

He also told the outlet that the scene in which his office was ransacked actually happened, and that Diana’s room was “swept for bugs,” like in season five of the series.

“Writing that book was the royal equivalent of All the President’s Men,” Morton said. “You would see danger in the shadows. From the first moment that I heard the tapes, I was very careful. I remember standing back from the edge of the platform on the subway going home…I had been admitted into a secret circle. The secret circle knew the truth about Diana’s life, and many powerful people did not want that truth to be revealed.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.