Prince Harry Says Princess Diana Wasn’t Paranoid, but “Fearful of What Was Actually Happening to Her”

His phone hacking lawsuit continues in the U.K.

Prince Harry at court in the U.K.
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry is standing up for his late mother, Princess Diana, who many have accused of being “paranoid” about paparazzi and media attention. Harry rebuked that, saying instead that the former Princess of Wales “was fearful of what was actually happening to her,” per OK.

Harry is in the middle of a phone hacking lawsuit in the U.K. and opened up about Diana’s state of mind prior to her death in a car accident in 1997. He has accused The Sunday Mirror of using illegal tactics to write stories about him, including one article from 2003 that contained “details of private conversations I had with my father about my future, mainly that I didn’t want to go to university and would rather join the Army.” Harry said he became unsure of who was leaking this information to the press. 

Prince Harry seen leaving court in the U.K.

(Image credit: Getty)

“It was so conflicting,” Harry said. “It’s only now, realizing what the [Mirror Group’s] journalists were doing, and how they were getting their information, that I can see how much of my life was wasted on this paranoia. I’ve always heard people refer to my mother as paranoid, but she wasn’t. She was fearful of what was actually happening to her and now I know that I was the same.”

Harry also touched on how he disagreed with his older brother, Prince William, in 2003 about whether to meet Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell after he wrote a book about her: “Both my brother and I had very strong feelings about how indiscrete Paul had proven to be with the way he had sold our mother’s possessions and how he had given numerous interviews about her,” Harry said. “We firmly believed that she would have expected some privacy in death, especially from someone she had trusted, and we were so upset at the way he was behaving—I didn’t want to hear his reasons for it. Therefore, our disagreement over how to handle the situation going forward was not something I wanted splashed across the [Mirror Group’s] newspapers, and I have no idea how the [Mirror Group’s] journalists obtained the information within the article.”

Princess Diana in a tiara and green dress

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry further claimed Diana’s messages were obtained by unlawful methods leading up to her death, citing a letter Diana wrote to Harry that said “I was devastated tonight to hear that the Daily Mirror have been telephoning my office to ask details about six meetings that are supposed to have taken place between us. Nobody around me knew of our Sunday evening plan.” Harry said he “can only assume that this information had been obtained via voicemail interception and/or other unlawful information gathering such as live land linetapping.”

Of Diana’s voicemails being hacked, The Mirror responded and said it is “total speculation without any evidential basis whatsoever.” 

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.