Andrew Morton thought he’d be ‘assassinated’ while writing Princess Diana biography

While writing his controversial biography of Princess Diana, author Andrew Morton was constantly worried about being murdered. 

“I was looking for danger in the shadows. I was looking for people following me,” Morton told Entertainment Tonight.

“It was like a different world and I remember vividly going back home on the subway and standing well way back from the platform edge because I thought I could be followed and someone was trying to assassinate me,” he continued.

Morton admitted that everyone involved in the making of the biography felt in danger, including Princess Diana and her friend Dr. James Colthurst.

“My office was broken into. James was knocked off his bicycle. It was a genuinely unnerving time and when Diana had her room swept for bugs, she was totally justified in doing that,” Morton said.

Andrew Morton In Front Of Windsor Castle Holding A Copy Of His Book On Diana
While writing his biography of Princess Diana, author Andrew Morton was constantly worried about being murdered. 
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The author wrote 1992’s “Diana: Her True Story,” secretly working with Princess Diana herself through Colthurst. Morton would send questions through Colthurst and Diana would record her answers. 

“James Colthurst, the intermediary, would go to Kensington palace to interview Diana and he would use an old tape recorder, and when he had the tapes finished, he’d put them in his bike, his push bike, and he’d cycle around to my office, and give them to me and I’d work on them,” Morton shared. 

Nuran Erzurumlu, 28, a housewife from Islington in London, leaves Dillons Bookstore in Oxford Street, London, today (Monday) clutching her reserved copy of Andrew Morton's revised book "Diana...Her True Story - In Her Own Words".
Andrew Morton wrote 1992’s “Diana: Her True Story,” secretly working with Princess Diana herself.
Ben Curtis – PA Images via Getty Images

The story of the making of the Diana tapes and Morton’s biography was portrayed in Season 5 Episode 2 of “The Crown” in an episode titled “The System,” which showed Diana having her home searched for bugs, the aftermath of Morton’s office being robbed and Colthurst getting knocked off his bike — but Morton said that the scene depicting the recordings is “compressed.”

“It wasn’t like that at all, in the sense that there are lots of gaps between interview sessions,” he said. “What would happen is that James Colthurst, the intermediary, would go to Kensington Palace with a list of questions that I prepared and he would mic Diana up like this and then she would answer the questions and then they go have lunch. Then it was my job to type it all up and ask follow-ups.”

Andrew Steele playing Andrew Morton
Andrew Steele as Andrew Morton in “The Crown.”

“So it was a far more laborious process than the compressed scenes you see in ‘The Crown,’” Morton continued.

The audio recordings — which were once featured in a 2004 NBC documentary titled “Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes” — are now “safely put away in a safe and out of public view,” according to Morton. 

Season 5
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in Season 5 of “The Crown.”
Keith Bernstein/Netflix

Season 5 of “The Crown” is currently streaming on Netflix. Morton’s latest biography, “The Queen: Her Life” is available in bookstores now. 

“Diana: Her True Story” was published in July 1992 and detailed the Princess’s marriage woes with Prince Charles, as well as her struggles with bulimia, loneliness and depression. Charles and Diana announced their separation six months after its publication.

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