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Who is Andrew Morton? Meet Princess Diana’s biographer

The Crown Season 5 is out on Netflix now and audiences want to know everything there is to know about the real-life royals, their friends, and whether the events depicted in the series actually happened.

In Episode 2 of the new series, audiences are introduced to a man named Andrew Morton, who expresses his desire to publish Princess Diana’s biography.

He would go on to be forever associated with the late princess after publishing the works, Diana: Her True Story in 1992 and, Diana: Her True Story—in Her Own Words in 1997.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about Andrew Morton.

Who Is Andrew Morton?

Andrew Morton is a British author and journalist from Yorkshire, England.

Throughout this career, he has published biographies—mostly unauthorized—of several influential figures such as Tom Cruise, Madonna, David and Victoria Beckham, and Monica Lewinsky as well as Prince William, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Author and journalist Andrew Morton posing after the publication of his book “Diana, Her True Story.” Morton is depicted in the latest season of Netflix’s “The Crown.”
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

However, he is best known for his work, Diana: Her True Story—in Her Own Words published in October 1997, following Princess Diana’s death in August 1997.

Prior to becoming a biographer, Morton worked as a reporter for British tabloids including The Daily Star, News of the World, and The Daily Mail.

Morton published the first version of Diana: Her True Story in 1992 and for years, there was speculation about Diana’s involvement in the biography. Morton had denied this at the time.

Not long after the book was published, Diana acknowledged she had told friends and family to speak with Morton, but she and Morton both denied she had played any role in creating the contents of the book.

The princess did not cooperate with the book “in any way whatsoever, a palace official said,” according to The Guardian, after The Sunday Times posted snippets of Morton’s 1992 version.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, "The Crown"
Actress Elizabeth Debicki plays Princess Diana in season five of Netflix’s “The Crown,” 2022. Not long after the book was published, Diana acknowledged she had told friends and family to speak with Morton.
Netflix

However, when Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words was published in 1997, Morton revealed that Diana herself was the main source of information.

The new version contained an 18,000-word transcript of tape recordings made by the princess in secret, where she speaks of her childhood, her marriage to Prince Charles (now King Charles III), her bulimia, and her feelings about Camilla Parker-Bowles (now the queen consort).

The Crown Season 5 revisits Morton’s book and how he obtained the records.
As seen in the series, Morton used a middle-man, Dr. James Colthurst, a friend of Diana’s, who would ask Diana a list of questions and record them on a set of audio tapes.

Morton then transcribed the six, hour-long, tapes and masked the information as coming from a palace source of a friend of Diana’s.

Morton told Newsweek’s Chief Royal Correspondent Jack Royston the moment he heard the first tape was “like walking through the wardrobe in Narnia or walking into a parallel universe.

“I first heard the tape in a cafe and as I went home on the subway, on the tube, I stepped well back from the platform. I remember it vividly as though it was yesterday, just that sense of ‘what have I got myself into?'”

At the time of the publication of Morton’s book in 1997, he faced criticism from the public for the timing of the book’s release being so close to Princess Diana’s death. Some booksellers refused to stock it.

In The Crown Season 5, Morton is portrayed by Outlander’s Andrew Steele.

The Crown Seasons 1 to 5 is streaming on Netflix now.

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