As Britain’s Prince Harry pushes back against media intrusion, some royal watchers fear Harry maybe on the same, tragic path as his mother Princess Diana.
“He’s reliving his mother’s nightmare,” Princess Diana’s ex-butler Paul Burrell told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday . “He’s walking in Diana’s footsteps through minefields, thinking about the last year of her life. It’s forefront in his imagination and he’s thinking ‘This could happen again. Isn’t anybody listening?’”
Burrell worked in the royal household for more than 21 years and served as Princess Diana’s personal assistant and confidante. He has watched with keen interest as Harry has pushed back against media intrusion and sought to protect his wife, the American-born, biracial Duchess of Sussex.
“He will never forget how the media made a contribution towards the princess’s death, which is undeniable. So are we witnessing history repeating itself? Harry fears we may be and that he doesn’t want to go down that road and he’s not intending to go down that road. So he’ll protect Megan and Archie with every fiber in his body.”
Harry’s parents, Charles and Diana, divorced in 1996 after 15 years of largely unhappy marriage, and his mother was killed in a 1997 road accident while being chased by paparazzi.
Burrell has become a frequent commentator on Diana and the royal family since leaving the palace after Diana’s death, and was in New York promoting a documentary called “Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother” which is set to premiere on the Smithsonian Channel on October 28.
Harry, 35, said in a recently aired ITV interview that he would “not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.” He and Meghan are also taking legal action against media groups to protect their privacy.
Meanwhile Prince William and his wife Catherine have enjoyed a smoother ride from the palace and the press because their future is largely predetermined, Burrell said.
Prince William, 37, is second in line to throne behind Queen Elizabeth, 93, and Prince Charles, 70. Harry is sixth in line behind William’s children.
The two brothers are often called “the heir and the spare,” which Harry hates, Burrell said, and Harry also admitted to ITV some distance had grown between them.
“Harry said that (he and William) are on different paths. I know what he means by that. William and Kate have a map in front of them. They know exactly where they are going. They’re headed for monarchy,” Burrell said, adding that the queen and Charles have left Harry to find his way.
“There’s no guidance. There’s no support. There’s no rulebook,” Burrell said.
To avoid some of the difficulties faced by his mother Burrell added, “Harry could learn to block out the noise.” Burrell said Prince Charles “never has tabloid newspapers or newspapers in his house.”
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