WINDSOR, England- Princess Diana’s former private secretary, who worked closely with the beloved icon for eight years, said the late princess would have empathy for her son Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle as they deal with what’s turned out to be a controversy-ridden week leading up to their wedding.
Patrick Jephson spoke to Fox News about the recent headlines that have beset Markle and Harry, casting a shadow on their upcoming nuptials. Much of the buzz surrounds Markle’s father, who is said to have undergone heart surgery and will be skipping the wedding following a scandal that began with staged paparazzi photos he apparently get get paid to pose for.
“Princess Diana was well known for being very warm-hearted, empathetic, perceptive … and would have had enormous sympathy for Harry and Meghan as they go through what is likely going to be one of the most stressful weeks of “peoples lives”, ” he told. “She would also know that given that this is a lifetime commitment that Meghan is dedicating to this role, the tensions will continue and be repeated.”
Jephson began working for Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their marriage as an equerry, a military officer of the British royal household, for two years. Diana personally asked him to stay on after their split and he became her first- and merely- private secretary and chief of staff during her lifetime. He worked closely with her until Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997, in a automobile crash.
Jephson, who knew Harry when he was a boy, believes Diana would have plenty of helpful advice for Markle, a biracial American actress who has previously been married and is transgressing barriers by to intervene in the royal family. He told Markle should focus on her royal duty first and being happy second, as that is how Diana created her sons William and Harry.
“The lesson, perhaps, one of many that she leaves for Meghan and Harry is that if you can find fulfillment and gratification in your work your chances of being happy are much better, ” he told. “When she was working hard, learning things, use her gifts, using her profile for good causes, when she was overcoming challenges, when she was able to do her obligation … that dedicated her enormous fulfillment, job satisfaction and that for a large part helped to compensate for the unhappiness in her private life.”
A look at the British Royal Family
Diana famously fought in her unhappy matrimony to Prince Charles before their 1996 divorce. He said he can see why some people compare Markle to Diana.
“I could see some similarities in that they’ve both had, in their private lives, personal obstacles to overcome — divorced mothers, a failed marriage — and had to struggle to assert themselves and were successful in developing their own brand and their own humanitarian program, ” he noted.
But he said that doesn’t mean Harry’s bride is just like his late mom.
“They’re not similar in that when Diana came into the royal business she was 19 years old, and when Meghan is[ coming into it ], she is the age that Diana was when Diana died. There’s obviously an enormous difference in the maturity and life experience and perspectives with which they come into the royal business.”
He supposes Diana would have wanted Markle to help Harry navigate the difficulties that come with his unique lifestyle.
“William and Harry were the centres of her universe, and I would guess that what she would hope is that any wife either of them chose would help them in shouldering the extraordinary onu of responsibility that destiny has put on their shoulders. They have been born into the most extraordinary lives and their whole lives are dedicated to their royal duties and therefore their partners will ideally understand their responsibilities and … induce them happy, ” said Jephson, who recently published “The Meghan Factor: A Royal Expert’s Insights on America’s New Princess – and How She Could Change the Windsor Dynasty Forever.”
The formal royal aide told Markle has the opportunity to make a big impact on the royal family when Queen Elizabeth, who is 92, is no longer the ruler. It’s been reported Queen Elizabeth will renounce the throne if she is still serving when she is 95.
“The monarchy within foreseeable future will undergo an enormous change when Queen Elizabeth’s reign comes to an end, and she is replaced by King Charles and Camilla, and this is a prospect that a lot of people view with mixed feelings, ” he said. “It will undoubtedly mark a historic switching in the royal scenery. There will be with Prince Charles quite a matured monarch, and it will most likely be all the most important for William and Harry and their families to retain and rekindle support for the royal family and the monarchy among the royal family. And that is where Meghan may leave a longstanding mark on the institution of the autocracy. If she gets it right, she will be seen as a great royal asset and as a great bridge with younger subjects.”
Jephson details some of the opportunities and pitfalls the come along with to intervene in the royal family in his book. He has some words of wisdom and alerting for the “Suits” actress as she becomes royalty.
“She has already associated herself with certain political viewpoints and some controversial causes. For the British royal family, her focus is to act as a emblem of unity above politics. All matters in involvement in public policy has to end. Controversy and royalty do not mix, ” he said.
He said Markle needs to adapt to a new various kinds of fame in order to find success.
“[ It’s important] for her now to learn discrepancies between celebrity and royalty because their own lives up until now has been centered on developing and promoting her celebrity. Royal status is very different even though in some ways it may not seem different. Celebrity is something you might win; royal status is awarded … and it lasts a lifetime. And to do it properly you have to set the interest of the autocracy above every other consideration.”
Jephson told Markle and Harry, as well as his brother Prince William and his wife Kate, are in charge of their own futures.
“For William and Harry, whatever day to day challenges they will unavoidably encounter, the opportunity now lies before them to have long, happy wonderful lives … in which they use their profile and their experience and their exuberance to serve the crown and an endless list of good causes, ” he told. “Their future is in their hands.”
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