DAN WOOTTON: Jemima Khan’s loyalty to her old friend Diana should shame money-hungry Prince Harry into cutting ties with Netflix too. But don’t hold your breath
Jemima Khan is one of Princess Diana’s few remaining genuine friends who has never betrayed her publicly since that tragic Paris car accident.
The pair were close, with the then wife of Imran Khan hosting Di on several major trips to Pakistan throughout key moments in her personal life during 1996 and 1997.
It’s no exaggeration to say she was one of the few credible witnesses to the Princess of Wales’ state of mind in her last 24 months as Diana endured a painful estrangement from the Royal Family, suffering the consequences of speaking to Martin Bashir on the BBC – and she’s always stayed steadfastly silent.
That’s why Khan’s involvement in helping tell the story of Diana’s final years in the controversial fifth series of The Crown – due to be broadcast next year with Aussie actress Elizabeth Debicki taking over the role from Emma Corrin – felt like a hugely significant moment.
Netflix, which has come under constant scrutiny for distorting the truth of many key moments of royal life in the international hit series, finally had cover to insist they were staying loyal to Diana’s real story and the realities of her final days on earth.
This was going to prove especially important given that the hugely influential company had signed Diana’s youngest son Prince Harry and his ambitious Hollywood wife Meghan on a mega deal worth tens of millions of dollars.
But yesterday that cover combusted in a shocking and dramatic fallout between Khan and The Crown that must now result in Harry quitting the broadcaster too if he has a single shred of respect left for his mother’s legacy.
Princess Diana and Jemima Khan (left) during their visit to Imran Khan’s cancer hospital in Lahore, Pakistan in April 1996
Khan sensationally revealed she walked from the show because the storylines about Diana are not being handled by the show’s creator Peter Morgan – her ex-lover – in the respectful and compassionate manner she had hoped for.
Khan told The Sunday Times she had finally agreed to share information about Diana’s last days because ‘it was really important to me that the final years of my friend’s life be portrayed accurately and with compassion, as has not always happened in the past’.
The storylines are particularly controversial because they involve Diana’s disputed relationship with the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (a distant cousin of Imran) and the Harrods heir Dodi Al Fayed, with whom she ended up dying in a car in Paris, plus her BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, which Prince William has lobbied to be excluded altogether from the series.
But after spending months on the project from last September to this February, Khan now says: ‘When I realised that particular storyline would not necessarily be told as respectfully or compassionately as I had hoped, I requested that all my contributions be removed from the series and I declined a credit.’
Prince Harry has set himself up as a moral arbiter on many issues, many of which the bloke knows nothing about, like his pledge last week to reach Net Zero by 2030 despite being one of the world’s biggest private jet addicts. So why is it when it comes to the revolting treatment of his beloved mother by Netflix, he is prepared to turn a blind eye? Pictured: Dan Wootton
Cynics might say that decision has something to do with Crown boss Morgan rekindling his relationship with the actress Gillian Anderson, who played Margaret Thatcher in the last series of the show.
But I find it hard to disagree with the sincerity of Khan’s withdrawal.
She clearly trusted Morgan, perhaps partly because of the intimate nature of their relationship, to do something she had never done before: Open up honestly and in full about her friend Diana so the world discovered what really happened.
Quitting when she realised The Crown was going to chew up the legacy of Diana and spit her out for the purposes of entertainment shows true morality.
It’s called putting the ones you love ahead of your pocketbook.
Prince Harry has set himself up as a moral arbiter on many issues, many of which the bloke knows nothing about, like his pledge last week to reach Net Zero by 2030 despite being one of the world’s biggest private jet addicts.
So why is it when it comes to the revolting treatment of his beloved mother by Netflix, he is prepared to turn a blind eye?
What’s most pathetic in this whole sorry saga is that virtually any US broadcaster would have signed Harry and Meghan for big bucks.
Including other major players like Apple and Amazon who don’t have a plethora of shows about the private life of his own mother.
As of this morning in the UK, the company continues to offer up a slew of sensationalist crap about Di, from the tawdry Diana: The Musical to salacious documentaries like Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother.
Is Harry really that stupid – or did he realise that a broadcaster so obsessed with gaining subscriptions from fans of the Royal Family was going to pay him the most dosh?
And how much money do the Sussexes really need, anyway? They’re already working for Spotify and a bank.
Wake up, Harry, Netflix is using you. It doesn’t give a damn about your charity projects.
It doesn’t give a damn about how you think you’re going to change the world with worthy documentaries.
Prince Harry (pictured) and wife Meghan Markle have reportedly signed a deal, rumoured to be worth around £112million, with Netflix to make documentaries, children’s programmes, scripted shows and feature films
It’s signed you as part of a package to make popular shows that dish dirt on your own family on a regular basis – especially your mother, the most bankable Netflix historical figure of them all.
And staying as a star employee of this broadcaster strips away any remaining moral credibility you had left.
Over the weekend I watched Spencer, a revolting new American movie that stars Kristen Stewart as a truly unhinged and entirely inaccurate version of Princess Diana spending Christmas at Sandringham in 1991.
The film is dark, daft and devoid of any of Di’s positive points.
But we don’t have to watch such trash and it carries no royal endorsement.
Netflix is well aware that it’s deal with Prince Harry provides a tacit royal stamp of approval of The Crown.
In fact, when he was asked recently by James Corden about The Crown, like a good corporate warrior, Harry had the cheek to defend the show.
He told his pal: ‘They don’t pretend to be news. It’s fictional, but it’s loosely based on the truth.
‘Of course it’s not strictly accurate…but it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle – the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else – what can come from that.
Dan Wootton: Over the weekend I watched Spencer, a revolting new American movie that stars Kristen Stewart (pictured playing Princess Diana) as a truly unhinged and entirely inaccurate version of Princess Diana spending Christmas at Sandringham in 1991
‘I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself.
‘Because it’s the difference between fiction, take it how you will, but this is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.’
I guess that sums up the selfishness and hypocrisy of Prince Harry since he’s become guided by Meghan.
Someone writing the truth about them if it happens to be negative are despicable beasts who should be publicly shamed.
But his bosses at Netflix tainting the legacy of his own mother to make hundreds of millions of bucks is OK – as long as he’s getting a cut of the money.
Well, I have no doubt Princess Diana would be proud of the stand taken by Jemima Khan over The Crown and desperately disappointed by the ignorant stance of her money hungry son.
We must never ever take the pious preaching of Harry about the media seriously again.
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