Andrew Morton, the royal biographer who catapulted to fame after collaborating with Princess Diana on a groundbreaking biography, has a special connection to the latest season of The Crown ― he’s portrayed in it.
Actor Andrew Steele plays a young Morton in the fifth installment of the series, which covers the royal reporter’s communications with Diana. The two worked in secret on the bestselling book Diana: Her True Story, in which the princess detailed her struggles with bulimia, her mental health and her crumbling marriage to Prince Charles.
After her death in 1997, Morton revealed that Diana was one of his main sources, and that the two worked with the late royal’s friend, Dr. James Colthurst, as a go-between for Morton’s questions and Diana’s answers.
Amid the series’ depiction of Morton, Diana and Colthurst’s alliance, the royal biographer told Vanity Fair that there is one omission in the new season he’s “surprised” Netflix didn’t film.
“One scene I’m surprised they didn’t do was James letting me listen to the first tape in a working-man’s café in Ruislip in North London,” Morton said in an article published Monday. He told Vanity Fair that the doctor was so protective of his friend he “wouldn’t let the tapes out of his sight”.
“All these working men were sitting around eating their eggs and bacon,” Morton continued. “I put the headphones on and I was transported to another world, a world of bulimia, Camilla, and things which I’d never heard of. It was literally like entering a parallel universe where you had a secret and that secret was quite dangerous.”
Morton feared that things were so dangerous, in fact, that he assumed he would be killed while working on the book.
“I was looking for danger in the shadows. I was looking for people following me,” the royal reporter recently 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.”
“My office was broken into,” the writer said, though in this season of The Crown they pretend it was the author’s home.
“James was knocked off his bicycle,” Morton added. “It was a genuinely unnerving time and when Diana had her room swept for bugs, she was totally justified in doing that.”