One of Princess Diana’s closest friends has spoken of her grief, 25 years after the Princess’ tragic death, and her joy at being Prince George’s godmother.
Psychotherapist Julia Samuel said The Observer’s Magazine“I’m lucky to be such a good friend to Princess Diana. And I really love my godson, George. And that’s a beautiful way to love him.”
Samuel met Diana in the 1980s and thus became close to Prince William. Since Diana’s death in a car accident in Paris in 1997, she has remained close friends with the prince’s family and has been asked to be godmother to Prince George, the eldest son of William and Kate Middleton, in 2013.
Speaking in 2020 on an episode of the How to fail with Elizabeth Day podcast, Samuel explained how she likes to do the same trick Diana used to play with her kids when it came to gift giving:
“She was my son’s godmother, so I’m doing George what she did to us, which is giving impossible toys that are really loud and labor-intensive. I come a little bent over by the size of the present that William then has to give. spend days assembling. And then assembling all the machines, and it makes awful whistling noises and flashing lights and all that stuff that makes me laugh and George laughs,” Samuel said.
Demonstrably close to William, Samuel would also be close to Prince Harry.
In 2021, following her interview with Oprah Winfrey, it was speculated that psychotherapist Samuel was Princess Diana’s close friend whom Meghan Markle approached to help her understand the weight of her new royal role.
Meghan told Oprah: “One of the people I contacted, who remained a friend and confidante, was one of my husband’s mother’s best friends, one of Diana’s best friends… ‘Cause it’s, like, who else could figure out what it really looks like on the inside?”
During Diana’s lifetime, the couple were neighbors, with Samuel living just across the grounds from Kensington Palace. Samuel rarely spoke of his friendship with the princess but recounted his frustration at the outpouring of public grief over Diana at the time of her death.
She said The Observer’s Magazine“I felt mad, I was mad that she died, and shocked and I couldn’t really understand it all. I mean, I understand it better now… I understand that people really felt that they really knew her and loved her. But I still feel sad today.”
Samuel became a famous author of books on psychotherapy and mental health. On William and Harry’s advocacy and breaking taboos in this area, she said: “I think both princes have really turned the dial talking about grief so honestly and also about mental health. But it was all their own – completely from their own bats.”
Prince George will be nine years old in July. Speaking to Day, Samuel said of Diana’s first grandchild, “He’s funny and fiery and cheeky and God, she would have loved him so much. It’s heartbreaking for all of them.”