Princess of Wales and Duchess of Sussex encouraged to dress like Diana, claims new book

Diana, Princess Of Wales, is pictured in 1982. The Duchess of Sussex wears the same shade of green and a hat also with netting in 2020
Diana, Princess Of Wales, is pictured in 1982. The Duchess of Sussex wears the same shade of green with a hat also with netting in 2020 - Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales were encouraged to dress like their late mother-in-law so that some of her shine would “rub off on them”, the Sussexes’ biographer has claimed.

Omid Scobie, 42, alleges in his new book that a “huge amount of effort” went into channelling Diana, Princess of Wales and that both of her sons were consulted on such decisions.

“During the past 13 years, Diana cosplay has become a royal staple,” he writes.

The extraordinary claim is made in Endgame, Scobie’s latest offering, which is published on Tuesday.

The first review, published in The New York Times, said Endgame was “devoted to setting the record straight on petty slights against the Sussexes”, including the now infamous row between Meghan and Catherine over who made who cry at a bridesmaid dress fitting.

“The tabloids have rightfully been accused of pitching one royal bride against another, and so it jars when Scobie, whose tone throughout is one of moral high ground, employs a similar tactic,” the newspaper says.

The general theme, according to Scobie, is that the monarchy is at a crossroads, its future in crisis.

The Princess of Wales wears a white polka-dot outfit to Royal Ascot in 2022 reminiscent of one worn by Princess Diana in 1988
The Princess of Wales wears a white polka-dot outfit to Royal Ascot in 2022 reminiscent of one worn by Princess Diana in 1988 - Samir Hussain / Wireimage / Shutterstock

He brands the institution “tone-deaf, racist and financially reckless”, according to the review, rubbing salt into wounds by adding that it has all gone downhill since Charles became King.

“When Queen Elizabeth II was at the helm she managed to keep much of it at bay,” he writes.

By comparison, the Duke and Duchess are “in a good place” and pay no attention to negative headlines. The Duke is said to be working on something in the “military space”, while the Duchess, according to a source, is “building ‘something more accessible … something rooted in her love of details, curating, hosting, life’s simple pleasures, and family”.

On efforts to emulate Diana, Scobie quotes a royal source who worked with both William, 41, and Harry, 39, who claims that such “decisions” were always discussed with them.

“Were there gentle pushes from others? At times, yes. It had been known for someone to go back and pull images of Diana at a certain place or time for ideas,” the source says, according to an extract seen by the New York Post.

Scobie adds: “At the right moment this can be a sweet gesture, but there is also a slightly queasy feeling when you realise it’s often orchestrated within the same system that contributed to her living misery, and an institution that still wants some of Diana’s shine to rub off on them.”

Both the Princess, 41, and the Duchess, 42, have often had their sartorial choices compared to those of their late mother-in-law, although there has never been any public confirmation that it was deliberate.

The Duchess of Sussex and Princess Diana in red and purple
The colours of the Duchess of Sussex's 2019 outfit seem inspired by Diana's look in 1989 - Getty Images

In 1987, Diana wore a baby pink, off-the-shoulder Catherine Walker gown to a ballet in Berlin similar to a Carolina Herrera dress Meghan wore to Trooping the Colour in 2018.

By comparison, the Princess has worn several outfits reminiscent of Diana’s, including the strapless, black velvet gown with a ruffle at the bodice she chose for the Sun’s Military Awards in 2011 which was similar to a gown Diana wore to Goldsmiths’ Hall in London in 1981 and the red skirt suit with a black belt and black jumper in 2001, which was almost identical to an orange outfit Diana wore in Liverpool in 1995.

Scobie, who told The Sunday Times he was aware he was “quite disliked in Britain” and is currently renting a house in Hollywood, is understood to have orchestrated his own marketing strategy to publicise the book, leaving his UK-based publishers largely in the dark.

The only newspaper sent an advance copy to review appears to have been The New York Times, which surmised: “We’ve heard much of it before.”

The review, published on Sunday, adds: “Whether or not Scobie actively collaborated with Meghan and Harry for this book, he does them no favours. Their chapter reads like a press release cooked up by ChatGPT, and does little to shed light on them as humans.”

Scobie has insisted that neither the Duke nor Duchess contributed directly to the 400-page book.

The Sussexes have distanced themselves from the tome while both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace declined to comment.

The Queen is no fan of wokery. Scobie claims that she rolls her eyes when subjects such as gender identity or veganism come up.

Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales ahead of the State Banquet, for the state visit to the UK by President of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee
Prince William and the Princess of Wales ahead of the State Banquet, for the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, and his wife during their state visit - Yui Mok/AP

A former aide is quoted as saying: “Even gluten-free or dairy-free options on a restaurant menu irk her.”

The book also alleges that after Piers Morgan called Meghan the “Pinocchio Princess” on Twitter, in 2021 when she spoke about feeling suicidal, Camilla “quietly thanked him for defending the Firm”.

Scobie suggests that Buckingham Palace lied when it said Camilla would never be Queen.

However, he notes that she is now “finally tolerated by the public.”

He also appears to have been unable to resist a reference to “tampongate”, a private telephone conversation between Camilla and Charles in 1989 that was recorded without their knowledge.

Scobie portrays the Princess as “a woman terrified to do anything more than grinning photo ops” and claims she had to be coaxed into appearing on Blue Peter in 2019.

He told The Sunday Times: “In the coverage of Kate we infantilise her massively so the bar is always lower.

“The small achievements that we’ve seen from the Princess of Wales wouldn’t perhaps be noticed if it was from another member of the royal family, but with Kate it’s like ‘wow!’”

Scobie claims that the Princess copies Meghan’s dress sense and suggests that her Hold Still lockdown photo project is “reminiscent” of Meghan’s 2018 Grenfell cookbook, Together.

However, he suggests that the 41-year-old mother-of-three jokily shudders whenever Meghan’s name is mentioned.

The book also takes aim at the King, who is “often envious” of his sons’ popularity and is said to have used Harry’s teenage drug troubles to improve his own image.

Author Omid Scobie
Author Omid Scobie is critical of most senior members of the Royal family in his latest book - Belinda Jiao

Charles thought Prince Harry a “fool” for making a Netflix documentary series but is accused of “ineptitude” in dealing with the whole Harry and Meghan saga.

He is portrayed in the book as a lavish spender and a pampered man who insists on having his shoelaces ironed and travels with a 1,000-thread count bed linen that has to be perfectly steamed.

Scobie claims that before Elizabeth II died, royal aides did not think he was up to the top job, lacking both “the moxie” and “the vision for the family’s next chapter”.

He adds: “There has been a kind of realisation of what the role is compared to being the Prince of Wales, where there was a little bit more freedom and… personality.”

The Prince of Wales, 41, is described as a hot-headed “company man” who is increasingly willing to allow the palace to deploy “dirty tricks”.

Omid Scobie's latest book on the British monarchy, Endgame
Omid Scobie's latest book on the British monarchy, Endgame

Scobie alleges that Prince William is a power-hungry figure who is in “heir mode” and on course to collide with his father, the King.

“It would have been nice to see them come together on certain projects perhaps in the early years, to put on that united front, but they’re all working in silos,” he told the Sunday Times.

Both the Prince and Princess are said to have found the lampooning of Harry and Meghan on South Park “hilarious”.

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