ROYALS

Princess Diana’s secret letters: Aussie friend’s confession

It's a royal revelation!
Loading the player...

The country nurse turned big-hearted charity queen who famously became Princess Diana’s Aussie confidante died last year – taking to the grave some of the most shocking royal secrets.

WATCH: Princess Diana was sent a ‘surprise letter’ by Camilla

Marie Sutton, 73, died last September in a Sydney hospital after a battle with incurable lung disease.

In 1996, Marie pulled off the coup of bringing divorcee Diana – then the world’s most famous woman – to Australia to speak at a Victor Chang fundraiser. The two became close friends, with Princess Diana sharing many extraordinarily intimate secrets with her new Aussie bestie.

Princess Diana with Marie Sutton
In 1996, Marie pulled off the coup of bringing divorcee Diana – then the world’s most famous woman – to Australia to speak at a Victor Chang fundraiser.

“Mars was a one woman dynamo. She had a heart the size of the universe. There were no airs and graces, and she achieved what many deemed impossible – single-handedly orchestrating Princess Diana’s last trip to Australia,” says close friend, Studio 10’s showbiz reporter Craig Bennett.

In 2017 Craig interviewed his long-time friend Marie for Studio 10, and her candid revelations made news around the world.

“Marie then asked me to write her memoir. The story of her first meeting a shy Diana in 1983 at an afternoon tea in Maitland to their reconnection in Sydney in 1996 is astounding.”

Craig Bennett with Marie Sutton
The country nurse turned big-hearted charity queen who famously became Princess Diana’s Aussie confidante died last year – taking to the grave some of the most shocking royal secrets.

WATCH: Scared Diana’s ‘tense’ interview with Charles

Loading the player...

“When it was confirmed Diana was coming to Australia in the ’80s, a huge behind-the-scenes power-play erupted, with everyone including then NSW Premier Neville Wran trying to wrestle control of the project away from Marie,” Craig tells New Idea. “It was dirty and ugly.”

“The drama of the Machiavellian machinations almost ruined Marie’s marriage. It was like something out of The Bold and the Beautiful. But Marie was always heartened Diana stuck by her. Diana was aware of what was going on.”

Harry and William with Diana
Diana allegedly opened up to Marie after they became friends in the 1980s.

“It got so nasty, Marie was ousted from the royal motorcade, but Diana insisted Marie ride with her.”

Hundreds of faxes and letters flew between Marie, Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, all of which Marie kept under lock and key. “There were also many hours of late-night phone calls, with Diana pouring out her heart.”

Craig says: “When Marie asked me to write her book, we had a long lunch and she showed me the correspondence. Beautiful notes from Diana, and many with eye-popping revelations.”

Charles and Diana
Princess Diana and Marie developed a friendship after they first met in 1983.

“Diana confided her life was a torture. It was a marriage from hell. How she longed for a normal life. The saving grace being her boys, William and Harry.”

Craig also says Marie told him the love of Diana’s life was heart and lung surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan.

“When I asked her about rumours of skulduggery surrounding Diana’s death, Marie froze. She refused to comment on speculation it may have been murder. But what she didn’t say spoke volumes.”

“At one point, Marie was offered almost $2 million for her ‘Diana dairies’ – but she’ll now take those secrets to the grave with her.”

Related stories