Selina Scott says Buckingham Palace officials asked her to befriend Princess Diana and guide the late royal through the “media jungle”.
In a new article, BBC Breakfast Time presenter, Scott, 71, recalled her time working for the BBC, and detailed her relationship with the then-Princess of Wales.
Scott explained that her appearance was often compared to Diana’s, and was frequently called a Diana look-a-like, when she presented the BBC Breakfast show in 1983, aged 31.
Discussing her relationship with Diana, Scott wrote in the Daily Mail on Friday (20 January): “Princess Diana didn’t appear on Breakfast Time, but she was a fan and did visit the studios.”
“Once she said to me: ‘People say you look like me.’ It was just banter and she laughed.”
Scott claimed that she was asked by a senior royal official to help Diana handle the press attention she was facing.
“After her visit, Michael Shea, the Queen’s press secretary, asked me if I would befriend Diana and guide her through the pitfalls of the media jungle.”
The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.
Scott continued in the article: “He’d observed the torrid time I had with the Press and that she, too, was going through, and thought my experience would be helpful to her.”
Explaining why she declined the palace’s offer, Scott wrote that she had her “hands full” with her own life at the time. She continued: “Given I was also catnip for the paparazzi, I didn’t think I was best placed to help her”.
In his new memoir, Spare, which came out on 10 January, Prince Harry has spoken out against the paparazzi’s treatment of his mother leading up to her death.
The Duke of Sussex expressed his feelings of grief after his mother died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, at the age of 36. Harry was 12 at the time of Diana’s death. He wrote in his memoir that the smell of Princess Diana’s perfume helped him cope with her death.
He went on to note how his therapist urged him to reflect on what he remembered about his mother, including “bedtimes in Kensington Palace,” when he’d go from “inhaling her perfume” to then “lying in bed”.
“We’re breaking through,” Harry’s therapist told him. “Let’s not stop there.”
The royal then revealed that during one of his therapy sessions, he brought “a bottle of Mummy’s favourite perfume to the office,” before explaining how he felt when smelling it.
“First, by Van Cleef & Arpels. At the start of our session, I lifted the lid, took a deep sniff. Like a tab of LSD,” he wrote.
Harry continued to describe some of the memories that came back to him after smelling the perfume.
“I remember one day at Ludgrove, Mummy stuffing sweets into my sock,” he wrote. “Outside sweets were forbidden, so Mummy was flouting school rules, giggling as she did so, which made me love her even more.