She was one of Princess Diana‘s closest friends, a loyal confidante offering support and advice during her darkest days. And after Diana’s death, Julia Samuel, a psychotherapist specializing in grief, washed the same love and attention on her sons.
So close is the connection that Ms Samuel was chosen to be a godmother to Prince George, William’s eldest son, and was one of a select few chosen to attend the unveiling of the statue in Diana’s honor in Kensington Gardens, alongside William and Harry. Diana was also godmother to Ms Samuel’s son.
Now Ms Samuel has released an intriguing video on her instagram page, which many are interpreting as a concern plea for prince harry to heal the rift with his brother, following the damaging accusations aired in his memoir, Spare. While she does not mention the Princes by name, Ms Samuel warns that ‘huge fights’ can occur in families following an ‘unexpected death’ and said that where we ‘love most’ we also ‘hate most’.
Julia Samuel was one of Princess Diana’s closest friends, a loyal confidante offering support and advice during her darkest days. Pictured: Diana, Princess of Wales, with Mrs Julia Samuel in the royal box at Wimbledon’s Center Court, 1994
Ms Samuel revealed that while she, too, had been involved in family disputes, she was ‘fortunate’ that such incidents had ‘remained private, because none of us want those worst parts of ourselves to be exposed’.
In the video, shared with her 40,000 followers, Ms Samuel goes on to say that there is ‘no favorite child’ in any family and ‘no one truth’. Her words appear to be a clear intervention in the ongoing feud between the brothers, and Harry’s insistence that he wrote his bombshell book in the name of ‘truth’.
One of Ms Samuel’s followers, Amy Smith, posted a reply to the video, saying: ‘Sounds like a message to Prince Harry. Great post reflecting the complexities of families, the nuance, the different perspective.’
Another follower wrote simply, identifying the apparent target of Ms Samuel’s comments: ‘Prince Harry…’
In his memoirs, penned by American ghostwriter JR Moehringer, Harry accuses William of ‘lunging’ at him and, in another incident, pushing him to the ground and ripping his necklace.
Julia Samuel has released an intriguing video on her Instagram page (pictured), which many are interpreting as a concerned plea for Prince Harry to heal the rift with his brother, following the damaging accusations aired in his memoir, Spare.
Throughout the book, Harry complains of being treated as the lesser ‘spare’ to William’s ‘heir’, revealing, for instance, that he was given a smaller bedroom when they were children.
In her video, Ms Samuel said: ‘I’ve been thinking about families and about how every family has a story. We all have a story of love and loss and joy and pain and that within every family where we love most we hate most and make our deepest mistakes and there is no such thing as a perfect family.
‘All families operate on a spectrum of functional and dysfunctional depending on the internal and the external pressures.
‘And the greatest external pressures are around great peak points of change. So that’s most obviously death and an unexpected death more so, but also separation and illness where the internal and external pressures put everyone in the family under stress.
‘Everyone in that family may have different ways of coping, have different emotional needs and have different wants and that can cause real conflict in families.’
Princes Diana died in August 1997 in a car crash in Paris, when the Princes were just 15 and 12, and the lasting shock and grievance of that tragedy is a recurring theme in Harry’s book.
Ms Samuel added: ‘Often where there is a death in the family – at the heart of fracture and heartbreak in families -– is the loss of the person they love and the fight for the limited resources of love as they experience them at the time .
Known in Royal circles for her discretion, Ms Samuels has said little about the siblings’ relationship except to say that Diana ‘would be really proud of them’. Pictured: Prince Harry and Julia Samuel in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, Thursday July 1, 2021
‘And that can cause huge fights. I know from myself none of us are immune to these fights. I have had many fights around these issues which I have by no means been my best self and not at all proud of.
‘Fortunately [these fights] have remained private because none of us want those worst parts of ourselves to be exposed.
‘But what I was thinking of was that when families are pushing and pulling there can be this idea that there is one right story or one truth. And that is really never the case. There is no hero or one favorite child. There are multiple stories and multiple truths.’
In a message posted underneath the video, Ms Samuel writes: ‘Those conflicting attitudes can, tragically, pull a family apart. Where each family member holds a different version of their experience. Or wish to be seen as the ‘right’ one. Or the victim. Or the ordained heir to the dead parent.’
Prince William is a patron of Ms Samuel’s charity Child Bereavement UK, a position previously held by Diana. But she also remains close to Harry.
Ms Samuel is thought to have offered advice to the Duchess of Sussex when she suffered with her mental health during pregnancy. In her tell-all television interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Meghan said: ‘One of the people that I reached out to, who’s continued to be a friend and confidante, was one of my husband’s mum’s best friends, one of Diana’s best friends .’
Pictured: Princess Diana and Julia Samuel at the 1990 Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Later that year, the grievance specialist was invited to an event the palace described as ‘a very personal moment for the family’ – the unveiling of a statue of Diana in Kensington Gardens.
There, Ms Samuel was seen hugging Harry as it became glaringly apparent that the relationship between the brothers was already starting to fray.
Known in Royal circles for her discretion, she has said little about the siblings’ relationship except to say that Diana ‘would be really proud of them’. She has described her role as godmother to Prince George as ‘a great honour’, and has spoken about the gifts she brings for his birthday.
Two years ago, she told writer Elizabeth Day on the podcast How To Fail: ‘I do to George what [Diana] did to us, which is give impossible toys which are really noisy [and] take a lot of making.
‘I come in slightly tipped by the size of the present that William then has to spend days putting together. And then put all the machinery together.
‘And it makes awful tooting noises and lights flashing and all of that. That makes me laugh and it makes George laugh.’