Diana's friend Julia Samuels emphasises importance of 'boundaries'

‘We shouldn’t be venting all our feelings to all people’: Diana’s close friend Julia Samuels says ‘promiscuous honesty doesn’t help anyone’ – days after Prince Harry published his bombshell memoir

  • Julia Samuel was one of Princess Diana’s closest friends and a loyal confidante
  • The psychotherapist has said ‘venting’ problems to everyone is not helpful
  • Said painful feelings can be expressed if relationships can be repaired afterward
  • Comments come  after Prince Harry published his explosive memoirs Spare 
  • Read more: Harry and Meghan spend the weekend planting flowers in LA 

One of Princess Diana’s closest friends who has known the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex their whole lives has commented ‘on the importance of setting boundaries’ in the wake of Prince Harry’s bombshell memoir and PR blitz. 

Julia Samuel, 60, from London, became close to Diana after meeting her at a dinner party in 1987, and is godmother to Prince George, nine. She is also believed to be the person that Meghan Markle, 41, turned to when she felt suicidal in her pregnancy.

In a piece for The Times, while she did not mentioned Prince Harry by name, she stressed that telling our problems to anyone who might hear them is not a helpful way to deal with negative thoughts.

She also said that painful feelings can be expressed to loved ones, as long as the relationship is repaired afterwards. 

Her comments come as Prince Harry, 38, made several claims about the royal family and revealed painfully personal anecdotes in his explosive memoirs Spare, which was released last week.  

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 Centre Court, 1994

The psychotherapist said that while talking through their feelings can help people better understand their emotions and to heal, it should happen in the secure of a therapy session, which protects them and allows them to face the world better.  

She added that venting to everyone and anyone is not a helpful way to deal with negative feelings. 

‘Boundaries are the limits or rules we each establish to protect ourselves. We should not be venting all our feelings to all people — promiscuous honesty, telling everyone everything, doesn’t help any of us,’ Julia wrote.

‘When we indiscriminately express unfiltered feelings, we can disturb those around us, and not receive the empathic response we need,’ she said. 

Julia’s comments come as Prince Harry has unleashed a series of attacks against the royal family and his brother, the Prince of Wales, left, in his memoirs Spare

She added that sharing negative thoughts with others could trigger their ‘code red’ response – fight, flight, freeze – and heighten their sense of anxiety, which can turn off their capacity to response in a sensitive manner. 

Julia added that boundaries are important, especially in the work place, because they allow us to focus on the task at hand. 

She also noted that it is important to express intense feelings, and that being vulnerable with the people who know us best encourages the development of intimacy. 

She said sharing intense feelings with loved ones and being emotional with them can deepen trust, and also allow us to express these thoughts in a safe space. 

The psychotherapist added that it is also important to know  how to fight in a productive way, and even more important to know how to heal these rifts.  

She added that the secure relationships with people we can trust are the foundations we should depend on in our lives. 

It comes after she released an intriguing video on her Instagram page las week, 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. 

She warned that ‘huge fights’ can occur in families following an ‘unexpected death’ and said that where we ‘love most’ we also ‘hate most’.

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.

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 went on to say that there is ‘no favourite child’ in any family and ‘no one truth’. Her words appeared 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 J.R. Moehringer, Harry accuses William of ‘lunging’ at him and, in another incident, pushing him to the ground and ripping his necklace.

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.

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.’

Later that year, the grief 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.’

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