Who is James in The Crown and where is he today?

Fans of The Crown season five want to know more about Princess Diana's mysterious confidant, Dr. James Colthurst and his real-life story

Dr. James Colthurst
(Image credit: Jemal Countess / Stringer / Getty Images)

Dr. James Colthurst is a minor character in The Crown season five who appears as a confidant for the Princess of Wales. 

In the second episode of season five of The Crown, fans were introduced to the character Dr. James Cothurst. The episode immediately showed the doctor's close relationship with Diana as James commented to the Princess that she looked happy in Italy with Charles and her children. Their familiarity is highlighted when Diana reveals to James, 'If only you knew, it's honestly worse than ever. I'm at a loss for what to do."

Throughout the second episode, their relationship was explored as it appears that Diana saw James as a close friend that she could confide in and talk about the reality of her relationship. The pair are seen talking on the phone and James tells the Princess of Wales that he has been approached by a 'tabloid journalists' who wants to write a biography with her. The journalist is of course, Andrew Morton, who wrote Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words

But did James really help Andrew gather the tapes from Princess Diana that created the biography about her life? And what is the truth about Dr. James Colthurst's relationship with the Princess? 

Elizabeth Debicki

(Image credit: Netflix )

Who is Dr. James Colthurst?

Dr. James Colthurst is an Irish-born British aristocrat. The family's home is at Blarney Castle House in Blarney, and James' elder brother, Sir Charles Colthurst, inherited Blarney Castle following their father, Sir Richard la Touche Colthurst, 9th Baronet's death in 2003. 

Aside from his aristocratic background, James was also a doctor and worked as a radiologist at London's St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster. James grew up in Cork in Ireland but was educated at Eton College in Windsor. 

James first rose to prominence in 1992 with the publication of Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words. He worked with Andrew and Diana as the middle man who collected the voice recordings about her life from the Princess and delivered them to the journalist.

How was Dr. James Colthurst involved in the book?

Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words is widely regarded as the most accurate biography about Princess Diana's life. James acted as the middleman who made the connection with Andrew and passed information back and forth between the Princess and the journalist until the book was complete.

Grazia (opens in new tab) reported that James spoke about this experience and how he became the middleman for the operation. "She [Diana] was enormously enthusiastic to have her story out there, she knew exactly what she was doing. I'd cycle in, the recorder was in the briefcase, nothing surprising there. I'd go in and we'd normally have a few questions before lunch, we'd have lunch then we'd come out after lunch, I'd clip the microphone on and she'd finish them off," said James.

Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton

(Image credit: Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty )

How did Dr. James Colthurst and Princess Diana meet?

James and Diana first met when they were staying at the same ski resort. In an article for The Telegraph (opens in new tab), Dr. James Colthurst explained how their friendship began.

"Lady Diana Spencer was 17 when we first met while skiing in Val Claret. She knew several of the friends I was with, and they brought her back to our apartment when she twisted her ankle, telling her I would look at it as I was a medical student at the time. Good fun, bright and mischievous, it was hard not to hit it off with Diana straight away, and so began the friendship she and I maintained for the rest of her short, eventful life," wrote James.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana at Dr. James Colthurst's place of work, St Thomas' Hospital, London, 2nd May 1991.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What has Dr. James Colthurst said about Diana since her death?

Although his character only appears in the second episode of the season, it is thought that in real life, the doctor and Diana remained close. James revealed that he and Princess Diana were friends for decades and remained close even after the Andrew Morton book scandal. 

Writing for The Telegraph (opens in new tab), James reflected on the last time he spoke to Diana before her car accident. "Despite her well publicised troubles, she seemed happy to me in her final months. She was enjoying a decent summer break and wasn’t in too bad a place. I remember the last conversation I had with her, not long before her death. She was laughing almost uncontrollably down the other end of the phone. Someone had gifted her a poem engraved on a silver tablet, and she was howling with mirth at their unusual taste," said James.

Where is Dr. James Colthurst now?

James Colthurst currently resides in a Farm House in Inkpen, Berkshire, with his wife Dominique G. Coles, who he married in 1990. The couple has two children, Leah Alexandra Colthurst, and Cicely Rachel Colthurst. 

James is now 65-years-old and has retired from medicine. The doctor now works as the director of a medical research firm. 

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


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