Celebitchy Book Club: ‘The Diana Chronicles’ by Tina Brown


I read The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown several years ago, when it first came out, but I enjoyed re-reading it in the era of the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George. Quite honestly, it did remind me just how rough it was for Lady Diana Spencer to marry into a stagnating, out-of-touch and cold royal family and how Kate Middleton has had it so much better. I do think the royal family learned a lot from the whole Diana experience, both good and bad, from her life and from her death. Diana and Charles had only spent maybe a month together in total (spread out over the course of a year). Diana was thrown into the deep end with no road map, and at the age of 19, Diana had no idea about what she was signing on for, and she was thrown to the wolves.

Again, we have to go back Diana’s brother, Charles, the Earl Spencer, who eulogized Diana in such a succinct way:

Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard-bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who — who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was classless, and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.

That was the best of Diana, and that is the ghost of the sainted Diana that the royal family still lives with, because the public demands it. What I appreciated about Tina Brown’s take was that she was able to compile (conjure) what was wonderful about Diana – the selflessness, the generosity, the compassion – while also noting that Diana was a woman who had significant flaws. My favorite parts of the book where when Brown iterated over and over just how detrimental Diana’s “Prince Charming” fantasies were when they crashed into the reality of her life, her marriage, her lying, cheating husband. Brown also pointed out something dead-on: Diana was brilliant as a tactician, but she sucked at long-term strategies. She was short-sighted, didn’t set long-term goals and all she wanted was for someone to rescue her.

It’s worth delving into the intricacies of Diana’s life because, I often feel, we’ve learned the wrong lessons, and the royal family has learned the wrong lessons. Diana gave the royal family the gift of modernization, but what have they done with it? Diana gave the British people a breath of fresh air in which “one’s duty” was the privilege of civil and public service, not some dull, unemotional sulk. I think about that a lot when I’m covering William and Kate, because it does seem like they’re a regression from the idea of their royal work being a “privilege” to serve. William (much more so than Harry, who seems more like his mum, quite honestly) really, truly seems to hate royal work, and he often acts like his title is an albatross around his neck.

I think Brown is at her most generous when it comes to the idea that Diana was “manipulative,” an idea deeply rooted in Team Charles during the royal divorce war. Diana understood the media and PR down to her bones, and even as a teenager, she was extremely savvy about her image. Is that manipulation? Or was she just great at being princess?

Also: after re-reading this book, I’m having a harder time giving Camilla a break. It really seems like Camilla just would NOT let go of Charles no matter what. I think Charles married Diana because Camilla approved of Diana, and Camilla approved of her because Camilla thought Diana was a mouse who could be manipulated. But does Camilla deserve the bulk of the blame, or only half of it? Charles was the one who kept coming back to her, over and over. He was the one who wanted someone to mother him, seduce him, take care of him. That was never going to be Diana, because she wanted someone to seduce her, take care of her, be her Prince Charming.

So, would I recommend this book? Of course! It was my selection. I do think Tina Brown got a little bit bogged down in some of the details about this press secretary or that mistress or whatever, but for real royal-loonies, this is one of the best Diana biographies out there.

Bedhead’s take: I still remember falling asleep on the couch one night during college. CNN was playing in the background, and I awoke up a few hours later to the news of Diana’s death. The news was devastating to so many people, not just Brits. Even as an American, I idolized Diana as a child. I wanted to be her so badly that I single-white-femaled her haircut in 3rd grade (it worked much better on Di). After Diana’s death, I lost touch with the happenings of the royals. I’m now an outsider to royal gossip other than reading what Kaiser writes here.

Even though I’m not a royal-loonie, I still enjoyed this book a lot. Diana transcended the status of “royal” and truly was The People’s Princess. The Diana Chronicles starts out slow. I didn’t care too much for the parts about Di’s childhood, but the pace picked up and reeled me into the book. Overall, there were fewer revelations than I expected, but Diana’s inner self is much more fleshed out by this book. She seems more like a multi-dimensional person now than merely a spurned wife or charitable saint. Tina Brown isn’t as interested in presenting new factual information than a talented analysis of facts that have already existed. Brown also skillfully manages to avoid passing judgment upon Diana. She does acknowledge Diana’s flaws but presents them as an intricate part of a dynamic, whole woman. Brown paints her portrait with much care but still allows the reader draw their own ultimate conclusion about the tragic fate of Diana.

I left this book with a greater sense of what drove Diana to create her media persona. Charles ended up looking like a complete dolt, and Camilla appeared even more scheming than I’d previously assumed her to be. Undeniably, Diana accomplished great things, but she was also a master of using her media prowess to get back at Charles for treating her so poorly. I enjoyed watching her pull the strings. This book was so much fun to read despite already knowing the very sad ending to Diana’s story.

Celebitchy’s take: I’m only about halfway through the book as I had a hard time getting into it. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy what I read. Tina Brown is a consummate gossip and she loves a turn of phrase. She’s a clever, interesting writer, but her prose has a breakneck pace and is chock full of details. I wish Brown would have stuck to Diana’s story and not gone off on so many tangents, particularly in the first half of the book. There were so many side characters and a detailed backstory that weighed down the beginning.

Diana gave her boys a nurturing upbringing and she was there for them in a way that was unprecedented in the royal family before her. During Diana and Charles’ first tour of Australia, a six week affair in 1983, Diana insisted on bringing 9 month-old baby William with them (and his nanny, naturally), against the objections of the Queen. That was just one of many ways that Diana shook up the old guard and brought change to the royals. She also frequently upstaged her husband and the Queen in ways that were somewhat deliberate but not necessarily under her control. She was a force of nature, and Brown captured that well while showing Diana as a complete person.

This book is full of delicious descriptions of Diana’s outings and outfits, most of which are of course public record and easily googled. I found a wonderful Pinterest board that chronicled Diana’s courtship and engagement and dovetailed nicely with those events in the book. I also found myself searching for video of Lady Di’s moments, like her first public appearance (in a scandalous plunging gown) and her awkward engagement interview with the man she was never compatible with.

Our next book club selection is The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Michael Fassbender was just cast in the film adaptation!


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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180 Responses to “Celebitchy Book Club: ‘The Diana Chronicles’ by Tina Brown”

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  1. Suze says:

    I wonder if all my fellow loonies are still asleep!

    I read this book years ago, but I’ll confess I didn’t re-read it for the book club. So my opinions are from memory.

    I think it’s the most balanced and complete of the Diana biographies, and Tina Brown has the advantage of being somewhat involved in the royal circle – at the edges – as events unfolded.

    My huge takeaway was that Diana and Charles were doomed, regardless of outside circumstances. Charles needed a mommy, and if wasn’t Camilla, he would have found it in someone else. And it’s difficult to determine exactly what would have made Diana happy. She was so incredibly needy from her own cold upbringing. I had the opposite reaction of Kaiser, I found after reading this that I understood the Charles/Camilla pairing much better, even when I couldn’t condone it.

    The upside of Diana was that she was brilliant at PR, she was incredibly hard-working (take that, Cambridges!) and she did modernize the monarchy, dragging it kicking and screaming into the modern era. I don’t think the royal family to this day has given her her due for that, even as they use her lessons in forging toward the future.

    Diana was an excellent princess, the best, really. She was also a person with significant personality flaws in a marriage that was never, ever going to work. It’s definitely a story for the ages.

    • LadySlippers says:


      I too read this ages ago. Lol

      I think Charles and Diana did have a chance to make their marriage work; however, neither really had the tools in which to do so. But I do think they had a shot (even if it’s a small one).

      I still like Sarah Bradford’s book better — it was so balanced and fair to both Charles and Diana while still not being afraid to call either out on the rug for their crap.

      What other Royal bios have you read and liked and/or hated then?

      • Suze says:

        I read both the Andrew Morton book and the Paul Burrell book, both obviously skewed toward Diana’s point of view ; ).

        I haven’t read the Bradford, thanks very much for the recommendation!

        I think as the Diana years recede, there is more balance and perspective in some of the biographies.

      • AM says:

        The Bradford bio on the Queen is also very good, as I recall (honestly it’s been many years).

      • LadySlippers says:


        I have not read that so thanks for the recommendation!!!

      • AM says:

        The version of the Morton book that was published after her death is really interesting for the transcripts, especially if you read it with the perspective that the public did not know how complicit she was in that book until after her death

      • LadySlippers says:


        This may sound strange but I liked Morton’s book but hated all of Burrell’s books. Morton’s I’ve always understood that it was a cathartic process for Diana and it was her truth *at that monent*. So I framed the extremes she painted in that context. (I totally thought it was her behind it even when reading it after it was initially published).

        Burrell’s books have always come across as self-serving promotion. In every sentence he writes, I always hear. “Look at me! Look how important I am!!!” Yuck. I never once felt that when reading Jephson (granted he was obviously angry at her treatment of him) and Wharfe.

        As for balance, I still find a lot of books either go for the sinner or saint angle and neither were accurate.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Either a British or American news show also did a program (actually several — it was a series) about how the book was written. You actually get to hear Diana talking into the tapes and how they went about getting her info in and out of KP.

        YouTube it — it’s well worth watching.

      • bluhare says:

        My Diana biography collection is so large I have it hidden in an armoire. It’s too embarrassing to see how many there are.

      • AM says:

        Thanks, LS! Will look that one right up. It’s amazing being able to watch this stuff now on YouTube.

      • wolfpup says:

        Hi bluehare. I hid my collection too – I didn’t want anyone to know how taken I was with one woman. I have never been a groupie, ever, so it’s kind of embarrassing to me, especially as my name is Diana.

      • LadySlippers says:


        I’m a Royal Loonie and I swing from pride to embarrassment on my vast book collection! Lol


        I found the book you recommended. It’s on my summer reading list. Thank you! 😃


        There is SO much on YouTube about the Royals (all of them) it’s kinda mind boggling. Fun though. 😊

      • wolfpup says:

        *Lady Slippers*

        I saw the movie that was recently made about Diana, with Naomi something or another; the one that got so many bad reviews. It’s not the story that bothers me, but the personality portrayal. Was she like that? There was no charm or nuance, by the character in the film, and Diana seemed to have had bucket loads.

      • LadySlippers says:


        I have not seen the movie but everything I’ve ever encountered stated that she was very charming and charismatic. In fact, she often dazzled people with it.

        It’s sad if the film wasn’t able to portray that.

      • wolfpup says:

        That you obtained the book is a real compliment Lady Slippers, and I appreciate it. I hope that you enjoy it. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analysand, and focuses on women’s issues. I found it so instructive!

        For anyone wondering what the title is: “Women Who Run With The Wolves”.

      • LadySlippers says:


        I absolutely love to learn. And with my choosing not one but two women’s colleges — it’s a perfect fit. Jungian too? Sounds like heaven!

        Again, much much much thanks for the recommendation. Now I just need to read everything on my list! (My list keeps growing lol)

    • FLORC says:

      I agree with your Cailla and Charles take Suze. Also, read this ages ago.
      And Charles was/is very needy it seems. Mommy figure is kind of right.
      Very much disagree with Kaiser on Camilla here too. There’s too much information not covered in this book that squashes that image of Charles, Camilla, and Diana.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Obviously other women may disagree with me — but I find the fact that Charles ‘needs’ a mother figure to be so sexual…disturbing.

        I have NO issues with women being nurturing and sexual (I am myself) but it’s the extreme that Charles goes to that I find difficult to comprehend.

      • AM says:

        Not to mention that Camilla bears a resemblance to his nanny.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Oh I’ve never thought about that…

        *throws up in mouth just a little bit*


      • Ennie says:

        Those needs are more psychological, it happens to many, many people. Many worn end up marrying men who in some way, physical or in manner, resemble her fathers, or viceversa.
        I am not a psychologist, but I read that that is because people seek out what they know, what they are comfortable with (even abuser behavior, abuser parent and still look for an abuser partner, or then the complete opposite). Probably Charles looked for a partner who was nurturing, he needed a strong woman (Camilla), but then he married a troubled teen, who needed nurturing herself.
        What a bad match. She grew up and changed, but her needs and scar from childhood marked her needs as a woman, and defined her life eventually.
        The thing that I admired more about her is that she became a great mother, unlike her own mom, who left. And she did that even against the traditions of the Royalty.

      • FLORC says:

        I’m not able to see his need for a nurturing maternal figure to cross over into sexual territory. With the evidence given.

        I think people can appreciate the qualities they lacked or thrived from in parents and seek that in their significant others. You may find your partner shares many nice qualities of your parents, but the bedroom is a different story. It’s just you and that person. Not a nurturing figure that wipes your nose.

      • LAK says:

        Ennie/AM/ Florc: it wasn’t just Charles. It’s Diana too. Hewitt, in his younger days, resembled the young Johnnie Spencer, Diana’s father.

        People dating or marrying a person with similar qualities, if not actual physical resemblance, to a parent is a common cliche.

      • LadySlippers says:


        There are other sources that state quite emphatically that not only was she a substitute mother for Charles but also quite the tigress in bed. But, from what I’ve read, it was the ‘wiping his nose’ (as you put it) that he preferred.


        Until you pointed out the Johnnie/James comparison I wouldn’t have noticed it myself.


        I think (IIRC) that psych studies are all over the places as to why we sometimes marry people that emotionally and psychologically resemble our parents. Obviously there are LOTS of theories regardless! Lol

      • Ennie says:

        Yes, LAK, she needed a father figure and eventually seeked for that. She probably thought marrying a prince/future king/ representative=power figure= what she needed, her fantasy, well reality proved them wrong. They both did a good job being nicer parents with those 2 boys anyway, Charles was much more of a father to them that the Duke to himself, so did Diana.
        What complex characters are / were C and D.

      • Dena says:

        Just want to jump in here to quickly say Prince Harry & his fun loving blondes have there place too–since we are talking about the psychological needs we bring with us from childhood.

        Very interesting who we date/marry and why–especially when we are conscious of our unmet needs. Very telling.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Not just Harry! William married someone that reportedly has a wicked and naughty sense of humour like Diana. And he found an anchor in Kate because he watched his mother so desperately search for her own anchor in life.

        I agree — it is fascinating. Very fascinating.

    • Eleonor says:

      I haven’ read the book but I gave it to my mum who is a HUGE Dianalooney, and I’ve absorbed from her all the possible theories about that marriage.
      I agree about the doom from the start: Diana was too young (19 years old!) and Charles was on another planet let me explain: The Firm did not allow him to marry who he wanted, so he opted for someone who on paper was a good choice, because she was young they (all together) thought she was someone who could be easily manipulated, and they all were wrong.
      Honestly I think Charles is far way a better person than we think.
      I’ve watched some old interviews, with a very young Diana at his side, when he talked about his interest for the environmental cause long before than being “ecofriendly” was a thing; and I was surprise to discover a smart person, on the other side I saw they didn’ t have much in common: they spoke two different languages.

      • wolfpup says:

        The only thing that has redeemed Charles for me is his garden. It is just magical, so there must be something good in him.

      • LAK says:

        Wolfpup: that garden is a dream. And it’s open to the paying public.

      • Suze says:

        Me too on the garden, well, on Highgrove in general. I am a house garden groupie.

        He did have a vision and he executed it beautifully.

      • Montréalise says:

        I remember that years ago, when their marital problems had become public knowledge, a newspaper published a lengthy list of their respective interests. They had NOTHING in common. Whatever interested him (the environment, architecture, philosophy, opera) bored her immensely; whatever interested her (the ballet, shopping, movies, going out to restaurants and parties) bored him immensely. He preferred the country and hated the city; she preferred the city and was bored by country pursuits. This on top of the fact that they were terribly ill-matched psychologically.

      • bluhare says:

        I’m ancient because reading your post, Montrealise, I started humming the theme to Green Acres.

  2. NewWester says:

    I remember when Diana married Charles and a relative commented that the Royal Family encouraged and approved of the marriage “because she could introduce some good looking genes into the House of Windsor”
    Looking at how William and Harry turned out , I wonder if that could have been the case.

    • bettyrose says:

      Isn’t that always part of the selection process? Young.check. Healthy. check. Aristocrat.check (though that requirement has recently been waived). Attractive/good genes.check. Docile and won’t cause problems.check (though clearly they didn’t vet her thoroughly on that point).

      • AM says:

        That was the fatal miscalculation, bettyrose. Charles and the RF assumed that because of her aristo background, Diana knew the score when it came to living in grand estates with staff and looking the other way when it came to infidelities. Which is really amazing, when you think about it.

      • Suze says:

        Oh, Charles and the whole royal family completely misjudged Diana. I think Charles would have definitely thought twice about marrying her if he fully realized that she expected a conventional marriage, and for him to be faithful. Also, had he known she was capable of completely inhabiting the role of princess, including her physical metamorphisis into a stunner, the marriage would never have happened.

        She lived a charmed life and a cautionary tale, all at once.

      • LadySlippers says:

        I think both sides were stupid because of all the assumptions they made…

    • Jegede says:

      What’s with the myth of the Spencers being some ultra gorgeous breed?

      Height, yes. Looks, um

      Diana was attractive but her sisters are OK at best.
      Actually Lady Sarah is quite pretty while other sister Lady Jane rivals Princess Anne in the looks department

      And Earl Spencer is no JFK Jr or even a Prince Felipe.
      His kids got their looks from their model mother.

      Not much hot gene to distribute from either side

      • AM says:

        I think this is in the Tina Brown book, but if not, I read it elsewhere – that famous people become more beautiful than the rest of us. Diana and her sisters looked fairly alike when Diana started dating Charles, but aged very differently. I’m really interested to see if this happens with Kate and Pippa.

      • wolfpup says:

        Beauty and aging is about access to the tools. It’s all about the vacations, massages, and HGH, oh, and bee-venom via Camilla.

    • Ginger says:

      I’ve always said jokingly “Thank God for Diana” whenever I see her boys. 🙂 But even in the book Tina discusses how beautiful the Queen was when she was younger. I do think Charles was swayed to marry her in part because she was a gorgeous woman.

    • Ennie says:

      she said herself that they saw her as a brooding mare (the Queen is a horse breeder).
      It may have not been all related to looks, the Spencers haver very good British lineage (not so much German like the Windsors), are (not sure) healthy, tall and well built.
      Besides after seeing how the younger Windsors turned out in the looks department, The Spencers were totally an improvement (haha, actually Charles, the womanizer one and the Royal princess were not so ugly looking when younger).

    • Suze says:

      Well, it didn’t work with Prince Philip, who was incredibly handsome – almost movie star handsome. And if you haven’t seen photos of young Queen Elizabeth, you should – she was quite pretty and had a slamming body.

      So genetics is a funny, funny thing.

      (And if both Harry and Wills are still handsome at 45, I will be amazed. Windsors all age the same.)

      • LAK says:

        i will always say it’s the Windsor genes. Concentrated over many centuries. It will take several generations of outside infusions to dilute them.

        Both Andrew and Eugenie strongly favoured/favour QM’s side of the family until the Windsor struck. I really hope that Eugenie doesn’t become all Windsor because i rather enjoy her Bowes-Lyon beauty. Beatrice has started to mutate into pure Windsor.

      • AM says:

        Harry will age like Andrew, I think. You can already see the paunch creeping in.

      • mayamae says:

        When I look at Eugenie, I see all Sarah. I think her face and smile are pure Sarah, as well as her body type and the way she carries herself. Beatrice does look classic Windsor. Somehow their eyes seem to grow closer together as the teeth turn vampiric.

      • LAK says:

        Mayamae: google young QM. Before she married. Pure Eugenie.

        Her figure is exactly like HM, big bosoms and all which came from the Bowes-Lyon side.

        Legs are pure Sarah.

      • Suze–Prince Phillip is so damn fine, I can’t even look at him straight. Even now, he’s a good looking man. Oooh. I mean, I can see why the Queen marked her territory around him when she was a teen. I would’ve too.

  3. LAK says:

    I will always maintain that this marriage was doomed from the start irrespective of the external forces because of the two personalities involved and the needs they each expected from their partner.

    I also think that If they’d been allowed to divorce in the mid-80s after the marriage had broken down, there would have been less damage to both parties and to the royal family’s edifice.

    There is nothing like being stuck with someone for the rest of your life to really bring out the bitter part of you.

    • Kate says:

      They did divorce eventually. I never bought into the whole myth of Diana the great and wonderful, though I agree that she was treated badly by The Firm. I did think the marriage was doomed from the start because she was too young and they were too different. I think the myth has grown since she died so tragically. I wonder how she would have dealt with aging and becoming a grandmother.

      • LAK says:

        Their divorce wasn’t a simple undertaking. They weren’t allowed to divorce or separate because the heir to the throne was forbidden from doing so for constitutional and religious reasons.

        A Lot of negotiations went on behind the scenes to allow them to separate which was only agreed with a caveat that they wouldn’t divorce.

        They were finally allowed to divorce because the war of the Wales was causing a lot of damage to the monarchy itself, particularly Diana’s panorama interview.

      • AM says:

        A big part of them being allowed to separate was the publication of the Morton book – that and the Panorama interview are two key examples of Diana being excellent at manipulating short term goals.

      • Suze says:

        Agreed. Once Diana went on television and aired their dirty laundry in public, the divorce was in the works.

        I agree that it is another example of her achieving her short term goals without really thinking through what it all meant for the long term. I do think she started to drift a bit once divorced.

      • AM says:

        We’re thought twins today!

        I think she didn’t really have enough time after the divorce (understatement). She had all these options and was trying to figure out a new path. I do think, had she lived, she would have been dynamic in this era outside of the constraints of the RF. And I think she knew she needed to find a second husband with money, if only because of security concerns.

      • wolfpup says:

        I always thought that it was unfortunate (?) that the BRF took away her royal highness status; after all, she was still the mother of the future king. She still needed security, duh. For them to just drop her was not cool, and seems like very poor manners. I know that it was a difficult situation, but still, it seemed mean-spirited to me.

      • LAK says:

        Wolfpup: they didn’t take away her HRH nor her security. She offered them up and they accepted. This was all part of the divorce negotiations.

        She realised what a mistake it was to lose the HRH when she realised the loss of status. I’m sure it must have rankled to have to curtsey to Fergie who was an HRH after her divorce. As Kaiser pointed out, short term goals vs long term ones.

        Diana ran to the media to try and get it back and unfortunately, as with everything Diana, her version is the one everyone remembers.

        Ditto the security which she thought they spied on her.

        I remember the Palace offered to return her security after the paps became a problem, but she turned the offer down.

        However, she didn’t think they were bad enough to re-introduce RPOs back into her life.

        That tells you how badly she wanted out because we could all see *how* bad they were.

      • AM says:

        They did not take away her security, she requested to have it dropped.

        In terms of the HRH, I think this is detailed by Brown, but Diana had put out a public statement of the terms of the divorce, including her keeping her HRH status. The Palace said not so fast. I think the Panorama interview didn’t help her make her case, either – they thought she was too much of a loose cannon to be out in the world with an HRH.

      • LadySlippers says:


        While it’s true that Diana lost her HRH as a result of the divorce, she kept her place in the Order of Precedence for certain occasions.

        Here is an official statement regarding Diana’s status as member of the BRF, princess of the UK, and precedence.

        “The Princess of Wales, as the mother of Prince William, will be regarded by The Queen and The Prince of Wales as being a member of the Royal Family.

        It has been agreed that her style and title will be Diana, Princess of Wales. She may retain any orders, insignia and other titles, consistent with her being known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

        As she will be regarded as a member of the Royal Family, The Princess will from time to time receive invitations to State and national public occasions, as for any other member of the Royal Family, at the invitation of The Sovereign or the Government. On these occasions The Princess will be accorded the precedence she enjoys at present.

        Being regarded as a member of the Royal Family, The Princess will continue to live at Kensington Palace with The Queen’s agreement. Kensington Palace will in this way continue to provide a central and secure home for The Princess and the children.
        The Princess’s public role will essentially be for her to decide. However, as for any other member of the Royal Family, any representational duty, whether Royal or national, at home or abroad, will only be undertaken at the request of The Sovereign, acting where necessary on the advice of Ministers. As for any other member of the Royal Family, any visits by The Princess overseas (other than private holidays) will be undertaken in consultation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with the permission of The Sovereign.”

      • LAK says:

        Ladyslippers: the short period between giving up her HRH and that statement being released, she did suffer the loss of status. Why do you think she fought so hard to have it back in such a back-handed way and publicly acknowledgement that would return her previous status despite losing the HRH?

        As soon as she realised the implication of what she’d given up truly meant, she ran to the media to have it restored. So successful was her media campaign that when that statement was released, few people noticed that it essentially returned her former status to her despite the lack of an HRH.

        At the time, her loss of status became part of the divorce negotiations as well lots of media talk about the indignity of the status of the mother of future kings who wasn’t a HRH.

        Consequently, a compromise was reached per that statement which if you notice takes care to emphasise her status as *mother of future Kings* as opposed to wife or ex-wife of a future King.

        Wording that gives back what she’d carelessly lost and only appreciated after the fact.

      • LadySlippers says:


        No arguments from me about her incredible shortsightedness! I just remembering a statement somewhere saying she was not obligated to curtsey to anyone different post divorce (i.e. Sarah) than while she was married. And this statement was issued prior to the divorce.

        I find it incredulous that Diana never understood that eventually her victories in battle (potshots at Charles et al) might lead to her *losing* the War which ended up in a divorce. Especially since she claimed she wasn’t a republican or wished for a divorce.

        I am always curious if QEII would have allowed Diana to retain her full HRH status and everything, if Diana hadn’t pre-empted HM so rudely with her statement. I lean towards yes. You?

      • LadySlippers says:

        And FYI — ‘allowed’ isn’t the correct term for how the divorce came about.

        After the Panorama interview, QEII had had enough. She put her foot down (finally!) after almost a decade of the BRF getting tarnished with the War of the Wales’ and *ordered* them to divorce. Diana never saw it coming as HM is usually so hands off. Funnily enough, Diana still dragged her feet for a few months which exasperated HM. I think it was a dinner with Charles (the beginning of their reconciliation) that really moved things along.

      • LAK says:

        Ladyslippers: 2 things.

        1. I know the times lines and terminology. I don’t feel the need to pedantically bore everyone with it especially as i’m sure the royal CBers are well versed in what happened based on the sheer volume of media and biographies they’ve all read individually.

        2. I know someone who was very close to both divorces so you don’t need to explain them to me.

      • LadySlippers says:


        My sincere apologies.

        However, the reason I explain things fully, to you and anyone else, is to educate the many people that don’t know. There are numerous posters AND lurkers that honestly don’t know a lot about Royals and that varies from post to post. I’m not intending to slight anyone. You, I, and a great many other Royal Loonies are asked about details/facts/common misconceptions and often thanked for providing more info Plus, many of us vary in the depth and breadth of certain subjects. And that’s the beauty of all our many discussions.

        So please don’t take offence when I explain things as I don’t always know exactly what you do know until I’ve participated in a discussion like this. Likewise, I don’t take offence when you do the same as you don’t know what I know.

        Anyhoo, I was hoping you’d catch a key phrase in that quote. And gosh darn it, you didn’t comment on it! Oh well. 😊

      • LAK says:

        Ladyslippers: Actually, I find your assumption that royal CBers, posting and lurking, don’t know much about the royals or how they work offensive.

        I don’t presume to know everything and in actuality i’ve learnt a lot from these threads over time which I very much appreciate. I’m not being falsely modest when I say that.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Offensive? How so? People ask all the time. Even on this thread there is a lot of knowledge and a lot of misinformation. I find neither offensive.

        All the Royal Loonies get asked questions on a routine basis — even by each other. Again, I find the spirit and culture of learning to be fantastic. And I am always learning, that’s why I said what I did.

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        I agree with Ladyslippers here. Sharing a wealth of knowledge is anything but boring or pedantic. I have learned a lot just because someone like Ladyslippers has taken the time to explain something. I have also read countless of your posts where you give exhaustive commentary about this or that subject. I don’t recall feeling that it was boring or pedantic at the time as I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I think it is insulting to CBers to imply they can’t handle in-depth analysis and only superficial, easy to digest information is appreciated.

      • wolfpup says:

        It just struck me, but it shouldn’t have been so terribly hard for her to dump Charles. I bet she would have done it years prior. I’ve heard about tradition, but the self-determining rights of women is what I call progress.

        Women owned all the property, before men discovered that they could own the progeny of the women they held in captivity, by what is termed “marriage.” I know, we all want one (?), and progress in this regard frees everyone to have a good one. Males were more valued than females for obvious reasons, like protection, war, the tilling of the ground and smelting of earth. Their numbers were always dwindling due their ability to be warriors, and from always being in the front line of any attack. But I believe women can be just as fierce, especially when it involves her home and young. And that’s why women should leave other women’s families alone! How can we hurt each other more than that? There are plenty of men to go around nowadays. (speaking a Camilla…)

        Seriously, in England men still own that which properly comes to the woman? To me, it was like a new body part so much did it belong to me…the fruit of my body who cares whatever bees were buzzing.9 months prior. There is a such a huge of belonging. Opinion. That’s all it is, just an opinion, however simplified or stated.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Ironically, Diana never wanted to dump Charles. Somehow, someway she thought her crazy antics would show Charles how much she cared. Interesting, huh? That’s the crazy logic seen in an abusive home (her family of origin was abusive). *We* can see the stupidity of the logic but the participants cannot.

        As for female empowerment — makes sense to me. Did you know prior to the samurai taking over Japan that Japan actually was more egalitarian 1000 years ago than they are today? Crazy. Crazy. Crazy! And, stupid fun fact that probably only interests me, ninjas were often female instead of male? Yep. The samurai conscripted the farmers’ sons but left daughters….

        Anyhoo, I’m a big believer in both genders working together for a better world. A girl can dream, right? 😊

      • LadySlippers says:


        Thank you so kindly for your words. It means a lot to me since it wasn’t that long ago that we were (rather strongly) disagreeing with each other.

        I always enjoy reading respectful opinions that differ from my own — it gets me thinking!
        And we are all learning from one another and hopefully, still having fun.

        I don’t wonder if the poster that stated she lurked but disliked our ‘cliqueness’ isn’t also being driven away by some of the hostility that periodically pops up. Very sad as this is supposed to be both fun and informative.

        Glad to see you again. And thank you.🌹

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        You are far more kind than I would be under the same circumstances. You are happily and respectfully sharing, giving and gleaning information and you get verbally dressed down for it. So not cool, imo. I guess what is a spirited debate to some is a territorial challenge to others. But as long as we all keep the dialogue going and the ideas darting back and forth I will keep a positive, happy attitude, just as you always do.

    • bluhare says:

      Your post fondly reminded me of the best bathroom graffiti I ever read, LAK. “It is better to have loved and lost than be stuck with the bastard for the rest of your life.”

  4. Talie says:

    I agree about William — I think it was in this book that Diana is quoted saying that she hoped William would follow the model of JFK Jr. But JFK was effortlessly charming and actually seemed to enjoy the attention a bit. William, and Harry too, seem very weighed down by it all. Maybe if Diana had lived, things would’ve been different there.

    • Suze says:

      I think that was a forlorn hope of Diana’s. JFK Jr. had a lot more freedom than Wills will ever have.

      Although it all ended badly for him, too.

      • LAK says:

        Suze: I strongly disagree with you where the william vs JFK Jr levels of freedom are concerned.

        JFK jr was hunted as much as Diana. Between them, with a dollop of Caroline and Stephanie, they kept the few gossip mags and Sunday papers in business.

        I think William has resented his perceived lack of freedom without really testing the boundaries of that theory unlike JFK Jr and to some extent, Harry.

        Eg Jackie had to go to court to make the paps keep 100yards from JFK Jr and to stop following him around when he was still a pre-teen.

        That didn’t stop the media publishing every little detail of his life including exam results. He was followed everywhere he went the minute he stepped out of his front door. It’s no wonder CBK went into self imposed seclusion. They couldn’t afford the kind of protection they needed to keep paps/public at a distance.

        In comparison William has had a lot of protection throughout his life, but seems to think he hasn’t had any at all.

        I’ll never forget a quote attributed to JFK Jr which was along the lines of his understanding why the public were interested in him and to find a separation from that interest that allowed him to live his life whilst also acknowledging that interest.

        And no matter the rabid interest, he did manage to live his life gracefully and I always think that’s what Diana wanted William to emulate.

      • Suze says:

        LAK, I meant only that JFK was free to live where he wanted and to pursue the career he wanted, and William is not.

        There was insane media interest in JFK Jr. and he did handle it well. His wife, unfortunately, did not.

      • bluhare says:

        JFK, Jr. was so handsome. I agree with you both. I think Harry’s more in the JFK, Jr. mode than William is, although I can see similarities there too!

      • AM says:

        Harry has that JFK Jr. sparkle. William is more of the Caroline.

      • bluhare says:

        Agree, AM. William’s similarities to JFK, Jr. are more along the lines of dilettantism, IMO. John had to try and figure out what to do and skipped around a lot as well.

      • LAK says:

        AM: I have a confession.

        Every time I see mention of Caroline, my instinctive thought is always ‘poor Caroline!’

        And I mean that in reference to your comment.

      • AM says:

        Ha! Caroline is a very successful woman by many measures, which makes me feel even worse when I wonder how she ended up with all those teeth in her mouth. The two of them could get together and commiserate about Windsor jawline vs. Kennedy jawline.

        Great comparison. And to be fair to William, I think it took Charles some time to find a role and he faced criticism for it in his 20s. At the same time, William is now almost as old as his father was when he married, and William is now married with a child. Time to put away childish things, to loosely reference the passage read at Diana’s funeral and Williams’s wedding.

      • Suze says:


        It astounds me that Kate and William are almost the age Diana was when she died.

        Caroline Schlossberg has been very successful in leading a private life. In fact, it’s so private most of the public have no idea what her husband or children look like.

      • LAK says:

        AM: Those poor children……. Windsor horse teeth and jawline coupled with Kennedy horse teeth and big forehead. shudder!!!

      • mayamae says:

        JFK Jr. was able to live in New York City without security. He rode his bike as well as walked his dog in Central Park. I think he was much freer than William. It’s not fair to compare them since JFK Jr. was a private citizen, but I think we’re comparing how fame affected their lives.

      • wolfpup says:

        Wasn’t Caroline recently asked to be the ambassador to Japan?

      • LadySlippers says:


        Caroline Kennedy is currently the Ambassador to Japan — she’s been there for about a year or so.


  5. bettyrose says:

    I didn’t read the book, but I really enjoyed Kaiser’s analysis of it. I like hearing about Diana, but I don’t know if I’m interested enough to invest the time in finishing a book. I think I’d probably end up having CB’s response to it.

    So, having said that, I finished Michelle Knight’s memoir in one sitting on Friday night. I didn’t even realize she’d published a book until I saw her on the cover of People at the check out line. Within the hour I’d bought it on Kindle and within three I’d finished it.

  6. Anne tommy says:

    Oh for god’s sake, it was sad that she died young, it always is when a mother leaves young Children, but she was not a saint and was not beautiful. Prettty , ok. Time a bit iof reality crept in.

    • FLORC says:

      Inner beauty can make a physically pretty person appear gorgeous. It’s all about perception. There are some stunning shots of Diana in videos and photographs. Though not beautiful in model terms she was a beauty.

      • Suze says:

        Diana was also incredibly photogenic.

        I don’t think most people believe Diana was a saint, at least not now. Too much info has made it out to the public.

      • AM says:

        There was something deeply, inherently glamorous about Diana, as well. Perhaps her features on paper should not have added up to world class beauty, but boy, was she ever.

      • @Suze
        I would think that it’s only the Royal Loonies who don’t think she’s a saint. I remember when I was in seventh or eighth grade, we had to look up things on philanthropic people–people who are famous for that….I researched Diana that year. And that’s all you’ll really know of her. I had never heard or read anything about Diana’s affairs, or how she was calling her married lover’s wives homes….just that she was very generous, charitable, etc, and how she died. Not much more. Basically the picture I got was Diana was this poor, young woman who married a cheating d-bag, and who finally got separated from him, was living her life, and then died–which is all true, but there’s more to it than that.

    • Jaded says:

      She was charismatic – most people aren’t, but she had it in boatloads. So no, she wasn’t conventionally pretty but her charisma shone through and made her stunning. Like most of us she was neither saint nor sinner but someone who knew she could make a difference, who could galvanize people and the monarchy into doing good for society. Unfortunately that very quality was what brought so much chaos and turmoil into her life, and ultimately ended it.

      • mayamae says:

        In my opinion, the same can be said about Jacqueline Kennedy. Some think she was gorgeous, others homely, and others think she was simply unique.

      • jjva says:

        Man, if Lady Di wasn’t conventionally pretty, then *who is*?! I’m not yelling at you, I promise, I’m just all “wha …?” because I always thought she was considered the epitome of the phrase.

  7. Stanhope says:

    Whatever else is said, Diana like Jacqueline Kennedy, was one superb mother despite a torrent of obstacles. Charles and Camilla will rot in hell as all of this wasnt necessary and those two were the adults.

    • PHD Gossip says:

      I think a lot of the problems with William stem from his anger at the RF and how his mom was treated. It wouldn’t surprise me if he thinks they were somewhat complicit in her death. No wonder then why he embraced the Midds and barely participates in royal events.

      • wolfpup says:

        hmmm – hadn’t thought of that. I have wondered how much of Williams attitude might stem from his mother’s own frustration with the institution.

      • kcarp says:

        that is a great observation. I think you may have a point. He was craving a real family, and warmth. He was also old enough to see and hear all of the drama that went on.

      • Stephanie says:

        That is an excellent point.

      • wolfpup says:

        I wonder if William might resent the fact that he has to be royal, in part because of the feelings of his mother, specifically her panic at being(?) trapped.

        I do not, however, believe that William wonders if there is some sort of sinister element in his family.

    • bluhare says:

      I think she really tried, but I also think she damaged her children as well. The neediness that drove away Charles wasn’t good for her children either. They couldn’t solve her problems.

      • AM says:

        I think she really, really loved her children.

        Whether that translates into great parenting is up for debate.

      • bluhare says:

        Oh I think so too, AM. I think having them probably saved her in lots of ways.

      • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

        I agree with you bluhare and also with points made above by LAK & Suze.

        I read this book and enjoyed it but I must confess that Diana’s behavior often made me feel angry with her. Her focused and successful quest to hurt and embarrass her husband and his family publicly for their wrongs to her was harmful to their children. She put her own childish need for vengeance over their mental and emotional well being, sometimes causing them to be angry with her, especially the Panorama interview. As many of us know first hand, trashing your ex when they are the father or mother of your child, no matter how true, causes your children nothing but anguish.

        Despite claims about her need for privacy, she deliberately made choices (like working out in a high profile gym with windows open to the street instead of the KP Gym and giving up her RP service) that invited the press in and exposed her to further publicity and invasions. The mad running about Paris on the final night when they could have stayed sequestered in the Fayed apartment is especially troubling given how tragically it ended for her and her family.

        She also did some of the meanest, most childish things to people I have ever heard. Brown reports that Diana tipped off the press and led to Fergie’s total banishment for the toe sucking incident in order to deflect attention from her own doings and to make herself look better. She said horrible things to the boys’ nanny out of jealousy to the point she was threatened with legal action. She also deliberately went after at least two married men and did everything she possibly could to tear them away from their wives and children. This after all her posing as a sainted innocent victim of a philandering cold husband, how could she?

        In the end, despite her undoubted gifts, she comes across as a terribly immature, self centered child who believed that because others hurt her feelings, there were no moral or ethical limits to what she could and should do to strike back. After all she was a victim!

        I am sure my reaction will produce great outrage because so many people idealize her and see her as a lovely role model and I understand and appreciate that impulse. I felt it for her too and that’s why she disappointed me so much in the choices she made. I wish so much she had lived and found a better path away from her destructive impulses and patterns.

      • wolfpup says:

        I believe that love is the most important foundation that a child could have. A mother may not be able to do more than that (and there are tons of reasons), but in the last analysis, one has to hope that the child (especially one who has the world at his feet), will surmount any difficulties of youth, by strength of character. Everyone misses Diana, and it would be awful to lose her as a mother, but it’s used as an excuse for William, way to often. I wonder if he has come to believe it himself!

        My mother had her mother die when she was 5, and her father, when she was 12. She always seemed like a normal woman to me, even having survived being orphaned. Seriously, she was the daughter of a poor dirt-farmer, and it was awful for her. The sad story of Diana’s sons just is not a valid excuse for their confusion. Boo-hoo. (sorry)

      • LAK says:

        Boredsurburbanhousewife: that Fergie Incident……

        Paps dug trenches around the house and lived in them for days in order to get the money shot!!

        The villa was more secluded and off the beaten track than WK’s french holiday villa, but those were the lengths paps would go to get the picture back in the day.

      • Suze says:


        I always felt the paps had it out for Sarah to a vicious degree, and I could never work out why.

        During her lifetime, Diana got a huge pass on her behavior, even as she was photographed everywhere. When she was hounding Oliver Hoare and Will Carling, so much was covered up.

      • LAK says:

        Suze: several things:

        1. It was financially more beneficial to sell the sainted Diana image to the public than the reverse.

        2. The media deliberately set up a Saint Diana vs Devil Fergie narrative. And it worked because it became financially more beneficial to sell the devil Fergie image to the public.

        3. Diana often used Fergie as a canary which further fed into the devil Fergie image.

        4. The gloves finally came off in the final couple of years when Diana became more open about how much she colluded in media stories about the royals. People started to see how manipulative she was and the tide started to go the other way.

        5. IF she had lived, and continued her manipulation, i firmly believe she would have been disliked by now. She was already mocked in her own lifetime for pushing the saint Diana image so as cold as this sounds, dying was the best thing that happened to her legacy.

      • AM says:

        Didn’t Diane Hoare threaten or try to go to the press? And it was all covered up. Julia Carling might have said something as well.

        I feel for Fergie and Andrew to some extent. I think if it hadn’t been for the media, they would have been able to stay together, even with the affairs. Then again, they had a lot of issues.

        People forget that the headlines the day before Diana died were all vicious toward her. I don’t think she would necessarily be disliked today, but I do think part of the reaction to her death was guilt at all the ill will that had been directed at her all summer.

      • d says:

        @ boredsuburbanhousewife: I completely agree. I always shake my head at this image people create of this paragon of compassion and empathy because her ACTIONS say otherwise, in terms of her personal life. No doubt she had good qualities, but she mostly comes across as a silly emotionally immature woman with terrible judgement, all of which was made worse by the pressure she was under and the enemies she created in the royal family circles. She was a master manipulator of PR, but she was her own worst enemy too.
        I’m on the fence as to whether she would have eventually figured it out, and settled down or whether she would have continued on her self-destructive streak. I kind of think she lacked the personal security and space and time that she would have needed to get mentally and emotionally healthy though and to get a healthy perspective on her situation. And was there really a man out there for her who could have given her the security she needed (I think that dr. guy was a just a fantasy that could never have worked over the long run, much as she said she loved him). Can talk about this stuff for hours…

      • LAK says:

        AM: Julia Carling called her out. Diana Hoare was more discreet though it ended up in the papers.

        Julia Carling gave an interview to the DM which i can’t find online, but here are some quotes from it,’a pathetically grasping Other Woman,”picked the wrong couple’.

        The evening standard piled on “This time, it’s Diana humiliated on the sidelines, a little hussy and frustrated home wrecker,” clucked columnist Peter Bradshaw in the Evening Standard.”Diana is always seen as a victim, but in this case she is seen as a predator.”

      • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

        @LAK agree with every point. I thought in the book Tina struggled after page after page reporting the mean predatory and callous actions of Diana toward others in her immediate vicinity to “right the ship” and remind everyone of how kind and empathetic she could be towards strangers in hospitals and victims of landmines etc. Yet she was completely unconcerned with the feelings of those closest to her. Her treatment of her friends, her family, and her most faithful employees was horrible. The old friends she used as go betweens for the Morton book she coldly cut off and threw under the bus the moment she realized the book was becoming an obstacle to her goals. The faithful press secretary she lied to and snuck around to do her Panorama interview. Her sister Jane and Jane’s husband who were put in an excruciatingly embarrassing and awkward position with their employer, the Queen. Her adolescent sons, who were teased and humiliated by their classmates after both Panorama and the embarrassing international peep show of her summer revels with the al Fayeds. And think of the ripple effect of her selfish manipulation of the press– not just Fergie but Eugenie and Beatrice too. And how about the Hoare and Carling children? She also flat out lied about things to make Charles look bad like throwing herself down the stairs in a a state of suicidal despair.
        Sometimes I just cannot believe the way people can idolize someone so unfeeling for the consequences of their own impulses on those around them. I cannot blame the Queen for feeling Diana was like a live grenade and having no clue how to handle her. I surely would not know. I also wonder whether there was a void in her emotionally that was so yawning, vast and needy that even if Charles had indeed been hopelessly in love with her at the beginning he still would have disappointed her and let her down.

      • Montréalise says:

        I agree with everything that boredsuburbanhousewife said, and I’d like to point out that the image many people still have of Diana – namely, the eternal victim – was an image which was created and successfully sold to the public by Diana herself, a master manipulator if there ever was one. I always thought that the Morton book (which was, for all practical purposes, her ghostwritten memoir) resembled an affidavit in a bitter divorce proceeding, in which the party writing it portrays herself as the terribly wronged victim of a horrible spouse. Prince Charles never gave his side of the story, so the wronged-victim image stuck in the public’s mind.

      • AM says:

        Charles DID tell his side of the story, in his version of the Morton book, written by Penny Junor. He also gave an interview similar to the Panorama interview. Both the Morton and Junor books need to be taken with a pillar of salt.

      • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

        Nothing PC could say was going to work here. Diana was too charismatic and effective at pr for it to ever work, plus he was compromised by his relationship with Camilla. He made a terrible mistake with that Martin Bashir interview and I think he knew it immediately because he changed his tactics afterward. I fault him for embarrassing his children with that interview. At the same time in I imagine that he rather desperately felt like if the public only knew the real story they would understand. They could not and did not want to. Camilla was the smart one. Like Jackie, she kept her mouth shut and over time that increased her prestige.
        One of Tina’s more interesting insights is that by going public, Diana pushed her rival into a locked embrace with Charles. The Parker Bowles had a long marriage with an understanding and Camilla and Andrew did not especially want to divorce. When they were “outed” by the Morton book, A Parker Bowles had no choice but to get a divorce. After that, Charles truly became Camilla’s only possible endgame. Again, short term tactics, long term strategic disaster. Diana too often outsmarted herself.

      • LAK says:

        AM: he really didn’t. The interview is on youtube. He gave full access to Jonathan Dimbleby for wide ranging book and interview and if you watch the bit where he talks about his marriage, he doesn’t really say much except to acknowledge-sort of, that he wasn’t faithful once the marriage broke down. He says that Camilla is a great friend whom he has known for a long time, but doesn’t say who he has been unfaithful with. And he is very careful to speak well of Diana.

        The rest was tabloid fiction because of course Diana had outed Camilla in the Morton book, and the media had been speculating for months about it. The fact that he mentioned Camilla at all was taken as a confession. And of course Diana attended an engagement in a dress specifically designed to upstage Charles’s ‘confession’

        Penny Junor is a Charles groupie. It’s difficult to take anything she has to say without watering it down first.

      • LAK says:

        Boredsurburbanhousewife: exactly.

        I’ve always felt that by outing Camilla, Diana simply pushed her into Charles’s arms. It’s all very well to say she didn’t want to live a lie, and her intention might have been to ruin Charles/Camilla arrangement, but it had the opposite effect and in many ways paved the way for the Charles/Camilla epic ‘love story’.

        I also feel that by focusing on Camilla as opposed to all the other mistresses, she pushed Charles in that direction too.

        My personal view about Diana is exactly yours, though I applaud her work ethic.

        Isn’t it amazing that in this day and age we applaud a work ethic? When I was growing up, it was a given that one would work. Even the ladies who lunched took to describing their lunches as ‘work’ for various charity parties they were planning.

      • bluhare says:


        Link the the interview LAK’s talking bout.

      • Halina says:

        You forget that Charles’s documentary was followed by his biography that featured Charles and Camilla’s (sorta white washed) love story and implicated that they gonna be 2gether5ever

        It was Charles documentary/biography that had ultimately broke the Parker-Bowleses marriage. It survived Morton’s books just fine.

    • wolfpup says:

      Charles has always felt so entitled. I think historical data informed his decision to flip off current morays, in the continued dalliance with Camilla.

  8. Liz says:

    Britain doesn’t need a monarchy. This book in my opinion just proves that more.

    • wolfpup says:

      How could they ever end the constitutional monarchy? They would have to end the House of Lords as well, no?

  9. Eleonor says:

    Watching the marriage photos I have to say this: Diana’s wedding gown was really really awful.
    A tragic mess.

    • LAK says:

      We had to watch it in school assembly.

      It helped that our reading material that week was Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. Her wedding was my fairytale book illustrations come to life.

      The glass coach, the tin soldiers, the horses, the big voluminous dress and train that took forever to get out of the coach despite her walking to the top of the steps, the tiara.

      The Prince in his uniform. A Queen AND a Queen Mother. Princes and Princesses. The cathedral and the grandness of the occassion,. An actual palace. Crowds.

      Sigh. I was a very happy child that day.

      As an adult i’m horrified by the dress.

      I prefer Fergie’s dress.

      • bluhare says:

        I liked Fergies dress better too, LAK. Liked it better at the time, too. Diana’s dress looked all wrinkly, and then I read one of my many bios years later and it did wrinkle horribly; no one had thought about it having to be stuffed into that carriage.

        It also helped that Fergie looked the best she ever looked that day too. But her dress had lovely detail work on it.

    • Suze says:

      At the time Diana’s dress was considered a great success and was widely copied.

      The early eighties were a very different time. The fashions have not help up at all.

      Sarah’s dress was extremely flattering to her. I wasn’t crazy about the window box of flowers on her head or the big “A” emblazoned on her train, but the overall shape of the dress was very pretty.

      • Snappyfish says:

        That dress was the beginning of wedding comforter chic. It was an atrocious ridiculous mess

      • Suze says:

        Well, I have no idea what wedding comforter chic is, but I agree that the dress, along with other eighties meringue explosions, has not aged well. Those styles may never look acceptable again.

      • bluhare says:

        Suze, I envision wedding comforter chic as something like that Victoria Beckham dress at Poppy Delavigne’s wedding!

    • Amulla says:

      Diana’s gown just got really wrinkled on her way to the wedding in the coach.

      I thought it was really a beautiful gown and a style trend-setter for wedding gowns that followed afterwards.

    • Amulla says:

      I also thought Diana’s bridal bouquet was beautiful, extravagant and lavish. I can’t stand the bridal bouquets that are carried today- small, tight little balls of flowers that are nothing much to look at. I wish cascade bouquets would come back in style. The little known reason they are no longer popular, is that they are far more time consuming for florists to create.

    • Anne says:

      Diana herself didn’t like the dress when she looked back on it in later years.

  10. Ginger says:

    I suppose you could consider me a royal loonie. I vividly recall getting up very, very early and watching Diana and Charles’ wedding live when I was a child. I followed their every step thereafter and can remember the joy when her boys were born. I too had the Di haircut as a teen and had strangers come up to me and tell me that I looked like her all the time. Of course I loved every minute of it. She was truly a gorgeous woman. I had not read this book until now because I feel like most of the books about Diana are complete nonsense. However, this one was very engaging despite already knowing how the story will end. Tina’s intimate involvement with the royals and all of the behind the scenes details were enlightening. I confess I really enjoyed the descriptions of Di’s outfits, especially since I had the pleasure of viewing the real thing at a Princess Diana exhibit on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. I had to stop the book at many points during the chapters about her death. I (again) watched her funeral on TV live as it happened and cried for her and for her boys. This time I cried because I now have a 12 year old son of my own (Harry being 12 when she died) and cannot imagine dying at such a young age and leaving him behind. It was truly a tragedy in that sense. When you recall all of the details leading up to the event too, it’s ridiculous and I just want to shout “Why weren’t you wearing a seat belt?” What I also came away with from the book was just how royal Diana really was. I believe she was more royal than Charles. I think this was something that he wanted initially but then regretted and perhaps was even jealous of later on. There were all those comments about “those Germans”. I too agree that Camilla was a scheming so and so. I still roll my eyes whenever I see those two now that they are married. I liked what Tina said about Phillip’s opinion on their relationship and how he couldn’t understand why Charles would pick Camilla over Diana! At this point in time, I like watching how the boys are growing up into solid Men that Diana would be proud of. I also agree that Harry is so much like his mother and from Tina’s description, like those relatives on her side. I see a lot Charles in William’s quiet reserve compared to his brother. Things are certainly a lot more quiet with the royal family these days.

  11. Tig says:

    She was such a lamb led to the slaughter- Charles could barely fake it long enough to sire the heir and a spare. If she developed “issues” who can blame her?

    Loved Light Bet Oceans- however, don’t see MF as the male lead. Guess he wanted something a bit more “noble” after 12yrs and Macbeth!

  12. Ficeyes says:

    The question that always makes me curious is, why didn’t the royal family not approve of Camilla in the first place? Clearly if Charles had gotten who he wanted as a mate, things would have gone much smoother.

    • d says:

      I’ve wondered this too. I can’t remember all the timelines, but my theory is that while he liked her, he also wanted to play the field and that he liked being known as a playboy prince (not that he was, but I can believe that in his mind, he thought so). And then Camilla got married and it was too late and he couldn’t break up her marriage. I think also that at the time, Camilla’s lineage wasn’t entirely acceptable as wife to the future king of England. Diana was chosen because she was young and hadn’t much experience at just about anything, so her record was clean, so to speak. Not to mention, her lineage was supposedly better. It’s a fascinating sad story. Charles never loved Diana, at all. She was chosen purely as a matter of royal strategy.

    • bluhare says:

      She wasn’t a virgin is what I remember. Back then it was a big deal. Plus she wasn’t someone Mountbatten wanted. Of course, he didn’t get his wish either!

    • FingerBinger says:

      Camilla was not an aristocrat like Diana. Diana’s family already had many ties to the royal family. The Queen is the godmother of her brother Charles. Her brother in law was the Queen’s private secretary. Also, Diana was a virgin and Camilla was not. The marriage of Charles and Diana was basically a business agreement. It wasn’t really a love match.

    • Suze says:

      Camilla was problematic because she was one of the “Sexy Shands” back in the sixties and she was definitely not a virgin when dating Charles. Not that he cared, but back then the palace cared.

      Tina Brown also mentions – and this may have been more to the point – that in 1973 Charles was not ready to get married and Camilla was. Camilla ended up marrying Andrew Parker-Bowles, who was handsome and a great catch. Tina postulates that Andrew was really the one Camilla wanted – he was rich, handsome, sexy and didn’t come with all the royal baggage.

    • Ennie says:

      Let us remember how Camilla is a direct descendant of a royal mistress, Alice Keppel, her great-grandmother (correct me if I am wrong). A mistress that debunked the actual queen at the king’s deathbed in 1910. That happened not so long ago if we think that Alice died in 1947, same year Camilla was born.
      On top of that there was a scandal involving a high profile lesbian affair with a relative of A.Keppel. I read about it, but I do not remember the details.

      I would think that a few decades later, in the 70’s it would have been of bad taste to allow such a marriage, things were still run by the elder Windsors, but look at them lovebirds now. C&C were really one for the other.

      • DameEdna says:

        Alice’s daughter, Violet Keppel, (later Trefusis) was involved in a romance with Vita Sackville-West.
        By some accounts, Violet was such a raging snob that Nancy Mitford, when writing “Love in a Cold Climate” based Lady Montdore, that monstrous (but magnificent) character on Vi.

        Oh, and the gardens Vita made at Sissinghurst are a perfect joy.

        Also, Queen Alexandra rather approved of Mrs Keppel……appreciated her discretion, dontcha know.

      • ennie says:

        yes, I read how she was received by royals, and complained the later king’s abdication for mrs simpson, but to receive them as part of the royal family… sorry about typos computer acting out

    • Jaded says:

      Charles was too busy bedding every blonde-haired, blue-eyed pretty thing around in those days to settle down. He’d had a cold, love-starved upbringing and I think he was seeking all the warmth/sex he could get in those days to compensate for his sterile childhood. He and Camilla had a great chemistry and friendship, but marriage was not on the table at that point. She bagged Parker-Bowles who was a huge catch in those days, and settled down, but neither she nor Charles could forget about each other. It’s reprehensible that they cheated on their respective partners – either with or without their permission, and it shattered whatever childhood dreams Diana had of marrying her prince charming. A terrible shame that Charles was too stupid to marry the woman he truly loved and got talked into marrying someone he didn’t just to provide an heir and spare.

  13. junegorilla says:

    Charles and Camilla were madly in love. For their entire lives. And duty called so Charles went on to marry Diana. I never get the obsession with her. I know that she did some charity work but she seemed more interested in fashion and parties than actual people. And she totally played the sympathy card after the divorce when you know that she was happy as a lark to get rid of that old man and keep a pile of cash. SO sad that she never really got to have a great true love.

    • Jaded says:

      As flawed as Diana was, she didn’t just “do some charity work”. She got down in the trenches with aids patients, the truly poverty stricken, went into dangerous territory in her land mine work. Of course she did the fashion and party circuit because those were the people who had the money and attracted big donors for her charities. She took William and Harry on secret night-time missions to see street people first hand. She threw herself into the work to the point where it eclipsed Charles’s work. The Cambridges will never equal the work that she did and the effort she put into it.

      Furthermore, she didn’t need a pile of royal cash, she had her own money before she married Charles. She didn’t get a huge settlement after they divorced, and wasn’t happy as a lark that she got rid of him, she was heartbroken by the failure of their marriage and Charles’s preference for Camilla.

      Diana was a member of the aristocracy, the titled gentry. She was Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer. Her family is even considered to be more grand than the Windsors, the Spencers being one of the oldest, most aristocratic families in England while the BRF is of more recent German descendance. The Spencer bloodline includes two kings, a Duke and a saint. Her ancestry even linked her as an eleventh cousin to Charles.

      So no, she wasn’t some scheming parvenu who married him for his money and the title, and she worked bloody hard once she became his wife, even though he apparently didn’t appreciate it.

      • Suze says:

        I agree with most of what you wrote, but Diana did receive 17 million pounds in her divorce settlement, which was pretty substantial.

      • Flower says:

        She also received £5million in her fathers will, much to her brothers disgust and fury. All assets and money of great estates traditionally went to the heir, not sisters, Diana’s other sisters got very little in the will, things were never the same between Diana and Charles Spenser after that. When Diana asked him if she could stay at Althorp after the divorce to avoid the press for a while he said “Absolutely not” . He was such a hypocrite at the funeral and everyone in the Cathedral knew it, despite Diana being buried at Althorp ( an offer that those in the know said was more about generating tourist income than compassion for his sister) afterwards he was virtually cut off by the RF, the Spenser siblings, his nephews and many noble and establishment contacts. He virtually slit his own throat with that speech.

    • wolfpup says:

      She changed the way the world looked at aids, at least in America.

  14. vava says:

    She worked hard while Princess, I will give her that. Some of the young royals right now need to step up to the plate, if for no other reason to honor her memory. I’m not so sure she’d be all that impressed with William right now…..just saying.

    But her life was a true mess because of her fame, childhood issues, and other things. I wish it would have developed into a happiness for her in midlife. The whole story is just sad and tragic.

    • bluhare says:

      I agree; it’s a damned shame she didn’t get to get older and see her grandchild. She was only 36 when she died. I think she’d be 52 now. Who knows if she’d have gained any wisdom, found lasting love, or any of that, but she lived a life that is pretty unbelievable with its highs and lows.

  15. Amulla says:

    I always thought Diana’s fling with Dodi Fayed was over rated. It was just a fling, not anything serious.

    • Montréalise says:

      I agree it was just a fling – despite all of Mohamed Al Fayed’s attempts to portray it as a great love affair – but it was also a horrible mistake on Diana’s part. I remember the summer of 1997 well – there was a lot of criticism of her, not just because of her affair with Dodi, but also because of her involvement with the entire Fayed family, who were regarded as the billionaire version of trailer trash. The general consensus was, “She is the Princess of Wales – what in the world is she doing with THOSE people!?!” A lot of people questioned her judgment and her image was beginning to tarnish. And of course if was Dodi who made the monumentally stupid decision in Paris to try to outrace the paps with Henri Paul at the wheel.

  16. Lucretias says:

    Has anybody read Diana in search of herself portrait of a troubled princess? I found that book fascinating and gave some insight into Diana’s behavior. I think Diana’s black-and-white thinking extreme behaviors can be attributed to a possible personality disorder or character style.

    • bluhare says:

      Yup, I think that one’s in the armoire too! 🙂

    • LadySlippers says:


      Several leading psychologists debunked this and Charles was adamant that people wouldn’t think that of her (his camp didn’t listen however). From what I remember is that all the various theories advanced about her possible psychiatric issues (beyond depression and bulemia) had *major* flaws.

  17. Emily C. says:

    That they would have a terrible marriage was a completely predictable outcome. It had nothing to do with anyone scheming, and everything to do with Charles and Diana being utterly incompatible people. She was not some sainted wife waiting at home for her beloved husband who was cruelly abusing her trust. They didn’t even LIKE each other, let alone love each other.

    I’d also like to note that Charles only “cheated” with one woman, the woman he loved and was forbidden from marrying. Diana had a lot more affairs, and the men she chose were very often sleazy as hell.

    I would not trust either Charles or Diana as far as I could throw them.

    • LadySlippers says:


      Actually your post is incorrect on several accounts.

      1) They actually DID like and love one another. If you read how strongly Charles reacted to Diana’s death, you’ll see what I mean. Not only did he openly defy his mother — he was overcome with grief. It was so touching to read about it.

      2) While I agree that Charles and Diana had vastly different tastes — I do believe they could have made their marriage work. They had some loving and peaceful stretches in the early years that demonstrated that quite nicely.

      3) Charles had NUMEROUS mistresses. Camilla was, by far, not the only one. He may have fathered another son by his Canadian mistress (Jason was born in early ’84) and the infamous Kanga Tyron. YouTube “Charles’ Other Mistress” or google Kanga.

      4) Camilla wasn’t his ‘only’ love. They were a fling in the early 70’s and that’s it. It picked backed up in the late 70’s once she provided the requisite two children for Andrew (unofficial aristo rules).

      There are a multitude of reasons why they married but it isn’t the love story you’ve been led to believe. The ‘story’ is Charles needing to rewrite their history in order to change popular opinion about him. As you can see — it worked.

      5) Diana came from an abusive family. Both her father and brother were domestic abusers themselves and that’s the world Diana knew. Sarah Bradford extensively researched this and showed how Diana, unwittingly, created a similar environment in her own house. Charles may not have been abusive but with his fierce temper — Diana might not have been able to ‘see’ the difference. AND in her defence, the entire mechanism of the monarchy can create a similar abusive environment as well.

      • AM says:

        Agree with all of this, especially the manufacturing of the one true love storyline.

        I do think Charles himself wanted to believe in the fairy tale in the beginning – if you search, there are many candid shots of Charles and Diana where he is being very tender toward her, and/or they looked to be having a great time together. Diana, however, wasn’t equipped to deal with the complete lack of emotional support. The more extreme her reactions became, the more he began to look outside the marriage, instead of actually trying to engage in a meaningful way.

  18. Upshot says:

    Diana was 19 years old when Charles, in his 30s, asked her to marry him. Nineteen. He was in his thirties. He asked her to become his wife at 19, knowing full well it was a business arrangement. Who could make a 19 year old girl who has just been proposed to by a royal prince – arguably the most sought after single male on the planet back then – **gag!!!**, believe it’s just a business deal? No one.

    If Charles had a pair of cojones then, even a twee little pair, he would have refused the deal, knowing what he knew at his age then. But he had none. At all.

    Everything hence his utterly self involved decision then has been direct results of the tragic choice he made: buckle under, take the young virgin and everything will work out. Except for her, but oh well. 19 year old sacrifices must be made, as long as they’re not Charles. In fact, I’m quite certain it was his self involved belief he was the one making any sacrifices. Talk about short term vs. long term, but I digress.

    Yes, I dislike this wimp. 🙂 No backbone, soft hands and creamy complected little twerp.
    Although I do agree he has some very talented gardeners.

    If he’d simply, albeit difficultly, stuck to his own love interests and told the Firm to kiss his warty little backside, perhaps I’d have an ounce of respect for him.

    He was 30 or 30-something, lol it’s too late to look it up, and she was a teenager. Imagine being her then. Yes yes she was aristo, and all that entails. But at 19 we are all simply not going to imagine anything such as it being business.

    Of course her behaviour in following years are owned by her alone. No doubt. But I stand by my theory if he’d just had some spine he’d never have married her to start it all rolling downward into the royal mess it became.

    • DameEdna says:

      That Charles married Diana purely as a business arrangement has been disputed by partisans on both sides. It’s been said there was a mutual love in the days “before the fall”……Charles’ dorky reply to the inane question about being “in love” notwithstanding.

      Yes, Diana may have been a virginal 19 year old but she was hardly a lamb to the slaughter and she was never the Shy Di the press liked to portray. She fibbed that, despite her youth, she shared his interests and was happiest in the countryside following rural pursuits. It would make a cat laugh that Charles believed this but, there you go…….he couldn’t believe his luck.

      Diana knew the ways of the RF…..her family were in royal service, for heaven’s sake. Charles, older but with the arrested development common to privilege, probably thought she knew some of the ropes and looked forward to teaching her the rest. Didn’t work out that way….the people saw her as a breath of fresh air and the adulation went to her head. She wowed, he sulked,

      • DameEdna says:

        Sorry, hit return before finishing my thoughts. Anyway……

        She charmed, he rung his hands. In the end, he probably (intentionally or not) felt so undermined he went scurrying back to Cam’s tender mercies. For me, the most interesting part of the Camillagate tapes wasn’t the intimate chatter but how she was constantly boosting the old boy…..telling him he had a jolly good brain and making him read some dull speech over the telephone.

        That’s probably what he expected to get from the marriage but didn’t. He got it from his second wife tho, as even the Queen’s speech at that wedding acknowledges.

        Di wasn’t all bad though….anyone who throws a bible at her husband’s head whilst he’s at prayer definitely knows how toget someone’s attention.

      • AM says:

        This. Diana had the short term goal of becoming Princess of Wales, without understanding thee long term consequences of being married to a much older man with whom she knew she shared nothing in common.

        And Charles was a fool (and, I think, so relieved that finally here was this girl who wanted to marry him). Too bad they couldn’t have taken the time to actually get to know one another.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Even though both Sarah and Diana grew up around the Royal Family, the actual mechanisms of The Court they didn’t know at all. The BRF just ‘assumed’ both women knew but the reality is neither did. That’s why Sophie had a different transition in because they finally understood that hanging around a Royals wasn’t enough to fully grasp (if you ever can not married or born in) the full totality if the situation.


        I don’t think she was a lamb but she certainly was naive and I can see why she felt that way. The BRF weren’t (and aren’t) monsters but it’d been decades since anyone had married in and they honestly made a huge error not prepping her for what it all entailed.


        I honestly think their marriage needed a more concerted effort to actually work as a team rather than drawing lines in the sand over everything. That IMHO would have made a greater difference in their outcome. I see getting to know one another as part of that overall ‘team’ approach so I agree with you (really get to know one another). Especially on Charles’ part. He came in awfully entitled, although Diana’s lies didn’t help either. *sigh*

    • wolfpup says:

      I had a conversation with my 35 year old son a few nights ago. He was mentioning (for my approval) the 21 year old girl he was hustling. I told him that he was a predator – that he needed to date girls his own age who had the experience to judge him properly. A girl so young does not have the experience to protect herself, and that her friends were probably telling her to lose him, and to imagine what her father would have to say about it. I told him the story of Blackbeard, and the youngest daughter who was so young, that she could not see the red flags, and so ended up with a monster. My son is not a monster, but it is so uneven, and my thoughts were for her. He told me he would stop pursuing her because it is the RIGHT THING TO DO. Her innocence is precious, and she deserves to grow-up in a more natural way. I know some of you will disagree with me for historical reasons, or because of the success of these kind of relationship with someone you know, but isn’t playboy and all that, about lusting after young impressionable women? Isn’t the sex slave trade about this young and virgin thing? UGH!

      Young women can be prey for older and more experienced men! It’s sickening! Diana would naturally be overwhelmed and confused at the power and control politic, as well as not yet knowing who she was. Her fragility and inexperience would naturally evolved into volatility and vindictiveness because that’s how KIDS will often deal with things, because that’s all they have the experience of doing. That’s probably how her and her siblings fought, like children are wont to do. It doesn’t mean that she was a bad person…who hasn’t used those “tools” to try and solve problems? For me, that probably explains her need to go to psychics and others, that she trusted for guidance.

  19. Janelle says:

    Do you know I have never read a book about Diana. I never felt the need to because I lived through the whole saga “live” so to speak and the whole war of the wales was awful . It made the royal family into a soap opera. I am actually glad that we have a peaceful family now with no scandal. It’s less entertaining for the media, but I like many people felt that there was no need for either party to air there dirty linen in public. It served no purpose just sold magazines

  20. Esmom says:

    Oh wow, I can’t believe I missed this yesterday…I actually read the book just for this, but somehow got the date mixed up! I was never a huge Diana fan, although I remember so clearly the last photo shoot she did with Vanity Fair because she had never struck me as beautiful until then. And I can remember exactly where I was when I heard she died — out for a run, listening to the radio on my old yellow Sport Walkman. It was a music station so they typically didn’t interrupt their broadcasts but they did with this news. It was shocking even for someone who wasn’t a fan.

    I have to say I thought the book was a slog, I had a tough time getting through certain parts. But overall, I came away with a slightly different impression than I’d developed of Diana over the years. I think she was more fragile and more volatile than I’d realized. And some of her vindictiveness surprised me, as it was kept pretty well under wraps at the time that it occurred. I learned a lot of things I’d never knew, like the story of her mom and the falling out with her brother, all of which were fascinating in the grand scheme of things.

    Not having been a huge Royal watcher/fan, I was pretty shocked about the extent of the relationship between Charles and Camilla. For some reason I’d always thought that reports about it were somehow exaggerated, but apparently not. But the dynamics were not all black and white, which was interesting to me, too. As much as Charles loved Camilla, he seemed to have moments of genuine love and affection for Diana. And it was sweet to read about how much he loved/loves his boys, something missing from his own crazy upbringing.

    I liked getting the “inside scoop” on certain events that I remember, too. Hearing John Travolta’s account of their dance made me stop detesting him for a moment. And I was intrigued with the account of her work on behalf of the land mines.

    And my feelings about all the “characters” ended up not being black or white either. Except for maybe James Hewitt, who sounds like a douchebag extraordinaire! I also came away with understanding why some might think there was a conspiracy behind Diana’s death…she was most definitely a thorn in that RF’s side.

  21. Kristen says:

    I’m still getting through this book. So far, it’s really fascinating.

    But I have to say — it’s actually made me think worse of Diana. Her vindictiveness is pretty appalling.

    And if everything Diana said about Camilla is true — my goodness. What a hag!

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, it’s been hard to reconcile the young Camilla in the book with the grandmotherly Camilla of right now. The image of Diana on her honeymoon, for goodness sakes, with Charles already neglecting her and wearing his cuff links from Camilla, was new to me. I really had no idea. And apparently I am the only one!

  22. kristen says:

    It also provides such interesting context for K-Mids and her integration into the Royal Family. Even the uber-long courtship.

  23. Shelley says:

    I love Charles and Camilla. Who would have ever imagined they would be where they are today!