Last year, right after I finished reading Finding Freedom, I picked up my copy of Tina Brown’s The Diana Chronicles, which Brown wrote ten years after Princess Diana’s death, with a hindsight-heavy assessment of what actually happened throughout Diana’s royal days. I’ve said before that The Diana Chronicles is one of my favorite Diana books, and re-reading it after Finding Freedom was bittersweet. I was reminded of Diana’s happiness and freedom in the last year of her life, her dreams of the future, her desire to start a new chapter, likely away from England and away from the oppressive royal family. Those dreams were cut short in a Paris tunnel. More than 23 years later, her younger son sat down with Oprah after he followed his mother’s path and learned the same painful lessons. Diana was mentioned throughout the Oprah interview, but these were the most poignant parts:
Later in the interview, the subject of Harry’s own mother came up, with Oprah asking how he thinks the late Princess Diana would have felt about the rifts that drove them to step back from the Royal Family.
“I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out, and very sad,” Harry said. “But, ultimately, all she’d ever want is for us to be happy. I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here with my wife by my side. Because I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for [Diana] going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it was been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other. My biggest concern was history repeating itself. And what I was seeing was history repeating itself, but far more dangerous[ly] because you add race in, you add social media in.”
But Harry went on to reveal that he and Meghan never would have been able to step back from the Royal Family had Diana not left him an inheritance before her untimely death in 1997. Prince Harry and Prince William were both left around $8 million by their mother. The money was invested and gathered interest, with Harry inheriting around $13 million on his 30th birthday in 2014.
Harry explained that he and Meghan were “cut-off” financially from the Royal Family in early 2020 when they first announced their intention to step away from life as working royals, and relied on this inheritance for the last year.
“I’ve got what my mum left me and without that, we would not have been able to do this,” he said of their new life in Santa Barbara. “Touching back on what you asked about what my mum would think of this — I think she saw it coming. I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process.”
I gasped when Harry said “I think she saw it coming.” I’m not sure if Diana could have predicted this for her younger son, the one she nicknamed Good King Harry, the one she thought would have been more temperamentally suited for the role of monarch, more than her older son. I do think Diana would have been so proud of Harry though. She would have been so proud to see him stand up for Meghan and Archie, and to stand up to the Windsor clan. And he’s also right that Diana would be BEYOND furious at Charles, William and the institution. She would be raging at all of them for doing this to her son.
Diana got the last word.
— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) March 8, 2021
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.