Queen Elizabeth and Diana: the truth about their relationship

Queen Elizabeth and Diana: the truth about their relationship

For 25 years, exactly since August 31, 1997, the date of Lady Diana’s death, the world has been wondering about how the relationship between the People’s Princess (as Tony Blair defined her) and Queen Elizabeth really was. And today that even the most beloved sovereign in the world has left us, and just a few days after the sad anniversary of the tragic death of her most controversial daughter-in-law, the theme is even more topical.

Did they hate each other? Did they ever really understand each other? Certainly the Queen had staked a lot on the marriage between Charles and Diana. At thirty, his eldest son didn’t seem willing to put his head right too busy sharing his passions (hunting and watercolor painting) and his bed with the woman he was in love with, then and forever: Camilla Shand, married Parker Bowles. And therefore the decision to push him towards a marriage that would secure the monarchy, finding the right woman to be by his side when he became King was strongly influenced by Elizabeth II.

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Diana the shy

Diana, a shy school teacher, from a family very close to the royal house, seems like the perfect candidate, at least on paper. There is nothing accidental in the meetings between Diana and Carlo. Together with her brothers she grows accustomed to the presence of the sovereign a few steps away from her: “[la regina] I’ve known her since I was little. I had always thought: “Look what a royal life is, horrible” »*. At the age of 16, Diana receives, with a royal seal, the invitation to the prince’s thirtieth birthday. Dutch – as they call her, in the family – is the youngest of the Spencer daughters: shy, unsure and dissatisfied with her appearance, she bags into xl wool sweaters like any teenager. She feels fat and unsuitable. Yet she is her chosen one after several candidates, including her sister Sarah with whom Carlo flirts for months. Diana, who inherited a compassionate spirit from her paternal grandmother Lady Cynthia Hamilton, has found a person to devote herself to and perhaps to love; Carlo, a sour but pretty and reserved girl who might even like him, and above all solve the damned problem of marriage once and for all.

The relationship with Elisabetta

After a hunting weekend in Sandringham, everything happened very quickly. When, some time later, Elisabetta gives Carlo permission to invite Lady Diana Spencer to Balmoral, the game is done. Relations between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law are cordial at first. Elisabetta looks at the emotional instability of Carlo’s betrothed with benevolence and patience, tracing the fits of tears, the silences, the tormented air, to a nervousness in view of the big step. She becomes convinced that she is intimidated and needs time to settle into her life at Buckingham Palace when she, after repeated invitations, abandons any attempt to request his company for dinner. Diana denies herself every day with futile reasons and the queen collects and is patient.
When the wedding day comes, on July 29, 1981, while 750 million spectators spread across 74 countries around the world they attend the royal wedding and sigh, dreaming of “the fairytale”, Diana lives her own personal nightmare. From which she even tries to escape, a few hours after her entry into St Paul’s Cathedral. In vain.

After the honeymoon on the royal yacht Britannia, Charles had the bad idea of ​​taking Diana to Balmoral, in an environment frequented by elderly people. At the dinner table in the evening, the Princess of Wales never knew what to say, or she said stupid things that caused embarrassment. She couldn’t stand the Scottish rain, the horses, the dogs, the hunting trips, the hours Charles spent fishing in the River Dee, the time he spent reading books. In short the conditions for a bad marriage were all there but Queen Elizabeth still wanted to believe it. “She always sits in a corner glaring at us. She can’t go on like this, she has to settle down, ”the sovereign told her entourage.

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Meanwhile Diana hopes to find in the Queen an almost maternal support. Between her and her husband then there was always the ghost of Camilla to stir the sleep of the princess. Desperate, Diana had started calling Buckingham Palace, asking if she could speak to her mother-in-law. At first, the Queen had a tolerant attitude towards these intrusions into her daily busy schedule. But the long walks in Balmoral in the company of the queen are worthless, who takes Diana with her in the hope of arousing in her interest in everything that the royal family loves (nature, horses, the harsh Scottish climate) with the effect instead of increasing their disgust. More and more sad for Carlo’s coldness, the princess slowly slips into bulimia. The arrival of the first son William, in 1982, brings Diane and the Queen closer, at least apparently. Pregnancy, however, has complicated Diana’s state of health, due to morning sickness which, combined with bulimia, converge with a devastating effect to break down her body and psyche, and the princess suffers from severe postpartum depression. Elizabeth is not insensitive to the problems of her daughter-in-law, she entrusts her to the care of the most trusted doctors, but it is not enough. The birth of the second son Harry in 1984 worsens the situation.

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Diana the media queen against Elizabeth’s will

Looking for attention and confirmation Diana soon begins to understand that she can find in the flashes of photographers the attention that her husband does not grant her and the appreciation that Her Majesty does not express to her. Thus she begins the second phase of her life made of high fashion clothes (known the connection of her with designers like Gianni Versace) and paparazzi. The first real rift between the queen and the daughter-in-law comes due to a wrong look. These are the years in which the princess’s bulimia is cleared, Elizabeth’s hopes that the birth of two children could save an increasingly unhappy and stormy union were useless. On November 7, 1984, the royal family is called to attend the Queen’s traditional speech for the opening of Parliament. Upon Diana’s arrival, all the photographers are on her: not for the Disney dress she wears, but for her hair, styled in a bun instead of the classic bob. The Queen doesn’t like it. In 1986 the princess asks for a meeting with the Queen and she comes in tears, exasperated and unhappy because she believes that her is “a marriage without love”. Elizabeth receives her but remains impassive in the face of her desperation. Diana does not understand that Elizabeth is queen, and that to a woman raised in rigor and discipline, with her duty as the only compass, Diana’s complaints seem similar to the whims of a child.

Impatient with reasons of state and protocol, the sad princess is at ease only among suffering people, children and the dispossessed. Diana finds in this role a reason for living and a way to enter the hearts of all subjects. Her popularity shows no signs of diminishing and neither are the scandals linked to the release of Andrew Morton’s book Diana her true story in front of which the Queen can no longer be conciliatory. Diana is now clear she is “the queen of the media”. The queen is “stunned”. Diana’s participation in the book is denied everywhere and she assures she is unaware of it, but the content leaves little doubt as to the identity of the journalist’s main source of information.

The scandal interview

On November 20, 1995, the BBC broadcasts the famous interview with Lady D where she pronounces the famous phrase about Camilla: “There were three of us in this wedding, a little too crowded”. In 1996 the annus horribilis arrives for Elisabetta with the divorce of Charles and Diana and the endless scandals that followed the revelations on the intimate phone calls between the future King and Camilla. How can the Queen forgive all of this? Diana’s meanness, her beneficial actions, the constant changes of look, the supposed or true flirtations are continuous attacks on the protocol and on the real machine that would want all members of the family to be compact in the face of adversity. Furthermore, by deligitimating the heir to the throne, Diana also struck the Queen.

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