New Book Dishes on Relationship Between Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth
A new book has come out about the relationship between Princess Diana and her mother-in-law, the Queen of England. In The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words, author Ingrid Seward paints a warmer version of Queen Elizabeth’s feelings towards Diana than previous accounts.
While Queen Elizabeth has often been criticized as cold, especially in the days following Diana’s tragic death, she is reportedly said to have a warmth, and one that was displayed towards her daughter-in-law early on. Seward’s book paints the increasingly strained relationship as more of an inability to understand one another.
Diana grew up in Park House on the Queen’s Sandringham estate. Her father worked for the royal family and the Queen thought of Diana as family. Seward told People:
Diana was like family. She (the Queen) had known her since she was a child. It was like the old aristocracy. As the Queen said, “‘She’s one of us.”
As the marriage between Prince Charles and his wife began to sour, the Queen, according to Seward wanted desperately to help Diana, but did not know how. Diana, for her part, also did not know how to connect with the Queen.
The royals, pre Diana, were not a family that engaged in emotional displays. Diana struggled with her emotions and being thrust into the limelight at such a young age. It didn’t help that her husband, Charles also did not know how to deal with his wife’s increasingly hysterical behavior. Seward says that Diana called the Queen “mama” and broke down in front of her saying, “Oh, mama, Everybody hates me! Your son hates me!”
The Queen grew up in a world of duty first and keeping emotions private did not know how to deal with her emotional daughter-in-law, though it was not due to a lack of caring. Diana, according to Seward, had her own difficulties dealing with her mother-in-law and was reportedly so intimidated by her that she would avoid meeting with her claiming to have plans with friends.
Diana openly displayed love and affection towards her boys, William and Harry, in a stark contrast to the public relationship Charles shared with his mother as a child, something we are seeing repeated in the relationship Prince William shares with his wife, Kate, and their children.
Seward also defends reports that the Queen reportedly said, “Someone must have greased the brakes,” after hearing of Diana’s accident. She claims it is just “a very old-fashioned English saying,” adding, “She obviously very quickly knew it wasn’t true.”
The timing of Seward’s book comes shortly after what would have been Diana’s 54th birthday and shortly before the 18th anniversary of her tragic death. The royal family’s image has improved considerably since Diana died, making way for Prince Charles to marry his long-time love Camilla Parker Bowles. Charles was also painted as cold and uncaring during the years he was married to Diana and especially after the divorce when the two were warring.
Diana was a master at gaining public approval and secretly gave details of her unhappy marriage to Andrew Morton. Princes William and Harry have kept their mother’s memory alive and display a more down to earth and normal image than any previous royals, thanks to their mother’s desire to give them as normal a childhood as possible. Prince Charles has even come around positively doting over his new granddaughter, Princess Charlotte.
What do you think about Queen Elizabeth’s relationship towards Princess Diana. Was the Queen cold and distant or did she genuinely care about Diana, but just not know how to relate? Was Diana, the Queen of Hearts or was she an emotional mess that couldn’t hack royal life? Let us know what you think here at Haveuheard.