Diana was hailed as the ideal wife for the heir to the throne Charles when they first started dating. She was a 19-year-old blue-blooded virgin who was familiar with the intensity of royal life — but their marriage quickly fell apart. Diana wore her heart on her sleeve and was praised for breaking away from the Royal Family’s ‘stiff upper lip’ mantra throughout her time on the frontline by being compassionate and warm with the public.
Then in 1995, she took the unprecedented step of agreeing to a bombshell interview with BBC Panorama, where she exposed all the flaws within the monarchy.
She famously discussed Charles’ infidelity with Camilla Parker Bowles, and claimed: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
She also gained public sympathy by claiming the Royal Family “see me as a threat of some kind”, and alleged that the royals labelled her as “unstable” and “mentally unbalanced” after she experienced postnatal depression.
However, many royal watchers were horrified by the interview.
Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson said in the Channel 4 documentary, ‘Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview’ that the Princess came to “deeply regret” it.
Royal reporter Phil Dampier said: “Panorama was the watershed moment when the Queen finally decided enough is enough.
“Diana then became increasingly isolated and started to fall out with the people closest to her.”
It left many wondering why the Princess of Wales had been so outspoken about her personal life.
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“As such she could become the boys’ guardian or even appoint one: this would probably be their father and that might lead to Diana’s exclusion if she finally burned all her bridges with the Royal Family.”
Mr Hodgson said that the Queen had no such intention.
Yet, he claimed Diana believed “Charles and his mother had already hatched such a plot and were only waiting for the right moment to execute it”.
In response, the Princess of Wales tried to use her popularity with the public instead.
Yet, the interview actually ended up catalysing her split from Charles and meant Diana was quickly ejected from the royal fold.
The Queen urged the Prince and Princess of Wales to finalise their divorce by the following year, in order to stop them both publicly addressing their problematic marriage and tarring the Firm’s image.
Under the terms of their separation, the couple had equal access to the children.
When they divorced, the arrangements regarding Prince William and Prince Harry were privately made between the parents rather than in the legal agreements.
‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’ by Howard Hodgson was published by John Blake in 2007 and is available here.
‘Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview’ will be aired on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.