Let’s Talk: Was what the Queen said about Princess Diana’s death heartless? 345

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It was 1997 and news had just broken about Princess Diana’s death. A serious car crash had occurred and news from Paris was filtering through to the Royal family on August 31.

The Queen was in shocked but according to a revealing new book The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait Of The Queen In Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward, she said out loud, “Someone must have greased the brakes”.

Never-before-seen photographs of Diana’s wedding day were revealed this week and confirmed what many royal watchers had suspected over the years: the Queen and Diana’s relationship was anything but amicable.

Behind the scenes, there was tension between the pair as Diana become increasingly unhappy in her marriage to Prince Charles.

Ingrid Seward found that the Queen’s own thoughts on Diana intriguing and complex. She told the Daily Mail that when the Queen met Diana, she was initially very fond of her and her sisters due to their family’s links to the Royal family.

She was accepted but Diana became nervous around the Queen and called her ‘Brenda’ as a joke, as well as making excuses not to have lunch with her mother-in-law.

The Queen took this quite personally, but knew deep down she was not a hands-on mother with the compassionate, caring nature you would expect. Ms Seward said, “like many aristocratic parents of her generation, she had delegated much of the childcare to nannies and to her own mother”.

“Though never giving way to mawkish regrets, she sometimes blamed the disintegration of not only Charles’s marriage, but Anne and Andrew’s as well on her own remoteness when the children were growing up”.

Prince Charles is also thought to have turned to the Queen Mother and Camilla before speaking to his own mum.

The Queen and Diana’s strained relationship only got worse when the Princess revealed her unhappiness in the Royal family to journalist Andrew Morton. She had denied any involvement but once it was revealed she had done it all of her own accord, the Queen was furious.

“She had again failed to understand why the Princess behaved in such an erratic, provocative way”, said Ms Seward.

Days after Diana’s death, the Queen finally addressed the waiting world. She paid tribute to Diana, and in troubled times had learned to forgive. She said, “[Diana] was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her… especially for her devotion to her two boys”.


So we want to know your thoughts today: was what the Queen said heartless? Or is she a product of her surroundings? Has she softened since? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I don’t see how any of us mere mortals can judge this question. The aristocracy and, in particular, the Royal Family, have been brought up differently to us over hundreds of years and many, many generations. Their mind set is not the same as ours.

    1 REPLY
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      • I absolutely agree with David Nossiter.

        Unfortunately, the worst thing Diana was to do was to discuss this and her affairs on TV. In average family situations this would have been considered appalling … airing one’s dirty linen.

        Within the Royal family it would have been considered unforgivable.

  2. Come on, not everyone, royal or commoner, gets along with their in laws. I’ve heard some people get quite sarcastic about their offspring’s choice of partner. At least HRH didn’t dance in the street when the news came out…..

  3. I agree with Anne Gilbert, the Queen would never have said such a thing.

    4 REPLY
    • How do you know she wouldn’t have said it? None of us were there She may or may not have but you cannot say she didn’t.

    • Jan the media makes up things about famous people, lies!
      Please tell me you aren’t naive enough to believe everything the media prints?
      The queen is too professional and a lady, she knows she’s being watched

    • Oh heaven forbid Jean/Anne, I am old enough to understand how the media works thanks so much…all I am saying is “how do you know she didn’t say it”? She is after all a mere human being regardless of her ‘status’ and you must admit, the royal family are not any kind of angels.

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  4. They weren’t normal the royal family in previous generations. The queens parents came here to open the parliament building in Canberra in 1927 when she was less than 1 year old. They spent about 5 months away and must have missed out on seeing her walk, etc. Can you imagine any of the younger royals doing that?

  5. This was all a long time ago i think enough has been said about it,none of us were there so its all hearsay we need to move away from this type of thing

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    • I agree with Rosalie – this constant muck-raking serves no-one but the media. Put it to bed.

  6. Who exactly was with the queen when she was supposed to have said this, I have no time for quotes told by so called insiders.

    2 REPLY
    • Me too. I am sick and tired of all this. Diana has been dead for 19 years please let her rest in peace. Also stop comparing Kate with her. She must be fed up with this comparison all the time. She is her own person

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