Royals

“She is one of us”: The Queen’s relationship with Princess Diana summed up in one touching act

How they survived the ups and downs with respect.
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The Queen died on September 8, 2022, just days after the world marked the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death in a car crash.

Now we’re remembering the unique, oftentimes complicated but ultimately respectful relationship the two royal women had in life.

When did Princess Diana meet the Queen?

Then Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales met the Queen for the first time when she was just 19, during a visit to Balmoral in 1980.

Charles was already smitten with Diana and the Queen was said to adore the young lady too, even writing to a friend: “She is one of us, I am very fond of all three of the Spencer girls.”

Diana’s parents had both served as royal staff and as such their daughter was seen as a perfect match for the Queen’s eldest son and Britain’s future king.

Royal author Andrew Morton claimed: “In the early days, Diana was quite simply terrified of her mother-in-law.

“She kept the formal obsequies – dropping a deep curtsy each time they met – but otherwise kept her distance.”

Fortunately, she eventually found her footing with the Queen and they were said to get along quite well.

Then Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales met the Queen for the first time when she was just 19, during a visit to Balmoral in 1980.

(Image: Getty)

Did the Queen like Princess Diana?

After marrying Charles, Diana’s relationship with the Queen was said to be “second to none” and she even – supposedly – called the Queen “mama” at times.

“That was Diana’s purpose in life,” said former royal protection officer Ken Wharfe.

“She was there to represent The Queen and to do what she thought was the best. Diana’s ultimate aim was to please and help the royal family.”

However tensions began to form between the two women as Diana struggled with her royal role, and when Charles and Diana’s marriage broke down in the ’90s.

“The Queen was desperate to help Diana but she just didn’t know how,” Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told People Magazine in 2015.

“And Diana couldn’t connect with the Queen.”

After marrying Charles, Diana’s relationship with the Queen was said to be “second to none”.

(Image: Getty)

When she reportedly broke down to the Queen about her failing marriage, Her Majesty didn’t know how to respond.

“She just didn’t know how to handle this emotional young woman. She was really just a child,” Seward claimed.

“The Queen was not prepared for it and simply didn’t know how to deal with it. She had no idea.”

Despite tensions, the two women remained respectful even as Diana’s marriage to Charles eventually fell apart and the pair divorced.

Though she lost the styling of “Her Royal Highness”, the Queen allowed Diana to remain Diana, Princess of Wales and still be regarded as a member of the royal family.

When she reportedly broke down to the Queen about her failing marriage, Her Majesty didn’t know how to respond.

(Image: Getty)

How did the Queen react to Princess Diana’s death?

In the early hours of August 31, 1997 the Queen was told that Diana had been involved in a car accident.

Unaware of the seriousness of the crash, Her Majesty allegedly responded: “someone must have greased the brakes.”

Speaking of The Queen’s curious reaction, Seward explained to People: “It is a very old-fashioned, English saying.

“It is the sort of thing people said if someone went down the hill and had an accident. Her very first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, someone has tampered with the car.’ She obviously very quickly knew it wasn’t true.”

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Despite her supposed initial response, the Queen then did something she had never done before and put her family before her royal duty.

She spent several days away from London and the public eye with grandsons Harry and William, helping them through their grief before returning to London for the funeral.

During the funeral, Her Majesty broke one royal rule for the first and only time in her life and bowed her head to Diana’s coffin.

Documentary host Alberto Angela said of the moment: “But that day, it is Elizabeth who bowed her head as a sign of respect for the passage of Diana’s coffin, the woman who more than anyone else had defied the conventions of the Palace”.

The touching act summed up their relationship and showed that despite their differences, there was always respect between the Queen and Diana – even to her death.

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