In the early hours of August 31, 1997 the Queen was told that her daughter-in-law and mother to her grandchildren, 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.”
Queen Elizabeth’s reported first remarks upon hearing the news is telling of the astonishingly fractured relationship she had with Diana and according to a new book, The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward, that comment was just the tip of the iceberg.
Speaking of The Queen's curious reaction, author Ingrid 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."
The in-depth book is filled with revelation after revelation about two women who lived their lives under the intense glare of the public eye.
The book explains that during the early days Her Majesty adored Diana Spencer after her first visit to the royal’s summer home, when she was just 19, was a huge success.
Then known as Lady Diana Spencer, The Queen considered her a perfect fit for princess, as her father and mother both served as royal staff – her blood was as blue as it gets.
The hearty read claims that at the time the Queen wrote to a friend, “she is one of us, I am very fond of all three of the Spencer girls.”
However, cracks soon began to show as the marriage between Diana and Charles soured quickly and her increasing unhappiness was unravelled.
The book’s author told People magazine, “The Queen was desperate to help Diana but she just didn't know how, and Diana couldn't connect with the Queen.”
In fact, after the Princess came to her Majesty in a flood of frustrated tears quite literally crying out for help, the Monarch seemed to be more perplexed by her than ever.
“She just broke down in front of the Queen and no one had ever done that before in her life. She just didn't know how to handle this emotional young woman. She was really just a child," Ingrid revealed.
Emotion this bare, was a completely foreign concept the stoic Queen, she had no idea Diana was battling a depression and an eating disorder – the realities of life as a Princess took a drastic and devastating toll on the young mother-of-two.
Following the divorce of Princess Charles and his former wife, things seemed to get worst for the pair, with the next-in-line to the throne describing her as “mad, mad, mad,” and the royals were convinced Diana was trying to destroy them.
Shockingly, 11 months before he married Diana, the future King reportedly confessed to a former flame via a letter being auctioned off that divorce was one of his biggest fears.
"Starting a family and making a mistake like that is frankly, something which concerns me enormously," he wrote, before adding: 'I shall just have to get married as soon as possible and then all these people might relax a little."
It seems even Prince Charles had grave concerns for his marriage before it had a chance to begin!
The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward will be available for purchase later this month.