Princess Diana….I must admit I’ve always been very fascinated by Princess Diana and her humanitarian work. I’ve admired her since I was a little girl and I when I was alone, playing with my dolls in my room, I would always make stories about the royals and their interactions with one another, my Rapunzel Barbie being Diana and my Malibu Barbie the malicious, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana was a fashion icon, a humanitarian and a symbol of the victimization of the innocent virginal girls by the royalty in their pursuit for their childhood dreams of being princesses or queens. But is this always the case?
I good friend of mine, knowing my obsession with Di, has gifted me with Penny Junor’s book about Prince Charles and Diana, shedding some more light inside their dysfunctional marriage and Diana’s role in it. I must admit that when I first read it, I was a bit shocked as Junor portrays a very different picture of Diana from the one we are all used to. So, starting from there, I decided to do my own research and see if Junor’s allegations were indeed accurate or not.
The first thing that popped in my search for answers was the fact that Diana had bipolar disorder and narcissistic tendencies. In many blogs and newpaper articles was alleged that Diana, due to her traumatic childhood and personal failures(she dropped out of school, had low self-esteem and complexes about her mental abilities) has developed personality disorders which lead to her difficulty creating and sustaining long-term, drama-free relationships. The articles would also mention that her marriage to Charles was indeed not a marriage of love. Specifically, before Diana Spencer was engaged to Charles, it was arranged by the royal family and the Spencers that her sister would marry the Prince. Diana, knowing that, she still got involved with Charles, who even though he did not love her responded to her affections, and after having the Queen’s approval, she proceeded to marry him. On the other hand, Charles had a long time affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles whom he first met in a polo game. The two instantly clicked but Camilla didn’t have the Queen’s approval as she was not a virgin and wasn’t royalty. So, instead she got married to Andrew Parker-Bowles and had a son with him. However, her relationship with Charles continued for many years to come. At this point I should mention this: as it appears, Charles was totally under his mother’s control and he and Camilla, had they had the chance to decide their fate on their own, they would probably had married each other back then.
So, Charles and Diana got married and that day was the beginning of great misery for both Diana and Charles. Junor says in her book that quote:
‘He wanted someone to support him, to help him, to be with him and boost his confidence, and he felt personally responsible for the failure of the marriage.
‘Camilla is a red herring; he didn’t start seeing her again until Diana had been unfaithful [with her bodyguard Barry Mannakee in 1986, before James Hewitt].
In other articles and parts of Junor’s book, it is stated that Diana due to her bipolar disorder was prone to extreme mood swings, aggressiveness and manipulation but also was a very jealous woman. All these took their toll on her marriage and eventually Charles rekindle the flame with his old lover Camilla.
Indeed Diana had multiple affairs during her marriage with Charles, which makes it a bit ridiculous to accuse her husband of unfaithfulness when he went with his one and true love Camilla, and Diana has slept with a dozen of men who were nothing but flings. Nothing close to the meaningful and serious relationship her husband had/has with Camilla.(as they are together after all these years and finally married)
This was an interesting way to see things and I must admit it was a more humane point of viewing Diana, rather than the embodiment of perfection people wanted her to be. In my opinion, the human imperfections make a character more relatable and more real. It’s the true colors people like to see, not a media constructed persona.
Junor also states that Di’s disorder has greatly affected her children. Diana’s jealousy was the reason nanny Barbara Barnes got fired as Diana was afraid of the strong bond between her and William. Also, her frustration with the relationship between her husband and Camilla made Diana give a public interview(the memorable Panorama interview, 1995) where her children and the whole world had been informed about her husband’s affair while she presented herself as a helpless victim who has been irreparably damaged. I personally don’t condone extramarital affairs in any form and that is why I think the kids should not be involved in them and ridiculed by having their family drama broadcasted on TV when people(both kids and adults) could gossip and laugh about them and their family.
But, no matter what, Diana was a star and the world was throw in such a grief when her passing was announced. All in all, I enjoyed reading Junor’s book and it certainly gave me a perspective which most other biographies didn’t. I enjoyed the psychological analyses of Charles, Diana, Camilla, William and many others and despite the criticism it had, I believe that it depicts the reality quite accurately and the intention of the writer was not to badmouth Diana. All people have some issues, me, you and even the royals. Diana was a very interesting person who unfortunately had a really sad life, as many other people did. Many women have been cheated, or even abused, but they had the courage and self-respect to not put it all out there and make sometimes very difficult choices for their lives….and mind you, these women were poor, single mothers, working two jobs or even more to survive. They didn’t get to wallow in their first world problems while they were showered with diamonds and riches like Diana was.
Hope you liked my post! Till next time, stay precious little diamonds xox