I just could not resist reading this memoir that included Princess Diana’s own notes about her life. This was the closest one can get to an autobiography, as the first part of the book contained Princess Diana’s notes about her life, and the second part was the biography written from the notes that she then edited.
She describes her life and experiences as a royal with extreme candor. It is clear that because she was very young and immature when she wed, she was not ready for marriage, and certainly not ready to become a world icon.
One experience that really left a lasting impression on her occurred when Diana and Charles were on a Royal visit out of the country. As their car goes down the street, people who are on the side of the road closest to Charles complain, quite loudly, that they are on the wrong side because they can’t see Diana. It hits both Diana and Charles that she has a very large public following, and that truth is difficult for both of them to accept.
Princess Diana’s description of the coldness of the Royal family resonated with me for days. She states throughout the book that no one ever encouraged or praised her for maneuvering through her Royal duties, but that criticism was regular. What I found so sad about Princess Diana’s relationship with Charles and the Royal family is how they didn’t understand her battle with bulimia. Rather than understand that bulimia is a symptom of a very serious problem, they actually pitied Charles for having to deal with her, even though he was so much the cause of it! During one engagement, Princess Diana faints from exhaustion and Charles not only yells at her for fainting but leaves her to return to the party.
Of course, the topic of Camilla is present in so much of her book. We hear how Charles is so worried about Camilla because there were four paparazzi outside her house before Diana and Charles’ wedding, yet he takes no notice of the more than twenty paparazzi outside Diana’s home. I did not know that Princess Diana had confronted her one night at a party to tell Camilla that she knew all about her and Charles. Diana also knows all about the infamous double “c” cufflinks, and the jewelery Charles presented to Camilla, which in my opinion are all really quite embarrassing on Charles’ part.
Today Princess Diana is remembered for her good works throughout the world, particularly by raising awareness about AIDS and landmines. Her fashion sense was unmatched and her quiet and caring demeanor are obviously responsible for the profound effect she had on so many. After reading this book, it is also very clear why Prince William waited to marry until both he and Kate were a bit older than Diana was. During their public appearances, they appear to be a team, something Prince William no doubt learned the importance of after watching the way his mother navigated alone throughout her life.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading Diana’s own words and listening to her true voice.
What is your favorite memory of Princess Diana?