Why Princess Diana Was Branded a ‘Master Manipulator’ by Some

Princess Diana was and still is one of the most beloved women in the world. The People’s Princess was known for her charism, many charitable causes, and compassion for the sick and dying. Therefore, it’s not all that common to hear about her in a less than positive light but those stories are out there. According to some royal experts, and those who knew her, there was a manipulative side to the Princess of Wales that the public did not see.

Princess Diana wearing a feathered blue hat and holding her hand up to her chin
Princess Diana wearing a feathered blue hat and holding her hand up to her chin | Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty

Diana was manipulative to her parents when she was a child

The Express noted that royal author Sally Bedell Smith spoke with people who knew Diana when she was a child and claimed that as a young girl Diana manipulated situations with her parents after their divorce.

According to the book Diana: The Life of a Troubled Princess, “Diana realized that her parents’ failed marriage could be beneficial for her, as many divorced people feel guilty and try to make it up to their children.”

Smith wrote: “Young Diana also quickly picked up on that. Both John and Frances wanted Diana’s attention, and didn’t hesitate to do whatever would get them the desired affection of their daughter.”

Princess Diana was later able to manipulate the press

Princess Diana at Taj Mahal
Princess Diana at Taj Mahal | Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

When Lady Diana Spencer began dating Prince Charles, the press followed her every move. That never let up after they got married but many say that the princess became very good at manipulating the media as well. “Let it not be said that she lacked sophistication about the media, her use of it and its use of her,” Times of London editor Peter Stothard said in the documentary Princess Diana: The Woman Inside.

Photographers hounded Diana constantly so she found a way to make them work to her advantage. Piers Morgan recalled one instance when the princess used the press to overshadow Prince Charles and Camilla.

“I remember a classic case of her when Prince Charles had a coming-out party for his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, and Diana was in St Tropez with Mohamed al-Fayed and others. And we got a message — ‘Will you be there tomorrow at 9 a.m. by this beach?’ ‘Yes, why?’ ‘Wait and see!’The next day [the princess] came out and started cartwheeling across the beach,” Morgan revealed. “It was 1-0 to Diana.”

Another example of this was when Diana wanted to send a message to the world about her marriage and went through the press to do so. In 1992, with their marriage was already on the rocks, the prince and princess traveled to India for a royal tour. While there, Charles attended a business meeting and Diana had to go to the Taj Mahal by herself. She figured photos taken that day would be printed all across the globe, and they were. The picture of her sitting in front of the famous building all by herself showed a woman who was an actual princess and married to a future king but looked very lonely in the world.

Diana’s former press secretary admits there were other sides to her

Princess Diana with her private secretary Patrick Jephson
Princess Diana with her private secretary Patrick Jephson | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson, who worked for the royal from 1988 to 1996, authored a book three years after her tragic death portraying her in a light the public hadn’t heard about. The Guardian reported that he claimed that when Diana was upset about something she would send hurtful messages via pager to her staffers.

Jephson wrote: “For all the squandered chances, the stupidity, the occasional downright wickedness, there was something heroic about her just as there was something essentially brutal about those gathered against her.”

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