When Princess Diana died tragically in a car crash in 1997, the world mourned her death. She was unlike anyone else in the royal family, opening her heart to the most unfortunate across the globe while remaining connected and approachable with the British press and public. Still, despite how much the People’s Princess was adored universally, there was some tension between her and the British royal family.
Though Princess Diana was beloved globally, she never quite found her footing among the royal family. When she and Prince Charles wed in 1981, they barely knew one another, and their age difference meant they had very little in common. It didn’t help that the prince was still in love with his now-wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
It also didn’t help that the princess refused to adhere to some of the stuffy traditions of royal life. Unfortunately, her carefree ways often put her in direct conflict with the royals, including Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles had an unhappy marriage
Though they remained married from 1981 until they separated in 1992, officially divorcing in 1996, the Prince and Princess of Wales have a very challenging marriage. The princess was just 20 years old when she married the 33-year-old prince. Separated from her family for the first time in her life, she found life within the royal family extremely isolating and confining.
“[Princess Diana] was just bitterly unhappy, she was disappointed in her marriage as was Charles it was a car crash from the very beginning,”royal biographer Penny Junor describes it, “When Charles and Diana got together it seemed on paper that this was the most perfect match, but Diana’s childhood had been very difficult and the happy jolly-go-lucky venire that she presented to the world was nothing more than a venire. Charles was a very complex character and the two of them was about the worst match you could possibly have made.”
Still, though her marriage was shaky, the princess remained devoted to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. She also threw herself into her charity work.
Princess Diana never quite fit into the royal family
Prior to joining the royal family Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge had a near-decade-long introduction into royal life. Likewise, though she and Prince Harry wed much faster, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex also received a crash course in what it means to be royal.
Princess Diana was not given such a luxury. Essentially, she was thrown into royal life and was forced to either sink or swim. By the time the princess got pregnant with Prince William, she was deeply unhappy.
She suffered from bulimia nervosa, a binge and purge eating disorder. Additionally, she tried to self-harm on multiple occasions. During her pregnancy with Prince William, she threw herself down a flight of stairs. “She acknowledged that she was now seen by the rest of the royal family as ‘a problem,’” Andrew Morton wrote in Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words.
Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth once argued over the princess’ new hairstyle
Though she had the weight of the role on her shoulders, the princess was a young woman who wanted to express herself whenever she could. In 1984, Princess Diana debuted her new haircut at the State Opening of Parliament.
The media immediately flocked to the People’s Princess’ new hair, ignoring the events of the day. Queen Elizabeth was not pleased. According to the documentary, H.M The Queen: A Remarkable Life, the queen was infuriated with her daughter-in-law’s appearance. The princess’ hair was as long as it would ever be and she’d styled it into a chignon.
“[Diana] had this incredible new hairstyle and this very important dignified occasion – which is all part of the process of being the sovereign – was just blown out of the window because all the newspapers and the televisions really concentrated on Diana’s hairstyle,” the narrator said. “Now, this I was told really close to the time really infuriated the Queen. She didn’t mind Diana having a new haircut – that wasn’t the point. The point was that by introducing it on the day of the Opening of Parliament, she took all the emphasis away from the dignity of the occasion. That was not very good for democracy and for the House of Windsor.”
Following this occasion, Princess Diana and her hairstylist, Richard Dalton went for more low-key looks. “She was very careful not to overshadow the Queen in the future,” Dalton explained to Express.