Princess Diana Was ‘Admired and Respected’ by Queen Elizabeth II — Here’s Why

While Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana had their differences, the leader of the monarch revealed after the tragic death of her former daughter-in-law (Princess Diana and Prince Charles finalized their divorce in 1996, a year prior to Diana’s passing), she actually “admired and respected” her. Ahead, learn why Queen Elizabeth II felt that way about Princess Diana. 

At the age of 36, Princess Diana succumbed to injuries sustained in a car accident on Aug. 31, 1997, in Paris, France. Following her death, the world mourned and paid their respects to the late royal by placing flowers, cards, and other mementos outside the gates of Kensington Palace.

Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William
Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William look at tributes to Princess Diana, outside Kensington Palace on September 5, 1997. | Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Princess Diana’s children, Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, who were 15 and 12 years old when their mother died, remained at Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II’s summer home in Scotland, for a few days with other members of the royal family, including their grandmother. 

Queen Elizabeth II came under fire for staying at Balmoral as long as she did and not returning to Buckingham Palace immediately following Princess Diana’s death. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II was at Balmoral when she learned of Princess Diana’s death

The day before Princess Diana’s Westminster Abbey funeral, Queen Elizabeth II spoke publicly for the first time about the royal’s death (more on what Queen Elizabeth II said later).

Why Queen Elizabeth II ‘admired and respected’ Princess Diana 

Queen Elizabeth II expressed her feelings in a letter she wrote in the days following Princess Diana’s death. She confided in one of the people closest to her, Lady Henriette Abel Smith, a lady in waiting, according to ABC News.

In a personal and emotional letter, Queen Elizabeth II opened up to Smith about the heartbreak she and the rest of the royal family suffered when they lost Princess Diana. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

“I think your letter was one of the first I opened — emotions are still so mixed up but we have all been through a very bad experience!” Queen Elizabeth II wrote in the letter’s postscript.

Also in the letter, Queen Elizabeth II detailed why she “admired and respected” Princess Diana. 

“I admired and respected her — for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys,” she wrote. “This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered,” she added.

She described Princess Diana’s death as a ‘huge loss to the country’

Prior to Princess Diana’s funeral on Sept. 6, 1997, Queen Elizabeth II addressed the nation in a broadcast from Buckingham Palace. The night before the funeral, Queen Elizabeth II spoke “as a monarch and a grandmother” wearing a black suit. 

“[Diana] was an exceptional and gifted human being,” Queen Elizabeth II said, adding, “In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.”

Queen Elizabeth II said Princess Diana’s death brought people together

In the same letter to Smith, Queen Elizabeth II remarked on the Westminster Abbey funeral and the way the tragedy brought people together: “It was indeed dreadfully sad, and she is a huge loss to the country. But the public reaction to her death, and the service in the Abbey, seem to have united people round the world in a rather inspiring way,” she wrote. 

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William.
Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William. | Antony Jones/Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II also remarked about her grandsons’ bravery. “William and Harry have been so brave and I am very proud of them,” she wrote. 

As adults with families of their own, Prince William and Prince Harry continue their mother’s legacy by continuing to support Princess Diana’s favorite causes and charities. They’ve also paid tribute to their late mother on Instagram and are reported to have a tradition of honoring their mother’s memory every year on the anniversary of her death.