Queen Elizabeth Was Puzzled Over the Public’s Support For Princess Diana After She Left Prince Charles

Princess Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles was one of the biggest scandals to hit the royal family under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The pair announced their shocking split in 1992, with Charles going on to marry his long-time lover, Camilla Parker Bowles, over a decade later. Although Charles took a major hit in the wake of the divorce, Queen Elizabeth was reportedly puzzled by how much support Diana, Princess of Wales, got from the public.

Princess Diana Queen Elizabeth
Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Inside Princess Diana’s leaked tapes

Diana and Charles called it quits on their marriage in 1992, a move many royal watchers saw coming. But before the couple made the big announcement, a leaked conversation between Diana and her lover, James Gilbey, greatly embarrassed the royal family.

According to Express, the leaked tape all but confirmed that Diana and Charles’s marriage was over. Aside from revealing some embarrassing nicknames Diana had for the royals, Diana slammed Charles for making her life “real, real torture.”

“I just felt really sad and empty. I thought, ‘Bloody hell – after all I’ve done for this f***ing family,” Diana explained.

The recording is believed to have taken place over the holidays in 1989. At that time, Diana would have been at Sandringham with the rest of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth and Charles.

Following the leak, Princess Diana and Charles announced their separation. The pair did not finalize their divorce, however, until 1996. Amid all of the drama, one royal expert claims that Queen Elizabeth was very puzzled as to why Diana was still getting a huge amount of support from the public.

Queen Elizabeth left puzzled over Prince Diana’s support

Between the leaked tapes and Diana’s penchant for breaking royal traditions, Queen Elizabeth was a little confused by how much support Princess Diana received from the public after she called off her marriage.

In the documentary, Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II: Britain’s Golden Queen, royal expert Sarah Gristwood revealed that Queen Elizabeth viewed Diana as a rule-breaker and thought it was strange that people adored her so much.

“It really was, ‘Diana, we love you, we’re with you, we’re behind you.’ And it must’ve puzzled the Queen,” Gristwood shared. “Why, that someone who in her terms was breaking the rules, was doing what wasn’t right, should be the one who garnered this massive international outpouring of sympathy.”

The leaked tape in 1992 was bad enough, but Diana’s interview in 1995 with Martin Bashir proved to be the final straw for Queen Elizabeth. During the interview, Diana famously said that there were “three of us” in her household, alluding to Charles’ affair with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

A few weeks following the interview, Queen Elizabeth reportedly sent a letter to Diana encouraging her to finalize the divorce. Roughly a year later, Diana and Charles made their divorce official.

As part of the divorce agreement, Diana received over $17 million from the royal family, plus a budget of $350,000 so that she could keep her office.

Queen Elizabeth takes heat after Princess Diana’s death

Diana tragically passed away in a car accident in Paris in the summer of 1997. At the time, Queen Elizabeth was enjoying her summer vacation in Balmoral with her grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

After hearing the tragic news, Her Majesty stayed in Scotland with William and Harry, a move that sparked some intense backlash from the media. When Queen Elizabeth finally addressed the country, she admitted that the grieving process had not been easy.

“We have all been trying in our different ways to cope,” she explained. “It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger – and concern for those who remain.”

Although the public was disappointed by how Queen Elizabeth handled Diana’s death, there was a good reason why she stayed in Scotland for a brief time before returning to London.

The reason behind Queen Elizabeth’s delayed reaction

While the public was unhappy with Her Majesty’s delayed response, royal expert Tina Brown says that she distanced herself because she wanted to protect William and Harry from being pushed into the spotlight.

“The Queen was adamant that her place was at Balmoral with her grieving grandsons,” Brown stated. “Everyone rallied around the young princes. This was the first time in a long reign that the Queen was thinking about the family before her people.”

Last year, expert Alastair Bruce supported Brown’s assessment, adding that the royals were more concerned about William and Harry’s well-being than public opinion. At the end of the day, this was probably the best decision Queen Elizabeth could have made given the circumstances.

Queen Elizabeth, of course, has not commented on the reports surrounding her puzzlement in the wake of Charles and Diana’s divorce. Charles is first in line to the throne and will inherit the crown once Queen Elizabeth is gone.

In 2017, the royal family paid tribute to Diana’s legacy during the 20th anniversary of her tragic passing.