The Surprising Way Princess Diana ‘Baffled’ Queen Elizabeth

Princess Diana died in 1997 but her influence, and the power that she had with the public and the media, lives on. Fans are still obsessed with her unique personality and the tragic circumstances that surround her death.

But, more than anything, fans are enamored with the revolutionary way that Princess Diana changed the royal family. While a common misconception is that Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth, her mother-in-law for many years, didn’t get along, some recent news stories have dived deep into their relationship, giving royal fans some insight into their complex, sometimes-troubled connection.

Princess Diana was very young when she joined the royal family

Princess Diana during a state visit to Canada.
Princess Diana | Getty Images

Princess Diana was only twenty-one when she married Prince Charles in an extravagant ceremony that the whole world watched. The shy young woman was immediately immersed in a world very different than the one that she had previously known.

Her relationship with Queen Elizabeth started off as a rather distant one, as the queen reportedly thought that Princess Diana would have a deeper understanding of what was expected of her. When Queen Elizabeth realized what a difficult time that the young woman was having, she likely became a lot more sympathetic to her situation.

Still, Princess Diana developed a reputation as a bit of a royal rule-breaker, especially when it came to parenting in the palace. Some sources state that when it came to Princess Diana’s parenting techniques, Queen Elizabeth was definitely not a fan.

Princess Diana loved to be a hands-on parent, and even though she did have a nanny, she preferred to do most things with her children herself. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth stated that she didn’t understand why Princess Diana felt the need to be so hands-on, exclaiming that there were “millions of housemaids around.”

Queen Elizabeth was ‘baffled’ by Princess Diana

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Today marks #999DayUK, when we celebrate and say thank you to our incredible Police, Fire and Emergency Medical services ‍♀‍‍⚕ and all our specialised emergency services for all that they do to keep us safe. The first photograph in this post is of The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex and their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, with their cousins Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall in the yard of the Old Fire Station in the grounds of Sandringham House in 1988. On 999 Day later today The Duke will visit @TheFirefightersCharity at Harcombe House in Devon to hear about the support that the centre provides to members of the fire and rescue service and their families, and meet representatives from across the emergency services sector. On the extraordinary work of our emergency services, The Duke of Cambridge said: "As a society, we owe our wellbeing, and indeed our lives, to the men and women in our emergency services who work tirelessly to protect us in some of the most difficult circumstances. It is only fitting that we should recognise the vital role that they play, and pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities." 999 Day begins annually at 9am on the 9th September (the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month) and is held to pay tribute to the invaluable work that is carried out by the emergency services and responders. Getty images / Press Association

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As time went on, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth likely settled into a rhythm that resembled that of many families. When it came to Princess Diana’s public presence, there was no doubt that people absolutely loved her, which helped to draw some positive attention to the royal family. A recent news report claims that, in fact, the queen appreciated Princess Diana’s uniqueness even if she was “baffled” by her on occasion. 

There was frustration there as well, especially as Princess Diana’s relationship with Prince Charles got worse and worse. Reportedly, the queen very much wanted to help her depressed daughter-in-law but had no idea how. Some have claimed that Princess Diana had an emotional breakdown in front of Queen Elizabeth in the final days of her marriage to Prince Charles, and the queen was quite taken aback, not sure of what to do.

There was probably real love between Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth

Ultimately, Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced, and they went on to live separate lives. There was a significant amount of negative attention on the royal family in the days immediately preceding and following their divorce, as the media liked to portray Princess Diana as being in a sort of war with the royals. It is likely that Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana didn’t speak much during this troubled time.

Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997 reunited the family in grief, as they reflected on the loss of someone who had meant so much to the world. The queen — while she received criticism for the way she handled Princess Diana’s death publicly — ended up giving a touching speech about her former daughter-in-law, claiming that she “admired and respected her.”

It seems obvious that even though they had their ups and downs over the years, the queen really loved Princess Diana for the good work that she did and the great upbringing she provided for her two boys.