June 15, 2017 4:29 pm
From left, from Archive Photos, by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive, from Silver Screen Collection, all from Getty Images.
In 1992, Andrew Morton published Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. The biography, was, Morton revealed in later years, sourced mainly by Diana herself, who recorded her story on tapes for the author. Now, as the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death approaches in August, the book will be republished with the transcripts of those tapes, per The Daily Mail. On one of the tapes, the late princess reveals meeting both Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor—during times in her royal life that were fraught with anxiety.
On the tape, Diana mentions Princess Grace’s funeral following her untimely death in a car crash in September 1982. When Diana told Prince Charles that she would like to attend the funeral to represent his mother, the Queen, he told her he didn’t see why she should.
“I said: ‘Well, I think it’s important, because she was an outsider who married into a big family, and I’ve done the same, so it would feel right.’ So I went to the Queen and I said: ‘You know, I’d like to do this,’ and she said: ‘I don’t see why not. If you want to do this, you can’ . . . I went there, did my bit, came back and everyone was all over me like a bad rash: ‘Oh, you did so well!’ And I thought: ‘Well, interesting.’ ”
Diana, who said that Princess Grace of Monaco had always been “sweet” to her, had a special connection with her. As author Craig Brown noted in his 2005 book, Hello Goodbye Hello,per The Daily Mail, Princess Grace saved the day for Diana at her first public event—a music recital at Goldsmiths’ Hall—with Charles after they became engaged in 1981. The 19-year-old Princess of Wales was noticeably uncomfortable in a dress she herself deemed “two sizes too small” and inappropriate for the occasion. She worried that she wasn’t handling herself properly in the formal setting. Princess Grace noticed and took Diana aside for a chat in the bathroom, where she told her, while patting her cheeks, “Don’t worry, dear—it’ll only get worse.”
While Grace’s influence might have been a positive one for Diana, her encounter with Elizabeth Taylor was a different story. On the tapes, Diana recounted an evening at the theater with Charles when she was pregnant with Prince William. The royal couple went to see Taylor in a production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, where Diana said meeting Taylor “was agonizing,” because she didn’t find her “very easy to talk to.”
She continued: “I thought she was stuck-up. I’d hoped she’d help me out because she’d been on the stage . . . more than I had.”
The connections with Hollywood personalities, though some were more prickly than others, seem to have provided some of the happier times in her marriage to Charles. On the tapes, she refers to the time between William and Prince Harry’s births as “total darkness . . . Then, suddenly, as Harry was born, it just went bang, our marriage: the whole thing went down the drain.”