While the Queen ended up sharing a close relationship with Camilla later on in life, she didn't really have the same with Diana towards the end.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 9, 2022. It has since been updated.
Queen Elizabeth was the longest-reigning British Monarch, who passed away on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. While she had a fruitful life, as the Queen of England, her family life was far from perfect.
Three out of her four kids' marriages ended in divorce. In 1992, her daughter Anne divorced her husband Mark Phillips, and in 1996, Charles split from Diana, and Andrew separated from Sarah Ferguson, according to TODAY.
After Diana's death in 1997, when King Charles III presented the idea of marrying Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Queen wasn't too keen on their union. In a biography by British investigative journalist Tom Bower, Charles confronted his mother about welcoming Camilla into the royal family the summer following Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and her response was anything but supportive.
The book, titled Rebel Prince: The Power and Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles cites the Queen, drunk on “several martinis,” replied to Charles’ request quite forcefully, stating that she would not condone his adultery, nor forgive Camilla for not leaving Charles alone to allow his marriage to recover.
Bower’s book also claimed that the Queen dubbed Camilla “that wicked woman” saying, “I want nothing to do with her,” per ET Canada. In fact, she did not attend their civil wedding in Windsor in 2005 but did organize a reception at the castle.
But did this mean the Queen didn't care? Well, it was the opposite of that, said Anne. "I don't believe any of us for a second thought that she didn't care for us in exactly the same way as any other mother did," she told the BBC, according to the Independent.
Even after the wedding, it was reported that the Queen's hostility towards Camilla did not get better. But, with time, the two forged a close bond.
Now, coming to Diana's relationship with the Queen, something that most people are not aware of is the fact that Diana was not an outsider. The Queen was godmother to Diana’s younger brother, Charles Spencer, per New York Post.
Though the princess knew how to handle the royals, she was terrified of her mother-in-law in the early days, author Andrew Morton revealed in his 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story. However, they also became comfortable with each other, and royal biographer Ingrid Seward noted in her book The Queen and Di that Princess Diana said “I have the best mother-in-law in the world."
But unfortunately, when Diana's relationship with Charles began deteriorating, it affected her relationship with the Queen, too. Seward wrote about how the monarch began to dread the emotional princess’ unscheduled visits. "A footman said, ‘The princess cried three times in half an hour while she was waiting to see you.’ The queen replied, ‘I had her for an hour — and she cried nonstop.'"
Queen Elizabeth apparently wanted to help her daughter-in-law but didn’t know how. “For Princess Diana, there was a hope that somehow the queen would intervene to make things OK in their marriage again,” Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson said in the Channel 5 documentary Two Golden Queens.
As per Jephson, “But there was a communication problem between two very different generations. Between two strong women." “There was a certain school of traditional royal thought that Diana should stop being silly."
Apparently, the Queen was unmoved by Diana's death, but eventually, she did pay her respects to the fallen Princess. "She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness," the Queen said of Diana.
"I admired and respected her - for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool