But later in life, she became close to her stepmother, after "she realized Raine was in exactly the same place."
The late Princess Diana is known for many things, including being kind, compassionate, and fashionable, to say the least. However, not many people know that the relationship she shared with her stepmother was a rather tumultuous one. According to the Inside Edition, Diana was just 15 years old when her father, Earl John Spencer, married Raine McCorquodale following her parents' divorce.
A Smithsonian Channel documentary titled Princess Diana's 'Wicked' Stepmother offers to give viewers a peek into their relationship. Apparently, Princess Diana couldn't stand her stepmother and was ready to go to any length to get rid of her. However, with time, Raine became one of her closest confidantes. To know more about their relationship, Entertainment Weekly got in touch with Diana's former butler and her close confidant, Paul Burrell.
Princess Diana apparently used to sing "Raine, Raine, go away,” because that's just how much she detested her stepmother, but in the last few years of her life, she just couldn't do without Raine by her side, revealed Burrell. But, that changeover didn't happen that easily. In fact, there was a shocking incident, where Diana tried to injure Raine, said Burrell.
"She did say to me that once she tried to push her down the staircase because she hated her so much." According to The New York Post, in 1989, 28-year-old Princess Diana was staying at her ancestral home of Althorp in Northamptonshire, England, and in a fury pushed her stepmother so hard, she fell down the stairs. “[Raine] was badly bruised and was dreadfully upset,” Raine’s former personal assistant, Sue Howe, explains in the documentary. “It was a cruel and heartless thing to do.”
Having said that, there is no actual evidence, apart from accounts of close aides, especially of the incident relating to her stepmother's fall down the stairs.
"But what was interesting to me was the fact that at the end of the Princess’ life, the last two or three years, the Princess did a full 180-degree turn. She explained it to me by saying she just wanted to say thank you to Raine for (A) looking after her father and (B) for loving him so much. She didn’t realize until later in life exactly how much she did love him and care for him," Burrell continued.
So, what exactly made Princess Diana change her mind about her stepmom? "I think it was twofold, really. Diana being a mature woman and being an outcast herself, finding herself on the margins of society, she realized Raine was in exactly the same place. So the two women had, at the end, much in common. It was interesting that she said to me that she felt sorry for [Raine] on her wedding day."
"Because Raine was shunted to the back of the room in St. Paul’s Cathedral, whereas her own mother, who had abandoned Diana as a child, was elevated into a royal position. She didn’t think that was fair, and it needed addressing."
The new documentary also helped people understand that life doesn't always turn out the way you expect it to be, according to Paul Burrell. He said, " I think the viewers will see that Diana was immature as a child, reading romantic novels, strangely enough, Barbara Cartland novels, and dreamed of a happy ending. Later in life, she realized life wasn’t like that, and I think she realized that life was cruel and hard. It had been cruel and very hard on Raine."
It's believed that the princess became close to her stepmother after the breakdown of her own marriage to Prince Charles. It was reported at Diana's inquest, that Raine was quoted as saying, "She (Diana) always said I had no hidden agenda. So many people, because she was so popular and so world famous, wanted something out of her. It was a very draining life."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photos By (L) Hulton Archive (R) David Westing