Diana: The Unhappy Princess Who Smiled for the Cameras

Diana marrying Prince Charles.
Kensington Palace in London, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles lived.
Princess Diana.
Diana, a people’s favorite.
Diana visiting a workplace in Newcastle, U.K.
A sea of flower bouquets for the dead princess.
Prince Charles and Camilla.
Princess Diana smiling.

Diana Spencer married Charles, the crown prince of the United Kingdom, as a mere 20-year-old in 1981. Because the royal wedding was magnificent and Diana was a young beautiful woman now uplifted to the status of princess, in many people’s eyes, a fairy tale was unfolding. In line with this, on TV, 750 million people watched as the young bride received her ring from her prince, and the British people, who called the new princess Lady Di, quickly came to regard Diana as their favorite royal.

Liked by the people

Having become one of the most popular persons in Britain, as well as the country’s queen consort-to-be, Diana started to attract great attention and the press began to follow her and photographing her almost constantly. It didn’t matter if Diana was engaged in formal representation, vacationing or doing her beloved charity work — the media were always breathing down her neck to try to get the latest story. This, albeit mostly a bi-product of the British people’s great affection for their princess, caused the shy Diana a lot of stress.

Marriage problems

In addition to the media-related stress, a great concern for the princess was Prince Charles’ former lover, Camilla, whom Diana suspected her husband was still having an affair with. Diana could not talk openly about her suspicions, though, since marriage problems were not accepted in the royal family. Instead, she tried to keep up appearance by continuing to smile for the cameras, although people who were close to her noticed that she was becoming increasingly unhappy. Diana felt trapped in a loveless marriage, and in a desperate cry for help, began cutting her arms and legs and become bulimic. However, few people said or did anything.

The media, largely, reported that Charles and Lady Di’s marriage was stable. They must have suspected otherwise, but for years very few reporters were willing to write anything that could undermine faith in the beloved monarchy. The royals were, and still are, an important symbol of British pride, and discrediting them by reporting on embarrassing problems in the royal family, in a sense, would have been like discrediting oneself, leading most journalists to refrain from doing so.

A tragic ending

When the story about Diana and Charles’ marriage problems, long overdue, finally leaked out, drama ensued. Gossip spread fast and with the relationship looking irreparable, the Queen decided to try to end the embarrassments by annulling the marriage. One year later, in 1997, as a tragic ending to a life that had seen a great deal of anxiety, Diana died in a car crash together with her new boyfriend while driving through a tunnel. The boyfriend’s father, after the deadly tunnel episode, expressed his suspicions that spiteful royals had orchestrated the crash, but the presiding British court, clearly rejecting the idea of a royal conspiracy, instead blamed reckless driving.

In honor of his late mother, at their engagement, Prince William gave his fiancée, Kate Middleton, Diana’s old engagement ring. Prince Charles, years after Diana died, also married — this time to Camilla.