The Queen called 1992 a ‘terrible year’. It
began badly for Diana, too. On 29 March, her much-loved father
died. She was on holiday in Austria, and
flew home at once for the funeral. Prince Charles flew
back with her to England, but she went to the funeral alone.
The newspapers, of course, were quick to notice this. It was a
month for royal stories. The Palace told the world that the
marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson
Then a new book
out about Princess Diana: Diana - Her True Story
by Andrew Morton. The book talked about Diana’s eating
illness, and about how unhappy she was with Prince Charles and
the Royal Family. It also talked about Prince Charles and
Camilla Parker-Bowles. At first, everyone was very surprised.
Could it all be true? In the end, people
realized that most of it was Diana’s real story.
But there was another surprise coming for her - and an
unpleasant one. Diana was beginning, secretly,
look for a new love in her life. She had to be very
careful, because she and Charles were still married. The world
would not think well of a royal mother with other lovers. Then
suddenly, recordings of secret phone calls between
Diana and James Gilbey came out. Gilbey was an old friend of
Diana’s, but here they were talking as lovers. Someone
recorded the conversations, the newspapers said, two years
Then in 1993 recordings of phone conversations between Charles
and Camilla appeared, and everyone now knew for sure that they
were lovers. Charles was very unhappy about this, and at first
promised to live alone without women. A year later he talked
about it all on television. But
didn’t stop seeing Camilla.
In the photos of 1992, Diana is often alone. In one, she is
sitting in front of the Taj Mahal in India. She is smiling,
but she looks very small and alone in front of the big white
building. In November 1992, Charles and Diana
a visit together to Korea, but they were clearly unhappy.
Finally, in December they told the public that they were
separating. Prince Charles would stay at Highgrove, and Diana
would live alone at Kensington Palace. The children would
spend time with both of their parents.
The Queen’s family was
trouble all around her. Just to finish the terrible
story of 1992, there was a serious fire at Windsor Castle, the
Queen’s favourite home. Everyone there, the Queen too, worked
to put it out.
But the Castle and the Royal Family would never be the same
Diana’s private rooms at Kensington Palace were full of photos
of William and Harry. ‘They mean everything to me,’ she said.
But now she couldn’t be with them so much. A lot of the time,
they were at school or with their father. She even had to eat
her Christmas dinner alone while William and Harry spent
Christmas Day with their father and grandmother.
But she was doing her best to help her sons for their future
as royal princes, and William perhaps as the future King of
England. She decided that they needed to understand some of
the country’s problems. She took them to visit
people in hospitals. But she also took them out
secretly to see some of the dark and unpleasant places where
homeless people spend the night. In 1995, William went
to Eton, one of the top schools in the country, but he didn’t
forget the other side of life that Diana showed him. He later
gave Diana the idea of selling a lot of her dresses for
Diana’s new life had good times in it, too. She had plenty of
friends. Many of them were famous, and some of them were
filmstars or popstars. She was friendly with the popstars
Elton John and George Michael, and with Terence Stamp and
Richard Attenborough, the filmstars. She knew Luciano
Pavarotti, the Italian singer, and others from the music and
film world, like Michael Jackson, Paul and Linda McCartney,
and Liza Minelli. She often had lunch with friends. An Italian
restaurant, San Lorenzo, in Kensington was her
favourite for a long time. She still loved dancing and pop
music, and she went swimming or running every day to keep in
good shape. Diana was very serious about her health now.
But she couldn’t escape from the
Everywhere she went, they tried to take photographs of her.
Sometimes they took photos secretly - you could get a lot of
money for a new photo of Diana.
Suddenly, it was all too much for her. In December 1993, she
told the world that she wanted to live quietly. She would stop
most of her work for charities. She needed time for her
children, and for her private life. It was not for long. She
came back because she wanted
to get on with
her work, and be ‘a mother to the world’, as one newspaper
wrote. And the story of Diana and Charles was not over yet; in
November 1995 she recorded her famous appearance on
She talked openly to reporter Martin Bashir about her life in
the Royal Family, and she was clearly hurt and angry about the
past. But she also talked about her future. ‘I don’t think
many people will want me to be Queen ... because I do things
don’t go by a rule book.’ She worked, she said, ‘from
the heart, not the head’. But she wanted ‘to be Queen of
people hearts’. These were words which the world never forgot.
A lot of people that she helped will never forget her
either. One of her favourite charities was Centrepoint,
looks after homeless people. Vincent Seabrook, a man of
35 now working as a private guard, remembers her well. He was
living homeless on the streets when Diana
past and stopped to talk to him. ‘She got me something
to eat and drink, listened to me, and gave me the number for
Centrepoint,’ he said.
She wasn’t frightened of illness, or of people who had serious
problems with their bodies. She was ready with
hug or a kiss for everyone. A man
couldn’t see wanted to know
Diana was like. ‘Is it all right if I touch your face?’
he asked. ‘Of course you can,’ she said. He moved his hands
over her eyes, nose and mouth until he could see a picture of
her in his head. ‘You’re very pretty!’ he said.
When someone was in trouble, she tried to help them. Once in
hospital, she heard a woman crying. The woman’s son, Dean, was
badly hurt in a car accident. Diana sat with the young man
that night, and visited him again later.
even went to his house when he was better, and met his
children. ‘What shall we call you?’ they all asked. ‘Just
Diana,’ she said.
She often visited children’s hospitals like Great Ormond
Street Hospital for Sick Children. Victoria Hemphill, a
young girl with a serious heart problem, felt that the
Princess was her special friend, and kept photos of Diana by
her bed. Diana often talked to her about William and Harry,
and the boys wrote to her. ‘Dearest Victoria, I wanted to send
you lots of love while you were in hospital,’ began a letter
from Prince Harry.
Diana had time for her friends who were in trouble, too. She
helped a friend called Rosa when her baby died, and gave time
to another friend, Cosima, when her marriage ended. She knew
what it was like to feel hurt inside. She still travelled to
other countries. In 1994 she visited Zimbabwe, in Africa.
Photos show that she helped
give out lunch to children in a special school. She
visited hospitals in Pakistan. In India, she became friends
with Mother Teresa, who was famous for her work with poor
people who were dying on the streets. Diana once said, ‘I’m
not frightened of dying, if I can die happy.’
Her Last Days
After Diana’s marriage finally ended in August 1996, she was a
rich woman. But she wanted
on working. She specially wanted to stop the use of
She visited Angola and Bosnia, where there are still terrible
problems with landmines after the wars there. She met people
who lost legs or arms from these landmines - not only men, but
little children too. When she
spoke out against landmines, not everyone agreed with
her. But Diana was still ready to speak from the heart.