At the end of this month, the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's untimely passing will come around. Her legacy and memory have been the topic of conversation for some time.
Just last week, we saw Prince William and Prince Harry bravely bare their souls in the documentary, Diana Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. Now, audiences across the globe are being shocked to their core with a new film about "The People's Princess", titled Diana: In Her Own Words.
Princess Diana is filmed in a series of tapes and audio recordings, where she discusses low points in her life, including the breakdown of her marriage with Prince Charles, confrontation with his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles, her fight with bulimia, and her love for Barry Mannakee.
Check out these facts about Princess Diana you probably never knew.
The footage was what journalist Andrew Morton used to pen his 1992 biography, Diana: Her True Story, which ultimately showed the world her crumbling marriage to the future King of England.
The tapes were recorded by Diana’s close friend, Dr. James Colthurst, and her speech coach, ex-Coronation Street actor Peter Settelen.
While knowledge of the tapes have always been around, to hear and see Princess Diana speak so candidly about some of the most heart-wrenching experiences in her life is harrowing to the say the least. In fact, many fans are haunted by the documentary.
One person voiced, "I'm a walking contradiction. I don't agree with this being shown [sic] yet I'm so intrigued in watching it."
Another penned, "Feel like I'm overhearing a conversation I shouldn't be listening to."
The Spencer family, lead by Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, tried exceptionally hard to have the tapes buried. While there has been no official word from the British royal family on the recordings, Queen Elizabeth's former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, has said Diana had no idea the tapes would ever be made public.
"It is absolutely shameful that these tapes have been made available. It seems that there is sort of grubby blood money running around," he told the U.K.'s Sky News. "Whether these tapes are revealing or not, they were recorded in private on the understanding they would remain private and...Settelen should have thought before giving them to Channel 4."
But there are some who are defending the film. Princess Diana's former private secretary, Patrick Jephson, has described the footage as "legitimate additions to the historical record."
Despite what's been said of the documentary, there's no denying that Diana voiced many truths. Below, we look at the biggest revelations from Diana: In Her Own Words.
Who is Barry Mannakee?
The Princess professed that she had loved her personal protection officer, Barry Mannakee. Just three weeks after the police guard was let go by the royal family, in light of rumors of a romance with Diana, Barry tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident in 1987.
"At 24, I fell deeply in love with someone who was part of all this, and that was all found out, and he was chucked out and then he was killed. And that was the deepest blow in my life, I must say," Diana mused. "I don't find it easy to discuss. I was quite happy to give all of this up...just to go and live with him."
While she did deny that nothing sexual ever came of the relationship, she infamously was quoted saying, "I should never have played with fire, and I did, and I got very burned."
Her views on Camilla Parker-Bowles
The battle between Diana and Camilla began even before the then-Lady Spencer was betrothed to Prince Charles. Diana always knew that "somebody else around."
Eventually I worked it all out,” Diana confessed. “I once heard him on the telephone saying, ‘Whatever happens, I’ll always love you.' And I told him I’d listened at the door. We had a filthy row.”
In fact, Camilla became a constant cause of pain for the couple. Before their 1981 wedding, Diana found a bracelet Prince Charles had made for his mistress.
“I was devastated — so rage, rage, rage. 'Why can’t you be honest with me?'” she said. "But no, [Charles] absolutely cut me dead. It was as if he’d made his decision, and if it wasn’t going to work it wasn’t going to work."
“He’d found the virgin — the sacrificial lamb — and in a way, he was obsessed with me, but it was hot and cold, hot and cold," Diana continued.
Upstairs, she said to her sister, “I can’t marry him. I can’t do this. This is absolutely unbelievable.” Sadly, her sister simply told her, "Bad luck Dutch. Your face is on the tea towel, so you’re too late to chicken out.”
Her battle with bulimia
“The bulimia started the week before we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said 'Ooh bit chubby there, aren’t we?’ And that triggered off something in me,” Diana recounts.
While the world watched on in awe during her wedding, the Princess of Wales recalls when she was first fitted in her dress, her waist was 29 inches. By the time of the big day, she was 23.5 inches, musing, "I’d shrunk into nothing.”
“The public wanted a fairy princess. Little did they realize that the fairy princess was crucifying herself inside because she didn’t think she was good enough.”
The very different births of Prince William and Prince Harry
Diana was overjoyed when she first became pregnant with Prince William, but she admitted to have had crippling morning sickness. During this time, her marriage was suffering.
“I threw myself down the stairs,” she recounted. “Charles said I was crying wolf, and I just felt so desperate. I was crying my eyes out and he said, ‘I’m not going to listen. You are always doing this to me...I’m going riding now’. So I threw myself down the stairs. Queen comes out, horrified, shaking, so frightened. And Charles went out riding. And when he came back it was just dismissal."
“William had to be induced because I couldn’t handle the press any longer. It was becoming unbearable," Diana said.
Diana also revealed she suffered from postnatal depression. "Between William and Harry being born, it’s total darkness. I can’t remember. I’ve blotted it out. It was such pain.”
The experience with her second child, however, was vastly different. “Harry appeared by a miracle. Charles and I were very, very close to each other the six weeks before Harry was born— the closest we’ve ever, ever been and ever will have been,” she mused. “And suddenly, as Harry was born (in September 1984), it just went ‘bang’. Our marriage — the whole thing went down the drain."
Prince Charles through Diana's eyes
When she first met Prince Charles, Diana admitted she was "unimpressed." But the second time was different: "I am quite impressed this time round." She adds: "He chatted me up, you know, he was like a bad rash. He was all over me, and I thought, you know, 'urgh.'"
"He started kissing me and everything, and I thought, 'Urgh this is not what people do.' She adds: "And he was all over me for the rest of the evening — followed me around, everything, like a puppy. I was flattered, but I was very puzzled."
The duo met 13 times before tying the knot.
Holding nothing back, Diana spoke of their sex life, describing it as, "odd, very odd."
"It was there, then it fizzled out about seven years ago, six years ago — well seven, because Harry was 8. Instinct told me it was just so odd. I don't know. There was no requirement for it from his case."
The film also shows the royal confess that she went to Queen Elizabeth for help regarding Charles and Camilla's affair.
"I asked her, 'What do I do? I'm coming to you, what do I do?' — to which she said the Queen replied: "I don't know what you should do, Charles is hopeless." The princess adds: "And that was it. That was help. So I didn't go back to her again for help."
This post was written by Chloe Lal. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.