When British journalist Andrew Morton began researching his 1992 biography of Princess Diana, “the world still believed in the fairy tale,” he says. Based on interviews—Morton said at the time—with members of the princess’s inner circle, Diana: Her True Story exposed the Waleses’ marriage as a sham and depicted Diana as a troubled, desperately lonely woman. Now, in the wake of her death, Morton has decided to reveal even more: The fairy tale’s debunking, it turns out, was an inside job. Diana herself gave six lengthy interviews for Morton’s book, critiqued the manuscript and offered up photos from family albums. Her motive? “She wasn’t prepared to live a lie anymore, “Morton says. “But she was concerned the royal family would say, ‘She’s mad,’ and that her children would be taken away from her. So she was desperate to get her story out to the world.”
Doing so was no easy task. “We had to give her deniability,” Morton says. “She had to be able to look somebody in the eye and say, ‘I have not met Andrew Morton for this book,’ or the Palace would crush her.” To that end, Morton gave written questions to a mutually trusted intermediary (whom he will not name), who smuggled them to the princess and returned with her answers. “I was a bit like a pilot flying blind, having to ask questions that might or might not trigger a response,” says Morton. “She wasn’t good on dates, times, places, but she was good at remembering feelings and events which held her captive.” She discussed her parents’ divorce, her battle with bulimia, her husband’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and her own suicide attempts “in an open, frank way that was quite astonishing,” Morton says.
He also recalls that although his subject “was terrified of being found out and blamed” for her participation, she “had no regrets.” Buckingham Palace has called publication of a new edition of the book, which includes the following first-person transcripts, “particularly sad, coming as it does so soon after the princess’s death,” but Morton feels certain he would have had her blessing. Diana “never truly had the chance to ‘sing openly,’ ” he writes in the book’s foreword. “[This is] the nearest we will now ever get to her autobiography.”
My first memory is really the smell of the inside of my pram. It was plastic and the smell of the hood. Vivid memory. I was born at home, not in hospital.
The biggest disruption was when Mummy decided to leg it. [Diana’s mother left her father for Peter Shand Kydd in 1967.] That’s the vivid memory we have—the four of us [children]. For my brother [Charles] and I, it was a very wishy-washy and painful experience. My two sisters were busy at prep school and were sort of out of the house, whereas my brother and I were very much stuck together. I always looked after my brother, really. Charles said to me the other day that he hadn’t realized how much the divorce had affected him until he got married and started having a life of his own. The divorce helped me to relate to anyone else who is upset in their family life, whether it be stepfather syndrome or [step]mother or whatever, I understand it. Been there, done that.
We had so many changes of nannies. If we didn’t like them we used to stick pins in their chair and throw their clothes out of the window. We always thought they were a threat because they tried to take Mother’s position. It was terribly disruptive to come back from school to find a new nanny.
It was a very unhappy childhood. Parents were busy sorting themselves out. Always seeing my mother crying. Daddy never spoke to us about it. We never asked questions. Very unstable, the whole thing. Generally unhappy and being very detached from everybody else.
I adored animals, guinea pigs and all that. In my bed I’d have 20 stuffed bed animals, and there would be a midget’s space for me, and they would have to be in my bed every night. That was my family. I hated the dark, always had to have a light outside my door until I was at least 10. I used to hear my brother crying in his bed down at the other end of the house, crying for my mother. I never could pluck up courage to get out of bed. I remember it to this day.
I remember Mummy crying an awful lot, and every Saturday when we went up [to her home] for weekends, every Saturday night, standard procedure, she would start crying. “What’s the matter, Mummy?” “Oh, I don’t want you to leave tomorrow”—which for a 9-year-old was devastating, you know. I remember the most agonizing decision I ever had to make. I was a bridesmaid to my first cousin and to go to the rehearsal, I had to be smart and wear a dress. My mother gave me a green dress and my father had given me a white dress and they were both so smart, the dresses, and I can’t remember to this day which one I got in, but I remember being totally traumatized by it because it would show favoritism.
We were all shunted over to Sandringham [the Queen’s Norfolk residence] for holidays. Used to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the film. We hated going over there. The atmosphere was always very strange when we went there, and I used to kick and fight anyone who tried to make us go. I said I didn’t want to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the third year running. Holidays were always very grim. Two weeks Mummy and two weeks Daddy and the trauma of going from one house to another and each parent trying to make it up with material things rather than the actual tactile stuff, which is what we both craved but neither of us ever got.
My father used to sit us down every Christmas and birthday and we had to write our thank-you letters within 24 hours. And now if I don’t, I get into a panic. If I come back from a dinner party or somewhere that needs a letter, at midnight I’ll sit down and write it and not wait until next morning because it would wrestle with my conscience. And William does it now—it’s great.
When I was 13 we moved to Althorp [the Spencer family’s ancestral home], in Northamptonshire. That was a terrible wrench, leaving Norfolk, because that’s where everybody who I’d grown up with lived. Life took a very big turn because [the woman who would become] my stepmother, Raine, appeared on the scene. We all hated her so much because we thought she was going to take Daddy away from us. Two Septembers ago [in 1989] I told her what I thought about her, and I’ve never known such anger in me. I remember really going for her gullet. I said, “If only you knew how much we all hated you for what you’ve done, you’ve ruined the house, you spend Daddy’s money and what for?”
[Charles and I were] both horribly different at school because we had divorced parents and nobody else did at that time, but by the time we finished our five years at prep school [Silfield in Norfolk], everybody [had divorced parents]. I longed to be as good as Charles in the schoolroom. I have always seen him as the brains in the family. I still see that. [He] was always the one getting exams at school, and I was the dropout. [But] I was never jealous of him. I so understand him. He’s very like me as opposed to my two sisters. Like me he will always suffer. There’s something in us that attracts that. Whereas my two sisters are blissfully happy being detached from various situations.
At the age of 14 I just remember thinking I wasn’t very good at anything, that I was hopeless. I couldn’t understand why I was perhaps a nuisance to have around, which, in later years, I’ve perceived as being part of the [whole question of the] son. The child who died before me was a son and both [parents] were crazy to have a son and heir and there comes a. third daughter. “What a bore, we’re going to have to try again.” I’ve recognized that now, and that’s fine. I accept that.
[At school] I was always very naughty in the sense of always wanting to laugh and muck about rather than sit tight looking at the four walls of the schoolroom. I always won the swimming and diving cups. I won all sorts of prizes for the best-kept guinea pig. I was popular. But in the academic department, you might as well forget about that.
I was always looking for trouble. I nearly got expelled because one night somebody said to me, “Would you like to do a dare?” I thought, “Why not? Life’s so boring.” So they sent me out at nine o’clock to the end of the drive, which was half a mile long, in pitch dark. I had to go and get some sweets at the gate from somebody called Polly Phillimore. I got there and there was nobody there. I hid behind the gate as these police cars were coming in. I saw all the lights coming on in the school. I wandered back, terrified, to find that some twit in my bedroom said that she had appendicitis. Then they asked, “Where’s Diana?” “Don’t know.” Both parents were summoned. Father was thrilled, and my mother said, “I didn’t think you had it in you.” No telling off.
By the time I got to the top of the school, all my friends had boyfriends, but not me, because I knew somehow that I had to keep myself very tidy for whatever was coming. I said to my father when I was 13, “I know I’m going to marry someone in the public eye,” thinking more of being an ambassador’s wife—not the top one. I always had this thing inside me that I was different. I didn’t know why. I couldn’t even talk about it but in my mind it was there.
After dropping out of a Swiss finishing school at 16, Diana headed for London and jobs as a nanny, a housecleaner and eventually as a kindergarten teacher. When she first met Prince Charles, in 1977, he was dating her older sister Sarah.
I’ve known [the Queen] since I was tiny so [meeting Charles] was no big deal. I kept thinking, “Look at the life they have, how awful.” I remember [Charles’s] coming to Althorp to stay, and the first impact was, “God, what a sad man.” He came with his Labrador. My sister was all over him like a bad rash, and I thought, “God, he must really hate that.” I kept out of the way. I remember being a fat, podgy, no makeup, unsmart lady, but I made a lot of noise and he liked that. He came up to me after dinner and we had a big dance and he said, “Will you show me the gallery?” I was just about to show him the gallery [which housed part of the family’s extensive art collection] and Sarah comes up and tells me to push off. I said, “At least let me tell you where the [light] switches are, because you won’t know,” and I disappeared. He was charm himself, and when I stood next to him the next day, a 16-year-old, for someone like that to show you any attention—I was just so sort of amazed. “Why would anyone like him be interested in me?”—and it was interest.
That was it for about two years. Saw him off and on with Sarah, and Sarah got frightfully excited about the whole thing. Then she saw something different happening, which I hadn’t twigged onto: When he had his 30th-birthday dance, I was asked too. “Why is Diana coming as well?” [my] sister asked. I said: “Well, I don’t know, but I’d like to come.” Had a very nice time at the dance—fascinating. I wasn’t at all intimidated by [Buckingham Palace]. I thought, “Amazing place.”
Then I was asked to stay at the de Passes’ in July 1980 by Philip de Pass [a friend of Charles’s], who is the son. “We’ve got the Prince of Wales staying. You’re a young blood, you might amuse him.” So I said, “O.K.” So I sat next to him, and Charles came in. He was all over me again, and it was very strange. I thought, “Well, this isn’t very cool.” I thought men were supposed not to be so obvious; I thought this was very odd. The first night we sat down on a bale [of hay] at the barbecue at this house. I said, “You looked so sad when you walked up the aisle at Lord Mountbatten’s funeral.” [Mountbatten, Charles’s beloved great-uncle and mentor, had been killed by a terrorist’s bomb in 1979.] I said, “It was the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen. My heart bled for you. I thought, ‘It’s wrong, you’re lonely—you should be with somebody to look after you.’ ”
The next minute he leapt on me, practically, and I thought this was very strange, too, and I wasn’t quite sure how to cope with all this. Anyway, we talked about lots of things and anyway, that was it. Frigid wasn’t the word—big F when it comes to that. He said, “You must come to London with me tomorrow. I’ve got to work at Buckingham Palace, you must come to work with me.” I thought this was too much. I said, “No, I can’t.” Then he asked me to [come for a weekend on the royal yacht] Britannia and he had lots of older friends there and I was fairly intimidated.
Then [in September] I went to stay with my sister Jane at Balmoral, where Robert [Fellowes, Jane’s husband] was assistant private secretary [to the Queen]. I was terrified—shitting bricks. The anticipation was worse than actually being there. I was all right once I got in through the front door. I had a normal single bed! I stayed back at the castle because of the press interest. Mr. and Mrs. Parker Bowles were there at all my visits. I was the youngest there by a long way. Charles used to ring me up and say, “Would you like to come for a walk, come for a barbecue?” So I said, “Yes, please.” I thought this was all wonderful.
Then it sort of built up from there. The press seized upon it. That became simply unbearable, following my every move. I understood they had a job, but they had binoculars on me the whole time. They hired the flat [across the street] in Old Brompton Road [in London], which looked into my bedroom, and it wasn’t fair on [my three roommates]. I was constantly polite [to the press]; I was never rude. I cried like a baby to the four walls—I couldn’t cope. I cried because I got no support from the Palace press office. They just said, “You’re on your own.”
[Charles] wasn’t at all supportive. Whenever he rang me up he said, “Poor Camilla Parker Bowles. I’ve had her on the telephone tonight and she says there’s lots of press at Bolehyde [her home in Gloucestershire]. She’s having a very rough time.” I never complained about the press to him because I didn’t think it was my position to do so. I asked him, “How many press are out there?” He said, “At least four.” I thought, “My God, there’s 34 here!” and I never told him.
Then Charles rang me up from Klosters [a Swiss resort] and said, “I’ve got something to ask you.” Instinct in a female—you know what’s coming. Anyway, I sat up all night with my [roommates], saying, “What do I say, what do I do?” By that time, I’d realized there was somebody else around. I’d been staying at Bolehyde with the Parker Bowleses an awful lot, and I couldn’t understand why [Camilla] kept saying to me, “Don’t push him into doing this, don’t do that.” She knew so much about what he was doing privately, what we were doing privately. Eventually I worked it all out.
Anyway, next day I went to Windsor and he sat me down and said, “I’ve missed you so much.” But there was never anything tactile about him. It was extraordinary, but I didn’t have anything to go by because I had never had a boyfriend. I’d always kept them away, thought they were all trouble—and I couldn’t handle it emotionally. I was very screwed up, I thought. Anyway, so he said, “Will you marry me?” and I laughed. I remember thinking, “This is a joke,” and I said, “Yeah, O.K.,” and laughed. He was deadly serious. He said, “You do realize that one day you will be Queen.” And a voice said to me inside, “You won’t be Queen, but you’ll have a tough role.” So I said, “Yes.” I said, “I love you so much, I love you so much.” He said, “Whatever love means.” He said it then. So I thought that was great! I thought he meant that! And so he ran upstairs and rang his mother.
In my immaturity, which was enormous, I thought that he was very much in love with me, which he was, but he always had a sort of besotted look about him, looking back at it, but it wasn’t the genuine sort. “Who was this girl who was so different?” but he couldn’t understand it because his immaturity was quite big in that department too. For me it was like a call of duty, really—to go and work with the people.
I came back to the flat and sat on my bed. “Guess what?” [My roommates] said, “He asked you. What did you say?” “Yes, please.” Everybody screamed and howled and we went for a drive around London with our secret. I rang my parents the next morning. Daddy was thrilled. Mummy was thrilled. I told my brother [I was engaged] and he said, “Who to?”
I went away two days later to Australia for three weeks to sort of settle down and organize lists and things with my mother. That was a complete disaster because I pined for [Charles] but he never rang me up. I thought that was very strange, and whenever I rang him he was out and he never rang me back. I thought, “O.K.”—I was just being generous—”he is being very busy, this, that and the other.” I come back from Australia, someone knocks on my door with a bunch of flowers and I knew that they hadn’t come from Charles because there was no note. It was just somebody being very tactful in the office.
On the day we got engaged I literally had one long dress, one silk shirt, one smart pair of shoes and that was it. Suddenly my mother and I had to go and buy six of everything, and we still didn’t have enough. Bear in mind, you have to change four times a day, and suddenly your wardrobe expands to something unbelievable. Hence, probably, the criticism when I first arrived on the scene of having new clothes all the time. I had to deck myself out from January to December overnight with hats, gloves, the lot.
The night before the engagement [was announced, in February 1981], my policeman [a bodyguard assigned by Scotland Yard] said to me, “I just want you to know this is your last night of freedom ever in the rest of your life, so make the most of it.” It was like a sword went through my heart. I thought, “God.” Then I sort of giggled like an immature girl.
Before I knew what happened I was in Clarence House [the Queen Mother’s London residence]. Nobody there to welcome me—it was like going to a hotel. When I arrived there was a letter from Camilla, saying, “Such exciting news about the engagement. Do let’s have lunch soon when the Prince of Wales goes to Australia and New Zealand. I’d love to see the ring. Lots of love, Camilla.” And that was Wow! So we had lunch. Very tricky indeed. She said, “You are not going to hunt, are you?” I said, “On what?” She said, “Horse. You are not going to hunt when you go and live at High-grove [Charles’s country estate], are you?” I said, “No.” She said, “I just wanted to know.” And I thought as far as she was concerned that was her communication route. Still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way.
I remember my first [royal] engagement [at the Royal Opera House in March 1981] so well. So excited. I was quite big-chested then and [the press] all got frightfully excited. I remember meeting Princess Grace and how wonderful and serene she was, but there was troubled water under her. I saw that.
It was a horrendous occasion. I didn’t know whether to go out of the door first; I didn’t know whether your handbag should be in your left hand, not your right hand. I was terrified, really. I missed my girls so much. I wanted to go back there and sit and giggle like we used to and borrow clothes and chat about silly things, just being in my safe shell again. One day you’ve got the King and Queen of Sweden coming to give you their wedding present of four brass candlesticks, the next minute you get the President of Somewhere Else coming. I was just pushed into the fire, but I have to say my upbringing was able to handle that. It wasn’t as though I was picked out like My Fair Lady and told to get on with it. I did know how to react. When I first arrived on the scene I’d always put my head down. Now that I interpret it, it did look sulky. [But] I’ve never sulked. I’ve been terrified out of my tiny little mind.
[At Buckingham Palace] I couldn’t believe how cold everyone was. The lies and deceit. For example, my husband sending Camilla Parker Bowles flowers when she had meningitis: “To Gladys from Fred”—they were their nicknames. [I met her] very early on. I was introduced to the circle, but obviously I was a threat. I was a very young girl but I was a threat. We always had discussions about Camilla though. I once heard him on the telephone in his bath on his handheld set saying, “Whatever happens, I will always love you.” I told him afterwards that I had listened at the door, and we had a filthy row.
The bulimia started the week after we got engaged. [Charles] put his hand on my waistline and said: “Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?” That triggered off something in me. And the Camilla thing—I was desperate, desperate. I remember the first time I made myself sick. I was so thrilled because I thought this was the release of tension. The first time I was measured for my wedding dress I was 29 inches around the waist; the day I got married I was 23½ inches. I had shrunk into nothing from February to July.
[About two weeks before the wedding], somebody in [Charles’s] office told me that my husband had had a bracelet made for [Camilla], which she wears to this day. It’s a gold chain bracelet with a blue enameled disc. It’s got “G” and “F” entwined in it, Gladys and Fred. I walked into this man’s office one day and said, “Oh, what’s in that parcel?” He said, “You shouldn’t look at that.” I said, “Well, I’m going to look at it.” I opened it and there was a bracelet, and I said, “I know where this is going.” I was devastated. He said, “Well, he’s going to give it to her tonight.” So rage, rage, rage! “Why can’t you be honest with me?” But no, [Charles] cuts me absolutely dead. 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. You never knew what mood it was going to be, up and down, up and down.
So I had lunch with my sisters and said, “I can’t marry him, I can’t do this, this is absolutely unbelievable.” They were wonderful and said, “Well, bad luck, Duch [Diana’s childhood nickname], your face is on the tea towels, so you’re too late to chicken out.” So we made light of it.
We got married on Wednesday, and on the Monday [before] we had gone to St. Paul’s [Cathedral] for our last rehearsal. That’s when the camera lights were on full and [I had] a sense of what the day was going to be. And I sobbed my eyes out. Absolutely collapsed, because of all sorts of things: The Camilla thing rearing its head the whole way through our engagement, and I was desperately trying to be mature about the situation, but I didn’t have the foundations to do it, and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.
I remember [Charles] sent me a nice signet ring the night before [the wedding] and a very nice card that said, “I’m so proud of you, and when you come up I’ll be there at the altar for you tomorrow. Just look ’em in the eye and knock ’em dead.” I had a very bad fit of bulimia [that night]. I ate everything I could possibly find, which amused my sister [Jane]. I was sick as a parrot. It was such an indication of what was going on.
I was very calm the next morning, must have been awake about 5 a.m. Interesting—they put me in a bedroom overlooking the Mall, which meant I didn’t get any sleep. I was very, very calm—deathly calm. I felt I was a lamb to the slaughter. I knew it, and couldn’t do anything about it.
As I walked up the aisle I was looking for [Camilla], I knew she was in there, of course. I looked for her. Anyway, I got up to the top. I thought the whole thing was hysterical, getting married—it was so grown up, and here was Diana, a kindergarten teacher. The whole thing was ridiculous! I had to basically get my father [who had suffered a stroke in 1978] up the aisle, and that’s what I concentrated on. I remember being terribly worried about curtsying to the Queen. I remember being so in love with my husband that I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I just absolutely thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. He was going to look after me. Well, was I wrong on that assumption.
So walking down the aisle, I spotted Camilla—pale gray, veiled pillbox hat, saw it all. To this day, you know—vivid memory. Well, there you are—hope that’s all over with. Got out of [St. Paul’s], a wonderful feeling, everybody happy because they thought we were happy, and there was the big question mark in my mind.
Back to Buckingham Palace, did all the photographs, nothing tactile, nothing. Got out on the balcony, overwhelming what we saw—so humble-making, all these thousands of people happy. It was just wonderful. Sat next to him at the wedding breakfast, which was a lunch. Neither of us spoke to each other—we were so shattered. I was exhausted.
I had tremendous hope in me, which was slashed by day two. Went to Broadlands [the Mountbatten family estate]. Second night, out come the van der Post novels. [Charles is an admirer of Laurens van der Post, a South African philosopher and adventurer.] Seven of them—they came on our honeymoon. He read them and we had to analyze them over lunch every day. We had to entertain on Britannia every night, so there was never any time on our own. By then, the bulimia was absolutely appalling—four times a day. Anything I could find I would gobble up and be sick two minutes later. So of course that slightly got the mood swings going, in the sense that one minute one would be happy, next blubbing one’s eyes out.
Went to Balmoral straight from the yacht. Everyone was there to welcome us, and then the realization set in. My dreams were appalling. At night I dreamt of Camilla the whole time. Charles got Laurens van der Post up to come and help me. Laurens didn’t understand me. Everybody saw I was getting thinner and thinner and I was being sicker and sicker. Basically they thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.
Obsessed by Camilla totally. Didn’t trust him, thought every five minutes he was ringing her up asking how to handle his marriage. [Once] we were opening our diaries to discuss various things. Out come two pictures of Camilla. [Another time] on our honeymoon, we have our white-tie dinner for [Egyptian] President Sadat. Cufflinks arrive on [Charles’s] wrists—two C’s entwined like the Chanel C’s. Got it in one; knew exactly. “Camilla gave you those, didn’t she?” He said, “Yes, so what’s wrong?” And boy, did we have a row. Jealousy, total jealousy. It’s such a good idea, the two C’s, but it wasn’t that clever in some ways.
Charles’s idea of enjoyment would be to sit on top of the highest hill at Balmoral. It is beautiful up there. I completely understand; he would read van der Post or Jung to me, and I hadn’t a clue about psychic powers or anything, but I knew there was something in me that hadn’t been awoken yet, and I didn’t think this was going to help! So anyway, we read those, and I did my tapestry, and he was blissfully happy, and as far as he was happy that was fine.
He was in awe of his mama, intimidated by his father, and I was always the third person in the room. It was never, “Darling, would you like a drink?” It was always, “Mummy, would you like a drink?” “Granny, would you like a drink?” “Diana, would you like a drink?” Fine, no problem. But I had to be told that that was normal because’ I always thought it was the wife first—stupid thought! All the guests at Balmoral just stared at me the whole time, treated me like glass. As far as I was concerned, I was Diana, the only difference was people called me “Ma’am” now, “Your Royal Highness,” and they curtsied. But I treated everybody exactly the same [as I always had].
Terribly, terribly thin. People started commenting, “Your bones are showing.” By October, I was about to cut my wrists. I was in a very bad way. It rained and rained and rained, and I came down early from Balmoral to seek treatment [in London], not because I hated Balmoral but because I was in such a bad way. All the analysts and psychiatrists you could ever dream of came plodding in, trying to sort me out. Put me on high doses of Valium and everything else. But the Diana that was still very much there had decided [I] just [needed] time. They were telling me, “Pills!” That was going to keep them happy—they could go to bed at night and sleep knowing the Princess of Wales wasn’t going to stab anyone.
Anyway, a godsend, William was conceived in October. Marvelous news. Occupied my mind. Then we went to Wales to do our visit as Princess and Prince of Wales. Boy oh boy, was that a culture shock. Wrong clothes, wrong everything, feeling terribly sick, hadn’t told the world I was pregnant but looking gray and gaunt. Desperately trying to make [Charles] proud of me. Made a speech in Welsh—he was more nervous than I was. Never got any praise for it. I began to understand that that was absolutely normal. Sick as a parrot. I cried a lot in the car, saying I couldn’t get out, couldn’t cope with the crowds. He said, “You’ve just got to get out and do it.” He tried his hardest and he did really well in that department, got me out. I was able to do my bit. But it cost me such a lot because I hadn’t got the energy because I was being sick with my bulimia. Couldn’t sleep, didn’t eat, whole world was collapsing around me.
Very difficult pregnancy indeed. Sick the whole time, bulimia and morning sickness. Sick sick sick sick sick. And this family’s never had anybody who’s had morning sickness before. So they registered Diana as “a problem. She’s different. Poor Charles is having such a hard time.”
[When I was three months pregnant at Sandringham] I threw myself down the stairs. Charles said I was crying wolf, and I said I felt so desperate, and I was crying my eyes out, and he said, “I’m not going to listen. You’re always doing this to me. I’m going riding now.” So I threw myself down the stairs. The Queen comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking—she was so frightened. I knew I wasn’t going to lose the baby; quite bruised around the stomach. Charles went out riding and when he came back, you know, it was just total dismissal.
When we had William we had to find a date in the diary that suited [Charles] and his polo. William had to be induced because I couldn’t handle the press pressure any longer. It was as if everybody was monitoring every day for me. I was sick the whole way through labor, very bad labor. Anyway, the boy arrived, great excitement. Thrilled. Everyone absolutely high as a kite—we had found a date where Charles could get off his polo pony for me to give birth. That was very nice, felt very grateful about that! Came home and then postnatal depression hit me hard. Boy, was I troubled. If he didn’t come home when he said he was coming home I thought something dreadful had happened to him. Tears, panic, all the rest of it. He didn’t see the panic because I would sit there quietly. [Charle] loved the nursery life and couldn’t wait to get back and do the bottle and everything. He was very good, he always came back and fed the baby.
Between William and Harry being born [in 1984] is total darkness. I can’t remember much, I’ve blotted it out, it was such pain. However, 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 been and ever will be. Then suddenly as Harry was born it just went bang, our marriage, the whole thing went down the drain. I knew Harry was going to be a boy because I saw on the scan, and I didn’t tell [Charles]. He always wanted a girl. Harry arrived. First comment was, “Oh, God, it’s a boy.” Second comment: “And he’s even got red hair.” Something inside me closed off. By then I knew he had gone back to [Camilla], but somehow we’d managed to have Harry. Harry was a complete joy and is actually closer to his father than perhaps William at the moment.
I think an awful lot of people tried to help me because they saw something going wrong [in the marriage], but I never leant on anyone. None of my family knew about [our problems] at all. Jane, my sister, came to check on me. I had a V-neck on. She said, “Duch, what’s that marking on your chest?”
I said, “Oh, it’s nothing.” She said, “What is it?” The night before I wanted to talk to Charles about something. He wouldn’t listen to me, he said I was crying wolf. So I picked up his penknife off his dressing table and scratched myself heavily down my chest and thighs. There was a lot of blood and he hadn’t made any reaction whatsoever. It was a desperate cry for help.
My husband made me feel so inadequate in every possible way that each time I came up for air he pushed me down again. I hated myself so much. I didn’t think I was good enough: good enough for Charles, a good enough mother. I mean doubts as long as one’s leg. [But] I’ve got what my mother’s got. However bloody you’re feeling, you can put on the most amazing show of happiness.
One of the bravest moments of my entire 10 years was when we went to this ghastly party for Camilla’s sister’s 40th birthday. Nobody expected me to turn up but again a voice inside me said, “Go for the hell of it.” So I psyched myself up something awful. I decided I wasn’t going to kiss her—shake her hand instead. I was feeling frightfully brave and bold and basically Diana’s going to come away having done her bit. He needled me the whole way down to Ham Common, where the party was, “Oh, why are you coming tonight?” Needle, needle, needle, the whole way down. I didn’t bite but I was very, very on edge.
Next week: the confrontation with Camilla.