The new season of The Crown has caused a whole new generation to fall in love with Princess Diana again.
In this season, the role of young Diana is played by Emma Corrin.
It seems like a perfect fairytale, a young woman meets and marries a prince, becomes Princess of Wales, the nation falls in love, and they live happily ever after.
Except, as many are now realising, that wasn’t the case. Like most fairytales, there was a darker underside to the whole affair.
Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, keeps reminding people that much of The Crown is fiction, but often the truth is much stranger. Scriptwriter for the series, Peter Morgan admitted: “Sometimes you have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”
Seeing Emma’s portrayal of Diana’s sensitivity and shyness, as well as her loneliness, is generating even more empathy for her unhappy life in the royal family and many fans of the series are only just discovering what happened for the first time.
Either too young to understand the nationwide mourning when she died, or not even born yet, new fans are not happy.
It’s also making them loathe Prince Charles, with plenty of social media posts and TikTok videos expressing anger at their perceived treatment of the princess.
Princess Diana once famously told former Royal correspondent Jennie Bond: “I was not unbalanced, the trouble was I was too sane for my environment.”
Here are some of the key moments of Princess Diana’s life.
1961: Diana Frances Spencer was born July 1st. She was the fourth of five children, to her parents John Spencer, the 8th Earl Spencer and his first wife, Frances Ruth Roche.
1977: 16-year-old Diana first meets 26-year-old Charles. At the time, he was dating her older sister Sarah. They met “in a sort of plowed field,” according to Diana. Charles was said to be quite taken with Diana, but they didn’t begin any sort of romantic relationship until several years later.
Charles actually went on to propose to two other women before Diana.
1980: Charles and Diana meet again, and Charles kissed her after she expressed sympathy at the death of his friend and uncle, Lord Mountbatten. Later that year, he takes her sailing on the royal yacht and invites her to Balmoral to meet his family.
February 1981: The Engagement. The papers had noticed the relationship between Charles and Diana, Prince Pihillip wrote a letter his son urging him to either propose or end the relationship. In February, the pair go public with their engagement. On the night she moves out of her London apartment, her protective officer warns “I just want you to know that this is your last night of freedom ever, in the rest of your life, so make the most of it.” Diana is later criticised for wearing a revealing dress, and comments about “an ounce or two of puppy fat” contribute to her eating disorder.
July 1981: The Wedding. 20-year-old Diana married 32-year-old Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral, in one of the biggest events the nation has seen. Diana ommited the word “obey” from her vows, and Prince Charles forgot to kiss Diana during the ceremony. The result is the now infamous first kiss photo on the balcony of Buckingham Palace that other wedded royals have recreated since.
November 1981: The news is announced that Diana is pregnant with her first child, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis who is born in June 1982. According to tapes sent to journalist Andrew Morton, Diana reportedly ‘threw herself down the stairs’ when she was four months pregnant, desperately seeking attention from Charles.
September 1984: Prince Henry Charles Albert David, aka Harry, is born.
April 1987: Diana shook hands with a man at London’s Middlesex Hospital, who was living with AIDS. It was shocking at the time as she didn’t wear gloves. Her gesture helped to dispel the misconception the the illness could be transmitted that way.
1989: Diana confronts Camilla about her ongoing affair with Charles. According to the Morton tapes, Diana said “I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on,” warning her not to treat Diana “like an idiot.” She also says in the tapes that she counts it as one of her bravest moments.
August 1992: The Sun newspaper reveals tapes claimed to be from an old phone conversation with Diana’s alleged lover James Gilby. They became known as the “squidgygate” tapes, as he used Squidgy, a pet name, several times throughout the recording.
December 1992: Parliament is informed by Prime Minister John Major of the official separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
January 1993: After “Squidgygate” came “Camillagate“. Recordings of phone conversations between Charles and Camilla in which he expresses a wish to be her tampon. No, really.
1995: Diana meets cardiac surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, and begins a secret, two-year relationship. He breaks up with her in the 1997 but he never reveals the details of their relationship or speaks to the press.
Nov. 20, 1995: The explosive Panorama interview airs. Diana candidly talks about her past struggles with depression, bulimia and self-harm, and also admits to her own infidelities. Talking about Charles and Camilla she said: “Well, there were three of us in the marriage so it was a bit crowded.” The manner in which Martin Bashir secured the interview is now being investigated.
August 1996: The details of the divorce are finalised.
Jan. 15, 1997: Diana walked through a minefield in war-torn Angola, to support the Red Cross’ call for a ban on landmines.
Aug. 30, 1997: Diana and Dodi Fayed, leave the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Paris. Their driver, Henri Paul, was later found to be three times over the legal limit. He raced through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in an attempt to escape the paparazzi, but he crashes their Mercedes. Henri and Fayed are killed instantly. Diana and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones are taken to the hospital.
Aug. 31, 1997: Diana is pronounced dead at 4 a.m. at Paris’ PItié-St. Salpêtrière Hospital, at the age of 36.