THE QUEEN and Princess Diana reportedly had a complicated relationship which was often tested over the years, especially when the news of Prince Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles came to light. But what were the starkest difference between the two women’s childhoods?
The Queen, 93, is a treasured emblem across the globe but throughout her life Princess Diana, who was known as the People’s Princess, was beloved perhaps even more intensely. Diana’s down to earth attitude and brutal honesty irritated the monarchy, but adorned her in the hearts around the nation. Parents create lasting legacies on their children, seen now with the heartwrenching testaments and tributes Prince William and Prince Harry often pay their departed mother in their working lives. But what is the heart wrenching similarity between the Queen and Diana’s childhoods?
Diana, formally known as Lady Diana Spencer, joined the Royal family in 1981, despite a 13-year age gap between herself and Prince Charles.
Reader’s Digest claimed the Queen expected her future-daughter-in-law, one who came from an aristocratic background, to understand what royal life entailed.
However, the pressures of becoming royalty ended up being a heavy burden for Diana.
After the couple married, Diana penned a letter in 1991 detailing how she felt “extremely isolated” and the royal family “continuously misunderstood” her.
Queen and Princess Diana How were the childhoods of the Queen and Diana similar (Image GETTY)
But what are the largest similarity between the Queen and Diana’s childhoods?
According to royal author Ingrid Seward, the Queen and Diana had very different childhoods on the surface, with Diana often exhibiting signs of her emotional strain as a result whereas the Queen only spoke of a happy childhood.
Diana Frances Spencer was born on in 1961 as the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp.
Her family had been closely allied with the British royal family for several generations with Diana’s grandmothers having served as ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
Queen and Princess Diana Diana as a child (Image GETTY)
Diana was seven when her parents divorced and her mother later began a relationship with Peter Shand Kydd, who she married in 1969.
Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents’ separation in 1967, but during that year’s Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp refused to let Diana return to London with Lady Althorp.
He won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy and it was with him that she remained for the rest of her childhood.
Ingrid Seward writes in her book The Queen and Di: The Untold Story of how Diana’s mother left at an early age, “condemning her to a lifetime of mental anguish”.
Queen and Princess Diana Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth as children (Image GETTY)
She writes: “The effect on her youngest daughter proved to be even more destructive.
“Diana would recall her mother packing her suitcase and walking out of the house, never to return.
“…Sometimes she would blame her father for what happened; in the last years of her life she had switched the fault to her mother.
“Either way, it ensured that she had what she called ‘a very unhappy childhood’, and it condemned her to a lifetime of mental anguish.”
Queen and Princess Diana Then Princess Elizabeth as a child was left by her parents regularly (Image GETTY)
The Queen was said to have enjoyed an “idyllic” childhood but Ms Seward says both women were lonely and starved of companionship as children.
The royal authors speaks of how the young Diana spoke of a menagerie of twenty stuffed animals which she took to bed with her at night, who she called her “family”.
This unconsciously mimicked the Queen who years before had made her friends from a collection of 30 foot-high horse models on wheels.
The Queen raised mostly by nannies while her parents were absent on royal engagements, such as when her parents left her aged only nine months old for six months, to travel to Australia and New Zealand.
Queen and Princess Diana Princess Diana was often said to be scarred by her childhood (Image GETTY)
These separations happened several times in the years ahead as it was an era when royal duties were often prioritised above parental ones.
Ms Seward writes: “It is unfair to judge one generation by the standards of another but even by the criteria of her own era, Elizabeth’s childhood was repressed, regimented and desperately lonely.”
“The Queen is the product of her childhood, just as Diana was of hers.
“In one it created the appearance of coldness while the other is remembered as warm and open-hearted.
“Behind the disparate facades, however, there was a common bond.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK