PRINCESS DIANA shared a surprising trait with Tony Blair, according to the former Prime Minister in his unearthed memoir.
Diana was famously dubbed ‘the People’s Princess’ by the former Prime Minister shortly after her death in 1997. Her approachable nature and compassion is said to have altered the aloof monarchy permanently and made her a global icon. Despite giving her the title which has come to define her image after death, Mr. Blair pointed out a less flattering characteristic which both he and the Princess of Wales had in his memoir.
Writing in ‘A Journey’ in 2010, Mr. Blair claimed: “We were both, in our own way, manipulative people.”
By that, he meant he was good at understanding the feelings of others and instinctively playing on them.
Mr. Blair is not the only figure to have identified her savvy nature, especially when it came it her public image.
Shortly after her death, former editor of The Times Peter Stothard said: “Let it not be said that she lacked sophistication about the media, her use of it and is the use of her.”
Tony Blair and Princess Diana (Image: Getty)
Charles and Diana went through a very public and messy split (Image: Getty)
As one of the most photographed women in the world who often implied she felt trapped within the Royal Family, Diana was known to use her relationship with the press to her advantage.
For instance, when she visited the Taj Mahal without her husband – months before her official separation from Charles – photographs of her sitting outside one of the greatest love monuments alone stole the front pages, helping to increase public sympathy for her.
She would regularly flatter reporters and leak choice snippets of news, which enabled her to have a level of control over the media coverage of her life.
Blair and his wife Cherie Blair at Diana’s 1997 funeral (Image: Getty)
As Sally Bedell Smith wrote in her 1999 biography ‘Diana: The Life of a Troubled Princess’, Diana realised she could use her failed marriage to her advantage.
The biographer added one of Diana’s friends claimed she was even “manipulative of her parents”, quick to sense when her parents would not be able to refuse her requests.
She wrote: “Both John and Frances wanted Diana’s attention, and didn’t hesitate to do whatever would get them the desire affection of their daughter.”
Penny Junor described her “manipulative nature” too in the 2014 biography ‘Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son’, and how the behaviour she used on her parents extended to her life as an adult.
Diana, pictured alone at the Taj Mahal in 1992 without Prince Charles (Image: Getty)
Diana famously shook the hands of AIDS patients in the Eighties (Image: Getty)
She wrote: “Diana wasn’t thinking like a mother.
“She was the child, still nursing those feelings of abandonment and emptiness that she had carried for so much of her life, hellbent on self-aggrandisement and self-justification, and ultimately, self-destruction.”
She added: “Her love for them was almost obsessive, and it was possessive. One of her favourite phrases was: ‘Who loves you most?’”
However, Mr Blair also pointed out in his documentary how she was different when she “reached out to the disabled or sick”.
Diana in her well-remembered ‘revenge dress’ on 1994 (Image: Getty)
He said: “I knew that when she reached out to the disabled or sick in a way no one else could have done and no one else in her position ever had done, it was with sincerity.
“She knew its effect, of course, but the effect could never have been as a powerful as it was if the feeling had not been genuine.”
Similarly, the narrator in the 2017 documentary, ‘Princess Diana: The Woman Inside’, claimed she was often “branded the ultimate manipulator”, when really she “promoted her image only for the good of others”.
For instance, when she was photographed shaking the hand of an AIDS patient in 1987, she helped to break the social stigma around skin-on-skin contact with the disease.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK