‘I will top myself!’Diana wrote a desperate note to a friend a few months before her death


In 1996, Diana, Princess of Wales wrote letters to friends wondering what her life would be like in 1997.

Diana in 1996, the year before her death

Diana in 1996, the year before her death (Image: Michael Dunlea/Express Newspapers)

It had been thought she spent her last Christmas alone at Kensington Palace. But in the note she revealed she had other plans.

She wrote: “I am off abroad for a week on the 24th to the sunshine, as not being a lover of Christmas, I will top myself if I reman here!”

Diana adds: “I hope ’97 will be an easier year for us all.”

In keeping with Royal Family tradition, her sons, Princes William and Harry – then aged 14 and 12 – spent the festivities at Sandringham with Charles and grandparents the Queen and Prince Philip.

A letter from Diana, Princess of Wales

A letter from Diana, Princess of Wales (Image: )

The note is one of 32 letters and cards from Diana to close friends Susie and Tarek Kassem, who are selling them at auction with some of the proceeds going to charity.

The Princess begins and ends it by thanking the couple for “two lovely presents” – flowers and a glass bowl.

She also remembers her friend Yannis Kaliviotis, who she knew as John and who died in 1996 from cystic fibrosis, aged 27. She wrote: “I think often of John and his family and miss them more than I could ever have imagined.”

Diana started 1997 in a relationship with heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan, which ended in the July. She then began seeing Dodi Fayed, who died with her on August 31.

In another, earlier letter to the Kassems, sent in September 1996, she described how she was enjoying her freedom.

A letter from Diana, Princess of Wales

A letter from Diana, Princess of Wales (Image: )

“Lots of nice things have come my way and it’s fun… who’d have thought!”

Mimi Connell Lay, of Lay Auctioneers in Penzance, Cornwall, said: “The Christmas 1996 letter is heartbreaking.

“We have the benefit of hindsight, of course, and we know what happened to her in the year of 1997. It really is a tragic letter in that respect.

“Diana did struggle with Christmas time as they always had to be spent at Sandringham House and she found that really hard going later in the marriage.

“She spent the Christmas of 1995 with the Kassems and it is clear in this letter she had made plans not to spend the next one alone at Kensington Palace.

“I think the line about topping herself was a throwaway, light-hearted remark given the exclamation mark.

“The letter she sent in September was far more upbeat about her looking forward to the future.”

The Kassems’ letters are due to be auctioned on February 16.


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