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Business News/ News / World/  Queen Elizabeth's relationship with Princess Diana and Meghan Markle

Queen Elizabeth's relationship with Princess Diana and Meghan Markle

Family life provided the biggest shocks during her record-breaking reign.

Queen Elizabeth (AFP)Premium
Queen Elizabeth (AFP)

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died on Thursday at 96. A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and her name defines an age: the modern Elizabethan Era.

Family life provided the biggest shocks during her record-breaking reign. In 1992, her daughter Anne divorced her husband Mark Phillips, Charles split from Diana, and Andrew separated from Sarah Ferguson.

Compounded by a major fire at her favoured Windsor Castle home west of London, the queen called the 12 months her "annus horribilis". After Diana's death in 1997, the queen initially rejected the idea that Charles would marry his long-term mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. She did not attend their civil wedding in Windsor in 2005 but did organise a reception at the castle. Asked about Charles' criticism of their mother, Anne said: "I don't believe any of us for a second thought that she didn't care for us in exactly the same way as any other mother did. "I just think it extraordinary that anybody could construe that that might not be true," she told the BBC.

Relationship with Princess Diana:

Queen Elizabeth had approved of Diana's marriage to her oldest son, Charles in the year 1981. The prince married Lady Diana Spencer at London's St. Paul's Cathedral in a fairy-tale wedding watched by an estimated 750 million people worldwide. They later divorced in 1996 after the royal family was rocked by revelations about the news of infidelity. Charles has been a controversial royal over the years, from his affair while married to Princess Diana, and alleged persistent political interference, to occasional gaffes and scandals involving aides. 

Speaking about the relationship between Diana and Queen Elizabeth, as per New York Post, Diana was not an outsider, Queen godmother to Diana’s younger brother, Charles Spencer. 

Though princess knew how to handle the royals, she was terrified of her mother-in-law in the early days, as stated the princess to the author Andrew Morton in his 1992 book “Diana: Her True Story. Diana even once told Royal biographer Ingrid Seward noted in her book “The Queen and Di" that “I have the best mother-in-law in the world."

After the wedding, Diana and Charles’ relationship grew rocky, so did her relationship with the queen. 

Seward also wrote how the monarch began to dread the emotional princess’ unscheduled visits. "A footman said, ‘The princess cried three times in a half an hour while she was waiting to see you.’ The queen replied, ‘I had her for an hour — and she cried nonstop.'"

In her extraordinary 1995 interview in which she revealed her feelings over his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana famously said "there were three people" in her marriage. Giving her version of events -- and admitting her own infidelity -- Diana laid bare her struggles within Britain's most famous family, criticising the royals and questioning Charles's fitness to be king.

The Queen wanted to help her daughter-in-law, but didn’t know how. “For Princess Diana, there was a hope that somehow the queen would intervene to make things OK in their marriage again," Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson said in the Channel 5 documentary “Two Golden Queens."

As per Jephson, “But there was a communication problem between two very different generations. Between two strong women." “There was a certain school of traditional royal thought that Diana should stop being silly."

When Diana met with an accident, Queen Elizabeth II was on vacation in Scotland at the time of the accident, and she remained there for several days. She declined to lower the flag atop Buckingham Palace to half-staff, citing protocol, as rare public anger mounted against the monarch.

Elizabeth seemed, publicly at least, unmoved by Diana’s death, even as the prime minister — media-savvy Tony Blair — coined a memorable phrase in describing Diana as “the people’s princess."

The queen eventually relented and came to London to pay her respects. The royal family then took steps to regain public favor, in part by adopting the more people-friendly approach Diana had used.

"She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness," the Queen said of Diana.

"I admired and respected her - for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys."

Queen Elizabeth II's eldest son has never enjoyed the same public affection as his mother, which may add to the challenges he now faces as king.

Relationship with Meghan:

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, by contrast, decided to give up their duties as working members of the Royal Family and move to the US. Markle, whose mother is Black, said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that an unnamed senior royal had asked how dark her unborn son’s skin color would be, prompting a rare public response from the queen, who said the issues raised by the couple would be taken very seriously. The Palace also battled to contain a controversy over Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, with a legal settlement eventually reached in February 2022 after he had stepped down from royal duties. He was also stripped of military ranks and royal patronages, although the queen demonstrated her fondness for her second son by giving him a prominent position at Prince Philip’s memorial service.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 09 Sep 2022, 10:44 AM IST
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