Diana: Story of a Princess

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9780743422062: Diana: Story of a Princess

Based on the groundbreaking ITV/The Learning Channel documentary series, and drawn from years of research and dozens of interviews with friends and associates speaking on the record for the first time, Diana contains never-before-revealed information and stunning insights about the beloved -- and largely misunderstood -- Princess of Wales.
From claims that Diana was ready to leave Charles just weeks before the wedding to her lifelong battle against depression, from world-exclusive interviews with Diana's beau James Hewitt and her "surrogate mother-in-law" Shirley Hewitt to details about the unconventional "arrangements" in the royal household -- between Diana and James, Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles -- Diana is an honest, objective, and unparalleled biography.
With thirty-two photographs -- including several never before published -- Diana shows all facets of this fascinating woman: her magic, her manipulations, her dazzling public persona, and her place in her people's hearts and history.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Tim Clayton, author and writer/producer of numerous historical documentaries, and Phil Craig, of the award-winning documentary production company Brook Lapping (U.K.), are the authors of the bestselling book Finest Hour as well as The End of the Beginning.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One: Look At Me

With a light knock on the door, Lady Diana Spencer came into the office. She looked first at her feet, then towards the royal official who was now standing before her. It was obvious she had been crying. Would he mind if she asked him a delicate question? Of course not.

She hesitated for a moment and then asked whether he knew someone called Camilla Parker Bowles. He said yes immediately. He knew her as a friend of Prince Charles who was married to in officer in the Household Cavalry. He had met her several times; all the senior staff had.

Then Diana said in a quiet but serious voice that she had just asked the Prince of Wales whether he was in love with Camilla Parker Bowles. He had not said no. As the tears returned, but still looking him full in the face, she asked another question: 'What am I going to do?' The courtier had no idea what to say. In his years of royal service, no one had ever spoken to him like this. He wasn't alone. Within hours one of his closest colleagues, another senior member of the royal household, was asked exactly the same question.

The wedding was only ten days away. What were they all going to do? After urgent consultations in a corridor, the courtiers suggested to Diana that she should talk it over with Camilla face to face. One of them arranged a lunch at her favourite restaurant. It was called Ménage-à-trois.

So we had lunch. Very tricky indeed. She said: 'You are not going to hunt are you?' I said: 'On what?' She said: 'Horse. You are not going to hunt when you go and live at Highgrove are you?' I said: 'No.' She said: 'I just wanted to know.'

Inside Buckingham Palace they awaited the outcome apprehensively. When Diana came back she said 'It was brilliant. We all understand each other.' One of the courtiers told us:

We all heaved a sigh of relief. I do think Camilla and Charles backed off in the early years. But an atmosphere soon developed. Some of us put it down to Diana being spoilt. I put it down to different backgrounds.

Diana Spencer's background was different to Prince Charles's, but not that different. She was born into one of the grandest families in England, a family that for two hundred years had been intimate with the court and its slowly ossifying traditions.

'The Lord Chamberlain ventures most respectfully to hope that the heart-stirring though silent sympathy of the vast crowds of Your Majesty's subjects may have somehow helped Your Majesty in his crushing sorrow,' wrote Diana's great-grandfather to George V. Edward VII had just died and Earl Spencer was looking forward to arranging the new King's coronation. He made urgent notes regarding the forthcoming ceremonials: 'Queen's robes -- Are they safeguarded from moth in the Tower?'

Diana's grandfather was the first of his family for several generations not to take a place at court. But this was chiefly owing to his devotion to a more urgent duty: to preserve his own decaying heritage. In 1922, as a young officer in the Life Guards, Albert Edward John, 7th Earl Spencer, inherited the palace and estates of Althorp in Northamptonshire and the urban palazzo called Spencer House in St James's Place, overlooking Green Park. Both were packed with priceless fittings, furniture and paintings, all of which needed care and restoration.

There were debts, mortgages, death duties and the buildings were in disrepair. He raised £300,000 by selling six masterpieces Reynolds, Gainsborough, van Dyck and Frans Hals to the United States. This solved the immediate problem. During the war 'Jack', as the seventh earl was known, emptied Spencer to save its fabulous contents from Hitler's bombers, and he rowded more evidence of the affluence of his ancestors between the fading silk wall hangings of his country home. As time went by Althorp became increasingly museum-like. In 1957 he opened it to the public, the condition for receiving government grants to save the fabric of the house from dry rot and deathwatch beetle. But even though Jack Spencer was preoccupied with the conservation of one of the largest fortunes made in the days when Britannia truly ruled the trade routes, his wife, Lady Cynthia, kept up tradition. In 1936 she was made a Woman of the Bedchamber and she later became a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. She was still a courtier when her granddaughter Diana was born.

Diana's first home, Park House, is in the grounds of Sandringham House, the Royal Family's country seat in Norfolk. To Prince Charles, Diana was the girl next door -- the youngest of three Spencer sisters, along with Sarah and Jane, who were all spoken of from the nursery as possible brides for Britain's three young princes.

This priviliged proximity to the royal home was owed to Diana's maternal grandparents. In the 1930s Diana's grandfather, the Irish-American Maurice Roche, Lord Fermoy, had settled in King's Lynn and had befriended the shy, stammering Duke of York, later King George VI. Fermoy's wife, Ruth, was even closer to the Duchess, later Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother). When the Fermoys had children, the King and Queen invited them to take the lease of Park House. Later it passed to their daughter, Frances Roche, Diana's mother.

Diana's father, Johnny Spencer, Viscount Althorp, was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. As an officer in the Royal Scots Greys, he fought in Normandy after D-day. After the war he became equerry to King George VI, and after the King's death in February 195z he was appointed equerry to his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. He met the bright and lively Frances Roche on a visit to Sandringham. After her coming-out ball in April 1953 the twenty-nine-year-old Johnny and the seventeen-year-old Frances began an intense love affair.

After their engagement Johnny accompanied the Queen on her coronation tour of Australia while the bride's family arranged the wedding. With both bride and groom so closely connected to the Windsors, it was natural that there should be a royal presence at the ceremony on 1 June 1954. It took place at Westminster Abbey, a rare privilege. Seventeen hundred people were invited to the service, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Queen Mother and six other members of the Royal Family. The Daily Mail called it the wedding of the year. Through a tunnel formed by the raised swords of the Scots Greys, the bride and groom left the abbey for a reception at St James's Palace.

Johnny and Frances's first daughter Sarah was born within a year. But, like generations of the great county families before them, what the Spencers really wanted was a son and heir. Jane, their second daughter, was born in 1957. The third child was a son, John, but he died within ten hours of his birth on 12 January 1960. The event was shattering for both parents, and rather than bringing them together it did the opposite. Johnny Spencer could not conceal his disappointment. Frances has confirmed that she was sent by her family (in which she included mother-in-law Cynthia Spencer and her mother Ruth) to be seen by specialist obstetricians in the belief that there must be something wrong with her.

When Frances became pregnant again (after a miscarriage that she kept secret) there can be little doubt that both parents were hoping for a boy. At each successive confinement Jack Spencer had built bonfires at Althorp to celebrate the birth of an heir. But the result was Diana. She later told her biographer Andrew Morton that she had felt unwanted from a very early age because her parents so clearly wanted her to be him. Frances says that this was an idea implanted in the adult Diana by therapists. And since an heir, Charles Spencer, was finally born on 20 May 1964, when Diana was still only three, she had little time to develop such an understanding of her parents' secret feelings of disappointment when she was young.

Charles Spencer's birth did not cure the tension at Park House. Johnny and his wife had drifted apart. Perhaps, having finally produced a son, Frances felt that she had discharged her responsibilities and could look to her own happiness. Still young and financially independent, she began to spend more time in London.

In 1966 Frances met Peter Shand Kydd over dinner. The heir to a thriving wallpaper business, he was adventurous, Bohemian and bright. The Althorps and the Shand Kydds met frequently, culminating in a joint skiing holiday. But the attraction between Frances and Peter was at the heart of the friendship between the families. Eventually Peter left his wife and met Frances secretly during her visits to London. She told Johnny about the affair in September 1967, and he agreed to a trial separation. She found a flat in Cadogan Place. In October, Diana, Charles and their nanny went to join their mother in London. Sarah and Jane were by now away at boarding school. Frances had found places for Diana at a local school and Charles at a kindergarten. Their father visited at weekends. It's likely that the children did not know of their parents' separation. The family was united at Park House in Norfolk for Christmas 1967, but then Johnny refused to allow the children to return to London with their mother and she left alone.

On 10 April 1968 Janet Shand Kydd sued her husband for divorce on the grounds of his adultery with Frances Spencer. In September 1968 Frances went to court with her plea for custody of her children. Lady Fermoy gave evidence against her daughter and she lost. A generous view of Lady Fermoy's behaviour is that she felt the children would be better off in Norfolk. A less generous view is that she set a high value on the Spencer connection and was appalled that her daughter had run off with a tradesman. On 12 December Frances sued for divorce. Johnny cross-petitioned, citing her already proven adultery. He won his case and received custody of the children.

Lady Fermoy is one of the minor villains of the Diana story: tough, ambitious, inflexible and steeped in the culture of another era....

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Book Description Atria Books, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Based on the groundbreaking ITV/The Learning Channel documentary series, and drawn from years of research and dozens of interviews with friends and associates speaking on the record for the first time, Diana contains never-before-revealed information and stunning insights about the beloved -- and largely misunderstood -- Princess of Wales. From claims that Diana was ready to leave Charles just weeks before the wedding to her lifelong battle against depression, from world-exclusive interviews with Diana s beau James Hewitt and her surrogate mother-in-law Shirley Hewitt to details about the unconventional arrangements in the royal household -- between Diana and James, Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles -- Diana is an honest, objective, and unparalleled biography. With thirty-two photographs -- including several never before published -- Diana shows all facets of this fascinating woman: her magic, her manipulations, her dazzling public persona, and her place in her people s hearts and history. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780743422062

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