How Princess Diana Really Felt About Her Marriage to Prince Charles
People in the U.K. remember the BBC's royal correspondent Jennie Bond as a seemingly permanent fixture on TV after Princess Diana's death in 1997. She was also there to report on the Queen's "annus horribilis" of 1992 which involved a fire at Windsor Castle and the break up of both Prince Charles and the Duke of York's marriages.
Now, the 67-year-old is returning to the royals by teaming up with Photobox, the online photo printing company, to search for the best photos of the royal family taken by members of the public. The aim is to compile a biography of 300 photos before it is presented to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as a wedding present. Photobox has also confirmed that the proceeds of all copies sold will go to charity.
Bond, who left her job as
1. DIANA WAS A SHREWD WOMAN WHO TRUSTED ME WITH SECRETS
"I got to know Diana, we had long conversations and I asked her all sorts of very probing questions about her private life, marriage, and feelings. She answered them all. That was most unusual and was before Panorama [the groundbreaking interview she recorded with the BBC's Martin Bashir in 1995]. She also told me ‘there were three of us in this marriage,’ but in confidence.
"We had an hour and a half in her drawing room talking about all sorts of things. Her last words as I was leaving were: 'Oh Jennie, you do realize this is just between you and me and our four walls.' Whether I made the right decision [to keep it quiet], or whether she actually wanted me to go out and tell it… part of me now wonders why she did tell me all of that. I suspect it might be true that she did want me to broadcast it 'from a source'. I was probably too thick to realize."
2. THE QUEEN HAS A DRY SENSE OF HUMOR
"The Queen has a dry, rye sense of humor, she's quite funny and has a dazzling smile. Prince Charles was very troubled in the years I knew him. That's much less so now, I’m glad he found contentment in later life with the love of his life at his side. He’s got a sense of humor which I like. I would joke with him around the world; we’d have
"Princess Diana was far more articulate, coherent, shrewd, and strong than I had anticipated. She was funny and much more intelligent than she made out. She would convulse with laughter,
"With Prince William and Harry, they were always extremely polite but you knew the last thing they wanted to do was talk to a member of the press. That holds true to all of them but particularly the boys, who - though were nothing but courteous and polite to me - because of what happened to their mother they'd rather not talk to a reporter. I think they've now accepted the press as a necessary evil. I've watched them grow up and they've been through a lot and turned out fantastically well."
3. THE SPICE GIRLS MADE HARRY SMILE AFTER DIANA'S DEATH
"Just after his mother died, Charles took Harry to South Africa. It was a very poignant tour; he was 13 and had lost his mum about nine weeks before. He was allowed to meet the Spice Girls there and, well, the joy on his face, you could just see he was cheeky Harry again after all the grief of those weeks. I remember that very clearly, I wish I had some photos of that taken from my perspective."
Prince Harry met Mel B, Emma Bunton, and Victoria Beckham in Johannesburg, November 1997
4. BEING A ROYAL COMES WITH A PRICE
"One thing I learned on the job was that I feel sympathy for the family in some way. I feel sympathy for the destiny they are born in to, the restrictions and constrictions it places on their lives. For example, the princes lacked the choice most men their age do about what to do with their lives. It's a very restricting birthright but it does come with a huge amount of privilege."
5. THE ROYAL FAMILY CAN BE THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY
"At the same time I feel sympathy, I do feel the family can be their own worst enemy. They hate the idea of 'image' and they always have. The palace always said to me ‘it’s not a word we deal with’ and I’d say: ‘Look, your image matters.’
The monarchy has to have a point and one of their big points is the work they carry out. To harness that influence and publicise this good work, they need the press. To have a decent relationship with the press would seem to
6. THE ROYALS MINIMIZE MEANINGFUL PRESS INTERACTION
"As a specialist, it's with you the whole time, you can't just hand it over. The bosses want you to be available 24/7. I was 38 around the time I got pregnant with my daughter, very soon after I got the job. It was difficult to have a very much wanted little girl and this big job which took me off around the world. You had to go when the phone went."
"It's also a difficult area of journalism. People sometimes think it’s very shallow, frilly and frothy and there are aspects that are those things, but it’s also extremely difficult to establish the truth because you cannot simply go and meet the Queen. You can’t ring up in the same way a political correspondent would ring up a cabinet minister. You meet press secretaries and maybe private secretaries or ladies-in-waiting, but face to face interaction with any member of the family in any meaningful way is extremely rare which makes it quite difficult."
7. THE ROYAL FAMILY ADORE MEGHAN MARKLE
"Meghan and Harry's relationship couldn't be a better example of how much the monarchy has changed. She’s been embraced with open arms, carrying out royal duties way before she’s married. She is for all intents and purposes now a member of the royal family. She's been to Sandringham and spent Christmas up there which is most unusual and I think unprecedented. The contrast between how the monarchy handled Wallis Simpson and Meghan is extremely stark, telling and encouraging."
8. MEGHAN MARKLE SEEMS 'UTTERLY CHARMING'
"Meghan has immediately exuded confidence. Take the engagement interview, for example. Normally the bride sits there very quiet and prim and only speaks when spoken to, but Meghan did most of the talking, really. She's a bit older, which comes with a great deal of experience, plus she's been married before which I think stands her in good stead as she knows relationships have their ups and downs. I think she's got it all going for her and seems, although I've not met her, utterly charming and very modern, which is excellent."
9. THE UPCOMING ROYAL WEDDING WILL BE INTIMATE
"I think the couple
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.