Royal feud: How Princess Diana left Queen ‘crestfallen’ with Balmoral snub

Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles became engaged in 1981, when Lady Diana Spencer was just 19. The Prince and Princess of Wales enjoyed some of their whirlwind romance on  the Queen’s beloved Scottish estate, where the Royal Family traditionally spend every summer. However, although Diana appeared to love the country lifestyle at first, the princess actually hated its remoteness and what she saw as its oppressive routine.

Tina Brown, in her 2007 biography “The Diana Chronicles”, explains: “The formality of Balmoral’s intractable routine made Diana desperate.” 

Diana’s misery began on honeymoon, when the Prince of Wales brought her to Balmoral after a stint on the Royal Yacht. 

Penny Junor, in her 2017 book “The Duchess: The Untold Story”, wrote of the honeymoon: “It was a disaster, and only served to demonstrate how very little they had in common.”

Although Diana told press that “Balmoral is one of the best places in the world”, Ms Junor writes, “nothing could be further from the truth”.

In reality, Ms Junor writes: “She hated  the countryside, hated his family’s passion for horses and dogs, hated the rain that poured down remorselessly; and she felt that her husband was avoiding intimate contact.”

“She was raging and getting no meaningful reassurance from Charles.”

Prince Charles, in response to his new wife’s unhappiness, withdrew into his solitary countryside pursuits and “left dealing with Diana to others”.

On one occasion he tasked his secretary Michael Colborne with looking after the princess for the day while the prince went out on the estate.

Ms Junor writes: “There followed the most shocking, distressing and draining days of Michael’s life.

“For six solid hours, with no distraction beyond a plate of sandwiches at lunchtime, he sat there while Diana cried, paced around the room, kicked the furniture, ranted about everyone and everything to do with the place she hated so much, and then fell into brooding silence before starting all over again.”

According to Ms Junor: “Charles was mystified and despondent. He didn’t know what had gone wrong or how he was going to cope.”

Katie Nicholl, in her 2010 book “William and Harry”, also describes how Diana did not feel comfortable at Balmoral later on in her life, when she took Prince William and Prince Harry there on holidays.

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Ms Nicholls writes: “Diana, who privately complained to Charles that she felt suffocated at Balmoral, had needed some space.

“When Diana had insisted on moving out of the main house into Craigowan Lodge a mile away the Queen had been crestfallen.”

She writes how the the Queen had “obliged”, “knowing it was best not to antagonise her daughter-in-law”, and offered the use of the lodge where she resides when Balmoral is open to the public.

Ms Nicholls reports how the Queen’s cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, said: “The Queen was so upset when Diana and the boys moved to the lodge.

“She said, ‘Why did they have to move? There are so many corridors for them to race down here and it’s so quiet now they have gone.’”

Ms Nicholls also describes how the Queen and Prince Philip doted on the young Princes. 

She writes: “They adored the time they got to spend with William and Harry.”

The Queen “encouraged them to let off steam at Balmoral”, and Prince Philip “taught them how to salmon-fish, and the boys would spend hours romping with him through the wild Scottish countryside”.

There have reportedly been tensions brewing around Balmoral this year, too, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be delaying their annual trip until after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have left Scotland.

Writing in the Daily Mail, royal expert Robert Jobson claims the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are waiting until Meghan and Harry return to Windsor before heading up to Balmoral. 

Mr Jobson claims Kate and William’s delay in their trip could be down to previous comments made by both Harry and Meghan rubbing them up the wrong way.

Earlier this month, Harry spoke about the couple’s plan to have a maximum of two children for environmental reason, which came in contrast to William and Kate’s three children and rumours of a fourth. 

Mr Jobson added: “What will have fuelled William and Kate’s disquiet, too, is Meghan’s stint as guest editor on British Vogue’s September issue.

“The Duchess insisted it would have been ‘boastful’ to appear on the cover – but failed to mention that Kate became the fashion bible’s cover star two years previously.”

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