The phrase whispering in Margaret Thatcher's ear is the most operatic thing I have ever heard. You want to tag line us, tag line us into this thing. Yes. Welcome to You're Wrong about where we play cleanup hitter for last time. So that's very good.
Although baseball metaphor, I don't know what it means. I don't really know either, but I think it means that Lifetime got there first and we're getting their second. We're like, take it easy, life time.
I am Michael Hub's. I'm a reporter for the Huffington Post.
I'm Sarah Marshall. I'm working on a book about the same panic, panic.
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And rant to your friends at dinner about whatever weird thing we're telling you about that day or rant to no one because we're all all alone.
That's like a very good introduction to this episode, actually. Oh no, I know. I know.
Because this episode is basically about it's the wedding of Charles and Diana and then the eventual slow glacial decline of their marriage.
Yeah, it's just a very normal, broken relationship. You know, as we often see with these things, it's like you can have two inert gases that you put them together and they become poisonous. And it's sort of the same thing here that you can imagine these two people being happy with other people and you can imagine them not treating each other so terribly. But it's just at every turn. They are thwarted by the world around them and basically themselves.
Are you calling Princess Diana an inert gas? Other people will call her worse things in this episode. Oh, boy. All right. Fair warning.
But yeah, I mean, maybe to make up for my surplus of insufferable medicaments last time, I have kind of a deficit.
This time I only have, like, one quick introductory thing to say.
Oh, boy. So a lot of this episode is going to deal with the huge difference between the British royal family and the other humans who populate this planet. I just have been thinking about the royal family a lot. And I thought we should talk about like the royal family as an institution. So, yeah, what do you what do you think about them? What are what are your royal family thoughts to me?
The interesting thing about British monarchy is that, like everyone does seem to sort of agree that they're like these powerless national exhibits, you know, like armor that like exists to be enjoyed by the public or something like that, I guess. But they still maintain the law that, like, they're descended from people appointed by God. And like I don't think that belief system goes away. Like, I think that whatever they have become in modern times, like it's hard for people not to still see them as the threat that they claim to be for so long and still kind of are by the fact that they're like acting like whether they have babies is important.
Do you want to hear my hot take on the royal family? I do. As a guy who worked in human rights for 11 years, I think that it is a human rights violation to have the royal family at this point.
This is I mean, obviously, there are larger human rights violations in the world like this is. I'm not going to become a campaigner on this or anything.
But it's really I mean, these are people who are raised in a cage. They are not able to choose their profession. They are subjected to absurd press scrutiny from the time they're toddlers.
Oh, they're like fur foxes. Yes. They don't know how to hunt for themselves. So they have to be adopted by someone who let them just pee on their child. That's the thing.
I mean, they're raised, you know, the sort of the thing we always hear is like, well, you know, they're so rich. So, like, how could we possibly feel sorry for them? How could this possibly be an injustice? But like, are we are we so naive that we don't think that people can be rich and miserable or rich and suffering? Like how many stories do we have of this? Like, wealth does not insulate you from pain.
Yeah, it just insulates you from most pain. Yes.
It's just this entire system to me, like there are other reasons to get rid of the monarchy, obviously.
But to me, it's just like it's wildly unjust to subject people to this level of public scrutiny and this absurd duty when, like, they have no choice in the matter.
Yeah, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
Yeah, I think it's interesting that something that basically only causes suffering of the people that it is about is also so expensive.
Yeah, it's expensive misery isn't it.
I mean anything we're a British tabloid has any reason to be interested in you. Oh my God. Even for a single day, it really feels like an act of abuse to me. Yes. Fame is abuse.
So now that we have established that all of these people are rich and sad, do you want to dive in? All right, let's jump in. What do you remember from last time Princess Diana was born, came of age and became engaged to Prince Charles? She had a lonely childhood. He had a lonely childhood. They were both sad, posh people. Yeah, that about sums it up.
That's about it. OK, so because you mentioned last episode that you wanted to talk about outfits, we are going to do this entire episode outfit to outfit.
Yes, I know. Outfit to outfit. History is my favorite kind of history. I know.
So I'm going to send you I didn't really count up like seven or eight different outfits. And we're going to talk about the context of each one and what they mean and where she is in her life when she's wearing them.
So exciting. So we're going to start with a little black dress.
I'm trying to find where here is this one down, though. This is a wonderful look. Tell us tell us about it.
She's wearing like a hot lady.
80S Christmas dress is what I would call it.
Right. I never thought about it that way. But yes, absolutely.
It looks like velvet. I mean, I'm guessing that based on nothing, except that the dresses of this design are often velvet. It's sleeveless. It has, I don't know, clothes, words. It has kind of ruffles at the front. She's wearing it with a very small looks like diamond necklace and big diamond earrings. And she just looks like the most beautiful lady I know. The corporate Christmas party. Nineteen eighty two.
That's the look. This is the period before the wedding. She is twenty here.
Wow. OK, so tell me about it. What is the event and what do people say about it and all that stuff.
So when she is wearing this dress she is at the tail end of a very odd engagement because remember they get engaged in February, but they don't get married until late July. There's this long period of like just preparing for the wedding and her basically getting like a little taste of the royal life that she's entering. And I'm not going to get super duper detailed in this. But when you read the different accounts of it, it's basically just a series of red flags.
This is the part of her life where she's entered the house full of scary murderers.
But she hasn't gone up the stairs calling Brad that basically I mean, all of the things that are going to happen to her in this six month period are going to get much worse over the course of her marriage. Both Tina Brown and Andrew Morton, the two biographers whose books were basically covering these episodes, both of them kind of skip over this detail. But to me, it's a really important detail at the beginning of their engagement, right after he proposes and she says, yes, he moves her into the sort of the royal quarters.
She is now like an official quasi member of the royal family. So like a car comes to pick her up from her relatively modest Kensington apartment, it drives her off to first is one of these other residences. But then it's Buckingham Palace. You know, it's at night. I think it's like 10:00 p.m. it's dark. She shows up at the house and nobody is waiting for her. So it's just like this footman guy driver who's basically just like, yep, your room is like seven on the left.
She's like, OK, so it's like she's showing up for a classic haunted weekend murder mystery. I'm sorry that I keep comparing all British culture to murder mysteries.
It's just that it's your most well-known ex export. You guys, I'm sorry. It's because of all the hats.
We're going to have this episode. So the way Andrew Morton puts it is Diana was given less training in her new job than the average supermarket checkout operator because the checkout operator is actually a pretty difficult job.
I say this as someone who did that.
Yes, you can imagine a world where they're like, look, we're weird. We have some weird rules. I'm going to spend a couple of months like walking you through this. You're going to get stuff wrong. At first. It's not that big of a deal. But, you know, I'm going to be there at Buckingham Palace. When you get there, I'm going to show you like you're we're four poster bed I'm going to tell you about, like the daily schedule.
You don't I mean, like, walking her through, like you're about to enter something weird, but nobody ever does that. So at every point she's just completely alone. And everyone around her in this very insular, very weird world is just like, why are you doing this wrong right there?
Like, why does Diana know to use the official Oyster Fork Unsane Smidgens Day?
So I kind of cheated this week and I ended up reading parts of a third biography.
Oh, my God, I couldn't help myself. I'm just like, weirdly fascinated by Prince Charles and like, not necessarily in a good way, but there's a biography of him that was published in twenty seventeen called Prince Charles The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable like. Wow.
That's an intense title. Tinamba, too.
And you can kind of tell from the title that, like, this is a pretty authorized biography of Charles. Yes. And so even in like this Thorning biography that Kassin in the best light at every opportunity, they. Basically mention that he refused to make any changes to his life in the run up to the engagement, so he like almost immediately after they get engaged, he has some royal tour to Australia and New Zealand that he goes on for like six weeks, just like thanks for marrying me, Bii.
And he misses her 20th birthday party because he's at some, like, museum exhibition.
Like, it's these sorts of things where she doesn't really know to ask like us. Do you mind just like toning it down a little bit and helping me adjust. And also, he doesn't get how absurdly inconsiderate it is to bring this person into this world and then just be like, oh, yeah, I'll be playing polo this weekend and then I'm going hunting in Huffaker next Tuesday, like totally oblivious to the fact that she's really struggling during this entire period.
Right. Because, like, isn't her whole job to just, like, come in and be a functional cog. Yeah. And this machine. Right. Because people are annoying him about getting married. And like, as someone who is 32 years old myself, I think it is classic 32 year old behavior to, like, slightly panic and find the first adult seeming thing you can think of to do and then do it and be like, get off my back, everybody.
So in another pattern that will also continue throughout her life, basically the only friends that she has, the only sort of normal contact is with the staff at Buckingham Palace that she'll just like go down to the kitchen and like sit there at the table with, like a pint of ice cream and just like chat to people like Goldie Hawn in the last act of overboard.
So red flag number two, she is also starting to get hints that he's still sleeping with Camilla, which we're pretty sure that he is.
So one of the things that happens is he gets a package and she ends up opening it or she sees the person who opens it or whatever. It's this bracelet with a sort of like a little pendant or something that has the initials F G engraved in it. And that is an inside joke between Charles and Camilla that they call each other Fred and Gladys. These are like cute nicknames that they have for each other. It's from an old TV show. The Charles biography says that it actually stands for G.F. Girl Friday.
But either way, it's like it's a cute nickname that he has with Camilla.
Yeah, it's a cute thing from someone else's relationship.
One of the things that he does that does not help. I mean, this is somebody who's grown up spoiled to a level that neither one of us can truly fathom.
It's not just that he grew up being rich. It's that he grew up being rich and being told that he was important, which is like this next level of basically child abuse that like he really has no realistic sense of his own intellectual powers.
Right. Because everyone around him, his entire life has been telling him that he's fascinating.
To be fair, a lot of middle class men have no sense of their intellectual power.
Also true, even this conversation where she's like, I don't like that you're giving this necklace to Camilla with like a cute name on it. Even that is like more pushback than he's maybe had his whole life or at least in years. Right. He has no idea how to deal with this, though. He insists he's like, no, no, she's she's my friend. I'm so going to go through with it. This is already sort of beginning this alienation process with Diana that he doesn't have any capacity to be flexible or see things from her point of view.
So Prince Charles is a classic husband or boyfriend posting on the am I the asshole Subrata?
He's like, I did this clearly horrible, terrible thing. Yeah. My wife or girlfriend. And she's crying and won't come out of our right. I'm like, I don't understand right. How it was bad. Why is she upset with me? And you're like, oh my gosh, you don't get it do you? You just don't understand that she has feelings, right?
He's the one who phrases it very carefully like they always are. They're like, am I the asshole for giving my friend a gift?
But also, Diana also meets with Camilla for lunch at this time. So one boy sort of like official invites that she gets is from Camilla.
I bet that salad was eaten aggressively, just quiet crunching sounds and no conversation, spearing a spearing of little micro greens.
And so there's this sort of sense of surveillance where Camilla at this lunch basically says, I know you're not like super into hunting and like Charles isn't hunting and you're not going to go hunting with them, are you? And Diana is like, oh, I wasn't really planning on it. And Camille is like, OK, good, good. And so the way that Diana reads this is Camilla like checking up on her being like, OK, this is still my realm, like this outdoorsy shit.
I do feel like this could be a good thing if people were communicating about it. Oh, yes, because if it were like Charles wants to do all these horrible, boring things and like right around chasing foxes through the forest on the weekends. So, like, he can have his, like, posh country things girlfriend who he has sex with and manor houses. And then I can be his princess girlfriend, like, if everyone wanted that, it would be a good labor saving device.
Yeah. And so this immediately drives this huge wedge between them and produces this like massive paranoia in Diana that Camilla is in the picture.
Still, it's not paranoia when they're actually fucking I know this is the thing I was actually thinking, what is the word for paranoia? But you're correct. Spidey sense. Yeah, maybe Spidey sense. I mean, they do actually stop sleeping with each other after the wedding.
There's some debate on how long goes by before they start sleeping together again. But there is a period when they are not sleeping together. And the entire period, Diane is super paranoid about it.
Well, then also, if you have a husband who's being kind of like distant and not super aware of your feelings or like your stake in the marriage, then I don't know. I can say Camilla also becoming a proxy figure for, like, everything wrong. Yeah, the whole situation, like even when she's not the problem.
And also Camilla is a symbol of all the ways that Diana doesn't fit in. Right. Because she's Charles's age. She knows all of his friends. She likes doing all the things that Charles does. How could you not be threatened by this woman who like very clearly clicks with your husband better than you do? So Diana is looking at her sort of like she is everything that the royal family wants Diana to be.
This is like if at the end of LaBranche, Jennifer Connolly had been like, yes, I will become the Goblin Queen and then carry them like crazy. So I actually do have a girlfriend, but hang out in the Goblin City with all the goblins and I will be on a goblin hunt for a few days and you're like, wait, I don't know anyone here.
So third red flag. This is when Diana gets her eating disorder. This is what she says. This is in the transcripts and Andrew Morton's book. I knew the bulimia started the week after we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said, oh, a bit chubby there, aren't we? Oh, God. And that triggered off something in me and the Camilla thing. I was desperate, desperate.
So there are other reports that she actually struggled with bulimia in her adolescence and that this was something that had kind of been in the background. But we know that either it began or it significantly intensified during this period. During the six months before the wedding, she goes her waste goes from twenty nine inches to twenty three and a half inches. And I don't wanna get too into the details, but just imagine the phrase severe bulimia and that is what she has.
I mean, this is it's a it's a huge problem. But so this brings us back to the black dress. So at this time during the six month period, she's finally going to these black tie affairs like she's now famous. Right? She's in all the newspapers. She's engaged to the prince. And so she's going to like party after party after party. The black dress is like the first time that she's wearing something kind of sexy, something that is really confident and really shows the rest of the world that, like, she's not going to be like the rest of the royal family.
And so this is from Tina Brown's book, where she's talking about the dress.
And next to this, I wrote Tone it down, Tina.
Until this moment, the public and the prince and Camilla had seen Diana only as a demure English rose. But when she stepped out of the limousine in that nipple busting black taffeta eye popper, it was the greatest moment of sexual theater since Cinderella traded her scuffed scullery clogs for Prince Charmings glass slippers. Wasn't that a mighty feast to set before a king? The ancient beauty lady Diana Cooper remarked to a friend about the ingenues sudden revelation of cleavage.
I love how we believe, apparently, that until you see a woman's breasts or legs, like we can't know whether they exist or not.
Oh, she has legs. Oh, right. Ooh.
According to Tina Brown, Prince Charles didn't like the dress because it was black and he was like, oh, only people who are in mourning wear black and essentially Diana because, you know, they're doing four changes of clothes every day. Now they're in this extremely formal living situation. And so she literally does not have enough clothes. And she basically just says, like, this is my only dress, dude. This is my only evening dress. I'm wearing it.
I'm sorry. I tried to go shopping and the women wouldn't help me as a sort of piece of foreshadowing at one of these formal parties, she meets Princess Grace, Grace Kelly. Oh, my goodness. Diana sort of connects to her.
And I guess as soon as she starts talking to Grace Kelly, she just like opens her mouth and outcomes. All of these fears and anxieties and I don't know what I'm doing. And what was it like for you?
This is like Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson. Oh, yeah. And then Grace Kelly sings Will the Circle Be Unbroken? No.
Unfortunately, Grace Kelly says, don't worry, sweetie, it will all get a lot worse.
OK, well, leave it to a girl from Philly to tell the truth.
I know. So in the days before the wedding. Both of them try to call it off. So Diane is already kind of freaking out two days before the wedding. They do a rehearsal dinner and she's just blubbering through the whole thing. And she's basically like, I can't go through with this.
Oh, God, you shouldn't get married if it makes you cry in that way.
One of the biggest problems in all this is she really doesn't have anyone around her who she can, like, reveal herself to because everyone around her is like also caught up in this fairy tale.
So she goes to lunch with her sisters and she starts to tell them how she's nervous and like he's not really making time for her. And her sister says, sorry, Diana, but your face is already on the tea towels, so you can't chicken out. Oh, God.
It's like it's already the wheels are in motion also.
And like on a smaller scale, how many women have gone through getting married because the place cards have already been ordered to.
Yeah, the caterer. Yeah, that's the thing. And it's just going to be such a hassle to stop it at this point. And it's also going to be embarrassing.
I mean, Charles also doesn't want to go through with it, but he is actually nervous that if he doesn't go through with it, it's going to make her look terrible, which is like on some level true. Right. If he all of a sudden announces his plans to marry this random 19 year old and then all of a sudden he backs out, he publicly rejects her. Yeah. He's, like, afraid of what that would do to her, you know, her future marriage prospects, what it would do to her psychologically.
So he's like, I don't really you know, I don't want to do that to her. And also he has a sense of duty. So he apparently the night before the wedding is also crying. And he eventually writes in a letter to a friend. He says he eventually goes through with it because it's the right thing for this country and for my family. Wow.
Why does the country need him to sink his fangs into a virgin? I know.
It's just so silly. It's like just do the thing that would make you happy. It's bad enough to be pushing women to reproduce within a window. But I was under the impression that if you're a guy, you can just pop a kid off at basically any moment of your life. Like, why hassle him?
I mean, there is the sense that, like, he's already swiped right on every single eligible bachelorette in Britain because they've defined that, like she has to be a virgin, she has to be from royal blood, like they've defined these absurd parameters.
So within those parameters, it's actually true. There aren't that many candidates, but maybe change the parameters.
Well, yeah, it's like if I decide that I must have a salmon flavoured bath family, I'll be like, boy, I can only buy this one bath bomb, but I guess I'll buy it.
So in the midst of all of these just waving, flapping in the breeze, red flags, the wedding happens.
Yeah. So this is our next outfit we're going to discuss.
Oh, boy, this entire thing is absurd. I have nothing to say about this other than that. It's absurd.
Excited three to one go. Yes. Oh, boy. All right, so here's her getting out of the stagecoach, his 25 foot train. Look at those flower girls. The world gets its first full glimpse of the fairytale princess demure behind her veil and the wedding dress that has been a carefully guarded secret, resplendent ivory silk taffeta trimmed with antique lace and a long, long train all 25 feet and embroidered as bewitching and romantic a bride as ever touched the heart of the world.
The service is to be taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the vows are really boring.
But she did remove the word obey. That's amazing that she was even able to do that. I know.
Yeah, usually said love, cherish and obey.
And she changed it to love and cherish everything about her dress, her flowers like the size of the church. It's just like all too much, too much wedding and a slender police cordon.
The man fills with people like a thermometer filled with mercury.
It's so romantic. If they want to have a big Latin embroidery, something, they can just embroider something.
And this is what they're waiting for. An appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, which has seen so many royal and national occasions in the past. Because it now has 75 children, but there's just these like little cherubs, and now they have to have babies so that they can grow up and also eventually got married. And people can do this again. Again, I guess, is why they're here. Do you want to hear how Tina Brown describes this?
Oh, my God, yes. She says the wedding did for the sales of tabloids with the O.J. Simpson chase did for the ratings of CNN.
Oh, my goodness.
Yeah, I thought you would like that. Wow.
750 million people watched the wedding worldwide.
My God. I see people I just love to be brought together by media events. Yes. For that many people to be brought together, apparently at least one person has to suffer. This time it was her theur.
The wedding itself is oddly like all the chapters in the biographies are oddly short. It doesn't seem like much interesting happens. She tries to ban rain legs from attending the wedding. Oh, really? But then they put her in the wedding. But somewhere where Diana can't see her, she's like behind a pillar. She gets like the cheap seats, her dress, because, you know, you saw her come out of that weird little stagecoach that like little Popemobile when they were designing her dress, they didn't take into account how small the little vehicle would be.
And she has to be in there with her dad. So I guess she was just packed in there like a fucking Amazon package with, like, little her little dad and like 200 yards of fabric for like a 45 minute drive.
She just like hot and miserable. Wow.
It's just the weird thing about wearing something like that is that, like, it's weird when your human body, like, does something like sweats or whatever and, you know, the dress and it's like, wait, why am I wearing something that's close to my body that doesn't like my body? Right.
And also, I mean, by all accounts, they are both ecstatically happy on this day. It seems like a lot of her fears fall away during the actual wedding day because it really is magical.
And like he's in his like Royal Navy stuff with all of his medals and she looks beautiful in her dress.
Yeah. Everyone loves to put on a big outfit. So this is from Andrew Morton's book. He says she convinced herself that the bulimia, which has scarred her engagement, was simply an attack, a pre wedding nerves, and that Camilla was consigned to history.
Everything will calm down once we got married. Once we get married, I'll work on the plane.
All right. I'm going to send you another photo. This is of her on her honeymoon.
Oh, boy. This looks like the ending of Hylander after he wins the prize. I haven't seen the movie in years, but I'll trust you.
Well, at the end, he's like, I won the prize and I got the girl. And we're sitting here on the heath with our little sweaters on.
I was going to say, it looks like the last two minutes of the graduate, were they sitting on a school bus being like, wait, what did we do? Yeah. Yes. Also that it's like a combination of the graduate and the Highlander. It's the lander.
Yeah, well, I imagine they're being photographed by the paparazzi, but they're both sitting on what looks like a leaf.
Now, this is a this is like a professional photograph. I mean, I'm being deliberately darkish with this because there's this is like, oh, shoot, this is like an official royal shoot. And there are pictures from the shoot where they look ecstatically happy together.
OK, this is one of the photos like in between smiles when they look a little bit more pensive. And Diana has this look on her face of like, take the fucking photo already, OK? Are we done with this yet?
Right. Yeah. I mean, I think where we're looking at the face of a woman who understands that she's going to do. Yes. Ten thousand of these. This is it. I can respect the person who potentially is going into this marriage in this situation, thinking like, I will change the British royal family. Yeah, the British royal family won't change me.
I mean, you know, one of the sweet little details from Andrew Morton's book is that people who sort of worked with her on her outfits, like her stylists, say that for years, even as the marriage is bad, you know, even if there's these sort of warning signs showing up when she tries on outfits, what she always asks them is, will my husband think I look sexy in this? She is very much like trying to make this work.
And so is he. I mean, we always think of these failed marriages as sort of doomed from the beginning. And in some ways this one was. But there's also periods where it's really clicking like any other failed marriage.
It's like you have to have the epiphany that it's not working twenty times before you really believe it.
I mean, later on, she says by day two of the honeymoon, she's miserable.
What do they do on the honeymoon? First, they go for three days to some random country manor or something, something. But it sounds like it's just this like random cold and drafty house in the middle of nowhere. And he insists on every day, like going out hunting and sort of doing things away from her all day. By day three, they go off onto his fucking yacht again for two weeks.
Again, it's like their honeymoon. But there's literally 256 other people on this boat.
It's a. Big boat, but like it's still a boat, you're still trapped on it. She's just exhausted, like she's barely been sleeping. There was all the wedding preparation. She just wants to relax. But every single night on this boat, because it's like an official royal tour or whatever, they have like white tie dinners.
And so it's like all these officers and there's people playing music. She's surrounded by all these other people. She's not really getting any quality time with her new husband. And so, again, she's hanging out of the kitchen staff. She's chatting to people. She's like being sort of extroverted because she needs to be. But ultimately, like, she's she's not forming any intimate relationships or feeling like she's really connecting with anybody. She's just kind of trying to get through it.
Nothing like trying to get through your honeymoon.
And she also they end up popping over to Egypt like they do all the diplomatic stuff. They hang out with the president of Egypt. At the dinner, she notices that Charles is wearing cufflinks with two C's entwined in them, Charles and Camilla.
Right. And she asked, did Camilla give you those?
And he's like, well, yeah, what's the big deal there for my friend? Come on.
Like, dude, just like in your fancy cufflinks box until the end of your honeymoon.
And Tina Brown sort of lets him off the hook for the slightly. She's like, look, Prince Charles is not pick out his own clothes.
So someone gave him those some of his footmen, like really don't like her because a lot of them end up getting fired after they get married because like the royal household as a married couple is just totally different than as a bachelor household. So there's kind of this like churn of staff. And so one of his secretaries or footman or whatever might have suggested those to him as a little fuck you to Diana.
But either way, Charles, still, like all he does is choose among options for clothes that are presented to him. He easily could have said maybe not on my honeymoon. Right. It's like it's still ultimately his responsibility to not wear something that he knows came from Camilla.
So there's already tensions. And then you're familiar with Balmoral right there, like Scottish home.
Yes. This becomes like a major battle in their relationship over and over again, because every year for his entire life, for six weeks from mid-August to early October, they go to this Scottish country home. This was the thing that we mentioned last episode where it's just like super formal. And she's been there for a weekend before. She's good at sort of like which fork goes with the other fork, whatever, but like six weeks is very different than going there for a couple of days.
So this is a quote from Tina Brown's book.
And next to it, I wrote a horror movie when it wasn't a forced march to a familial picnic barbecue by Prince Philip. It was formal dinner with the queen. And whichever August elderly visitors happened to be in Her Majesty's party, Prince Charles was used to it, always ready in a kilt jacket and frothing Jabat ten minutes before they had to leave for the cocktail hour. But Diana was muteness Balmoral etiquette required. She did not sit next to Charles. She had to take her place between a couple of courtly fogies and listen for two or three hours to the booming of Prince Philip about the evils of trade unions.
Guests had to stay seated until the Queen's bagpipers wheezing traditional Scottish ires finished parading around the table and signalled the women had to leave the men to their port and cigars.
Oh God. Getaways could not be made until the Queen's exit somewhere before midnight. Sometimes they were trapped until two a.m. listening to Princess Margaret playing old show tunes on the piano.
And then that working class guy who Diana Matt is like, So you want to go to a real party? She goes and dances to Irish music with all the servants and he spins her around.
And my and this is from Tina Brown's book about all the weird protocol that they have there.
She says, When the queen is at Balmoral and Prince Charles wants to walk the grounds, he first makes sure his mother is alerted through her private secretary to ensure she would not prefer to have the grounds to herself.
If Prince Philip wants to have lunch with his wife, he sends a message to her office via a page and she sends one back to him with her reply.
I feel like this is like marrying into a family and then realising that, like most of the hours of your life have been taken from you because of that. It's like, great. Now you have to give up most of your waking time to pointless and boring activities and your husband won't even pretend to love you very much.
And he's like off hunting all day and stuff. He like this is normal to him because this was his childhood, right? He's like no one in a family interacts with each other. Yeah. Except and forced boring ways for long ceremonial periods of time.
I mean, it is like the central Stepford Wives ness of this to me is the idea that you are there and you're seeing all of this deranged behaviour around you and you're like, this is deranged and everyone else is like, no, no, no, this is normal.
God, no wonder all the British country house media is about murder because otherwise seriously, so much more depressing.
And there's all kinds of weird stuff that she tries at this point to sort of be friends with the kitchen staff, like as she does like this is her little escape valve to talk to, like normal people. And I guess they reject her because they're afraid that they're going to get fired by the queen. If they find out that they're chatting to Diana, so if she can't put anybody's job at risk of sex, there's all this weird protocol that the servants at Balmoral are sort of they're not supposed to be seen by any of the royal people, like they're supposed to be invisible.
If you happen to be walking down a corridor and you, like, accidentally bump into like Prince Charles or Princess Margaret or whoever, you're supposed to like, put your head down and face the wall, become invisible to them.
That's super spooky. I straight up horror movie just about Princess Diana's early married life, dude. And it's just that kind of thing.
Oh, this is my favorite detail. This is from Andrew Morton's book. He says, The Royals balk at the price of turning the heating on, and she always seemed to be cold.
What it's like they're so fucking rich, they spend ludicrous amounts of money on these like huge foods, breads. They have a staff of like 80 fucking people and they're too cheap to turn on the fucking heat.
Like what? So this is another gaslighted thing that also Charles insists no matter what the weather is on sleeping with the windows open. Oh, God.
See, I am I get that I said that in the last episode. I predicted this. Yes.
And so she is constantly just like fucking cold. She also remember she has an eating disorder at this time, which also is not great for her body temperature. Right.
So she's also just like cold and shivering and is like, sorry, can we turn the fucking heat in here?
Dude, you have some basic comforts, right? Like I am putting up with all your crazy shit.
If only Princess Diana said, can we turn on the fucking heat in here, dude, that's the world. I want to live in it.
Just like the amount of things that you have to bite your tongue about. They're like the rules here are so dumb and the rules here are just making us all miserable. Yeah. Like, who are we doing this for? It's only us here. Yeah. Oh yeah.
And then another thing that is very odd about Andrew Morton's book is that, you know, he prints the transcripts of his interviews with Diana. So like the raw material of his book is in the appendix of his book Rights, you can see all the stuff that he's putting in and leaving out.
And the way that he's paraphrasing it, he seems to skip over all of the, like, most relatable stuff about Diana.
So one of the things that she talks about a lot about these miserable trips to Balmoral in general and on the honeymoon specifically, is that he is obsessed with sort of giving her intellectual sustenance like he sort of he thinks of himself, Charles, as an intellectual, like a TED talk thought leader guy. And she went to these schools that were like basically finishing schools, like at her Swiss boarding school. They were mostly teaching her cooking stuff and like dance and and things like she didn't get a sort of super academic education.
And so he is obsessed with this guy named Lawrence van der Post, who's a South African journalist, sort of memoirist. Prince Charles is like obsessed with this guy. So during the day, his, like way of connecting with her is he wants to sort of hike up into the mountains, just him and her. And he wants to sit down in the grass and he wants to read her passages from this guy's books for hours.
So this is what Edward the Vampire would do if we actually got into the details of, like, how they're spending their time once they're married. We just never hear about it. Imagining a marriage.
You don't have the material for even one good conversation. How absolute horror movie.
And again, this is like very relatable that like you're dating somebody and they're super into some book or movie or musician or something.
And it's like you have to hear them talk about, like, fucking Boondock Saints for like two hours or something.
And you're like, really? We're going to talk about this again. He talks in his biography. He says, When I tried to offer her spiritual and intellectual sustenance by talking about Carl Young, she tuned out. She has this idea of like, I have to educate her. I have to, like, make her this more intellectually rigorous thinker by, like, telling her at excruciating length about my interests.
Yeah. It's like when people kill plants by overwatering them. Yeah. You know, these are the actions of someone who cannot conceive of any other way to bond with someone. Yeah, certainly not like asking her what she wants to be talking about.
And also because she's so young and because this is just background noise to her, this idea that you have to be deferential to your husband, she doesn't ever really tell him that, like, this is boring to me. Yeah. So she is slowly getting to the end of her rope and he has no idea.
Is England actually in Minnesota? It's unclear. There's also an important moment that's very sad. I'm stealing this from Amanda Dobbins, who's talked on a couple of different podcasts about this moment.
Toward the end of this Balmoral trip, they start sort of making public a.
Terrence's, so at one point they go to the Highland Games, so there's this moment at the beginning of the competition when they start playing the national anthem and as it starts playing, it's it's like very formal occasion. And the prince sort of leans over and whispers to her conspiratorially.
He's like, sweetie, they're playing our song. And she sort of giggles and thinks it's funny and sort of like, you know, taps him on the shoulder like, oh, stop it. It's like one of the only moments that they share that's like this whole thing is dumb, right?
Like this could have been something that they shared of him being a little bit subversive.
But as soon as this happens, the queen sees them giggling and the queen just gives them this like third degree stink eye, just like do not laugh during the national anthem.
How dare you.
Oh, my gosh. And nothing like that ever happens again.
Charles is so deferential to his mother. Wow. That he feels scolded and he's like, OK, we're not going to do that again.
Wow. Wow. It's interesting that section unfund person has so many corgis.
But so after this moment, she, according to Tina Brown, has this realization. So this is what she says in her book at the end of the honeymoon chapter.
The really terrifying dimension to her grief was the sudden, sharp understanding that all the things that repressed her during her engagement were now her life forever.
It was like an icy wave hitting her in the face, the oldness, the coldness, the deadness of royal life. It's muffled misogyny. It's whispering silence. It's stifling social round, confronting sycophantic strangers. This is how it would be until she died. Nothing else can explain the violence of her panic. As a former member of Prince Charles's staff put it, she saw she was going to become like the queen, possibly the loneliest woman in the world.
Oh, ho, ho. And so it does sound like this was a revelation to her in a way that Charles was completely incapable of seeing.
It's like being married to someone who can't see most of the colors that you're seeing. And all this drama is happening in the realm of color. And do you see that? And he's like, what? No Tina Brown talks.
But they also underestimated Diana that they figure, you know, she's grown up in a royal family. She's grown up in a rich family. You know, she grew up in this big manor house, like she understands all this protocol stuff. Right. But then, you know, her dad was eating alone in the study and her and her brother were like eating sandwiches with the kitchen staff for a lot of their time. And because their family was divorced, they weren't actually doing as much formality as, you know, one would expect given her upbringing.
And, you know, she was going around London on the tube with her mom when she was a kid. They weren't a, like, change into formal clothes for dinner every night family. They were really on their own in a way that I don't think anyone in the royal family really showed interest in or was aware of.
And because they they think their own behaviour makes sense because like all people do, all families do, and most of us do stuff that is just idiosyncratic and our based on our own preference. And, you know, most most people in some way or another do stuff that like they think is just objectively how it is done. Yeah. And it's not as just how they were taught it or were brought up doing it, how they like doing it. But we're all attached to the idea that, like, what we're doing is fundamentally what people do totally.
Next picture, baby, baby.
Did you know that every troubled marriage after having a child gets better?
Yeah, everything comes right down. So it's actually kind of amazing. They have their wedding in basically August and she's pregnant by October. Well, that was her one job.
She just really doesn't have very much time to adjust to this life before, you know, she has like this extra layer of things on top of it.
Right. She's pregnant for the first time, like so she's having to brand new experiences. She's pregnant and a princess haraam. My God.
It sounds like it's a really bad pregnancy. She has really severe morning sickness.
I even have friends who've been pregnant at this point that some of them have just miserable pregnancies and they can't get out of bed. And some of them are just like debted like they're going jogging their normal stuff, doing super chill and then like they have an eye calendar invite for a labor.
It just seems like there's a really wide range and no one seems in control of it at all.
Oh, yeah. No, I think pregnancy is is like having a human body. And for some people it's like great, no complications, you know, discomfort at times, not always a walk in the park feeling that. And then for some people, it is like the most painful and demeaning and isolating ordeal imaginable. Yes. And it has nothing to do with what choices you make or how good of a person you are.
And it also appears it's not clear how severe. But she maintains her eating disorder throughout the pregnancy.
That's so hard because your body. I know. I feel like the trans. Information your body goes through when you're pregnant is so extreme that it's really bad. You have a really solid relationship with your body going and it's still you know, it's still really intense. It's like starting a pregnancy with a really solid marriage. It's like, great, good for you that you have a solid marriage. But like, this is going to get tested.
You will find this very interesting, partly because of this revelation that she has a Balmoral. She's feeling trapped. Finally, they take her to doctors, but don't really take her to therapists. They take her to people to prescribe her pills. And you want to guess what they prescribe her Valium, Valium.
They try to put her on Valium because I guess you got Valium for everything back then.
I mean, yes, she she also has a particular sensitivity about drugs because she only briefly mentions it in the Morton book.
But she doesn't speak to her mother for three or four years after the wedding. Wow. Her mom was originally involved in planning the wedding and her mom gets sort of overwhelmed at some point and is like, I can't handle this, I can't handle the pressure. And Diana is kind of like, well, it's it's me who's under the pressure, she says. And Andrew Morton's book, she says, When I didn't include her in the wedding preparations, she got hurt.
So out came the Valium. She's been on Valium ever since. And so she doesn't want to end up like this. She thinks of her mother as fundamentally trying to escape from the stressors of her life and sort of blowing the stressors that she has.
She would never be like her mother, who, as a teenager, married someone 12 years older than her and ended up consigned to a life of manners and air breathing. Yes.
And ended up being someone who was like, very moody, very difficult, didn't necessarily know what she needed to be happy, ended up in toxic relationship after toxic relationship.
Sometimes I wonder if we are just the same people recurring over time, generation by generation, and just even slight differences from just a full on you. I know exactly what your parents did is major.
I feel like a trailblazer because I've taken on the worst traits of my mother and my father. Proud of you doing it well.
But so she one of the blessings of finding out that she's pregnant is that she has an excuse to not take Valium. Wow.
She's really happy that she can use like, oh, I'm pregnant because I can't take medications as a way to get people off of her back. So if she hadn't found out that she was pregnant, that might they might have talked her into it.
Wow. So they're it's not just like here's some Valium. Like, take it. If you feel overwhelmed, it's like, darling, you must take your medicine.
It sounds like it. Yeah. This is also the time where the fights between her and Charles start to get really intense, it seems like, because, you know, she's pregnant, she has an eating disorder. She's now, for the first time in her life, begun to consider suicide. Her moods are sort of all over the place. Charles, in his biography, describes this as sort of like he can't predict how she's going to be from one minute to the next because she'll be screaming at him and then she'll be sort of sulking and silent.
And then she'll be like, I want to be with you all day. I'm going to come out hunting with you, even though I don't really like hunting all that much.
I imagine being moody is a 20 year old pregnant girl with an eating disorder married into the royal family.
I go, oh, my God, are you kidding?
So this is an excerpt from Charles's biography that I think is extremely telling. So watch for the part that I'm going to want to unpack. He described her violent mood swings, her extraordinary self-absorption, her disconcerting detachment from events in the outside world and his friend's irritation with the self pity fuck off.
We're not even into that part yet, he recounted, spending hours by her side, trying in vain to coax her into a more cheerful mood. He conceded that he may have seemed neglectful when he became annoyed by her incessant demands.
Boy, I bet that rather one phrasing is describing a lot.
What else strikes you about that passage? Just that like he's sort of politically describing his sins in their marriage as if she is the Falklands.
Yeah. What really sticks out about that passage to me is he recounted spending hours by her side, trying in vain to coax her into a more cheerful mood.
This is like depression cures by people who've never experienced depression.
They're treating her like a Victorian hysterical woman. Yeah, these are not people that are capable of, like, providing her with the kind of support that people need when they're in the middle of clinical depression and a really hard pregnancy and an eating disorder. It's like, well, cheer up.
They're Bucho. Yes. Look at the lack of self awareness in this next passage.
In an effort to broaden her horizons, he enlisted his mentor, Eric Anderson, the headmaster of Eton, to give her tutorials in poetry and Shakespeare, two of Charles's keen interests.
And it's like poetry and Shakespeare. Dude, has she ever expressed any interest in poetry or Shakespeare?
I mean, she does mentioned later the. Her favorite band is Supertramp, so like places like Supertramp for her, just imagine a montage of Diana at all these events to a logical song by Supertramp.
Oh my God.
And she's like an audio animatronic that has been bought and installed for this exhibit. And it's like, great. You do this repetitive motion for 50 years now by you know, it's just like her having human needs feels counter to the job that she was hired for.
There's also this also begins the pattern of her sort of lashing out at him. So as he's revealing himself to be totally incapable of meeting any of her needs, she also starts like belittling him, telling him like, you'll never be king.
So that escalated. Wow. I know. I thought she'd start small.
I mean, I think she probably did, but I'm skipping.
OK, but wow, that's intense. Straight for the jewels, girl.
She also tells Andrew Burton Ahola just like main story, but is also extremely entertaining. OK, she's talking about how sort of cloistered he is and how incapable of normal human life he is. She says, once I was in his dressing room and his valet would put out his clothes, always giving him a choice of three shirts, I asked him what shirt he was going to wear and he told me he didn't like any of the three across the room.
There were open racks and racks of endless shirts and all he needed to do was get up and choose one. But instead he pressed the button and the valet would have to get more from the rack and bring them over to him. So I said to him, why don't you cross the room and choose them yourself so the valet can get on with all the other things he needs to do?
And Charles replied, Well, he's paid to do it.
I feel like Diana is like a show dog, like a Sheltie who like, you know, met and fell in love with this other show dog, like a teeny tiny little teacup Pomeranian, and was like, yes, I will go live with this family of Pomeranians for both show dogs. It's basically the same. She's like, oh no. Like we are pretty different. Like, do you ever, like, fetch the stick? Do you ever play with the stick?
He's like, I, I'm familiar with the stick. I've never tried it.
It's also I mean, Tina Brown makes a big deal of this that basically the mores like the rules of the royal family in Britain are always 20 to 30 years behind everyone else. So it's 1981 when the story is taking place. Their rules are in like the mid 50s. She didn't marry somebody 12 years older than her. She married someone 40 years older than her. Right.
Because when he was growing up, his closest relationship was with the queen mother, who's much older than him. And at school, remember, he didn't have any friends his age. It was all these older aristocrats. So all of his sort of cultural touchstones and all of the ways that he thinks you're sort of supposed to interact with people are from like 60 year olds.
She's like he's in the package of like a young strapping fella, but he's like an old guy.
Yeah. Are you gonna see another picture? I do this.
I'm interested to hear what you think about this outfit.
Wow. Yeah. This is Barbie. Like this is like they dress up Barbie, like these are the clothes.
This is like horny aristocrat Barbie. Yeah, it is. Yeah.
She looks lovely.
She's wearing a pretty sedate, silly British hat and then a matching jacket with black collar and cuffs and a pleated skirt and red heels.
And she's got she looks she likes please. Oh yeah. She looks like she's feeling herself.
She looks very natural. She has by now learned to put weights in the hem of her dresses so they don't blow up in the wind. Marilyn Monroe style. This is like one of the little tips that she gets after being a royal and doing some public appearances for her.
I'm endlessly fascinated by by clothes and the way people learn how to wear them. I know to get power. I mean, she looks good to me. She looks she's great. This is the first time I've seen her where she looks recognizably like that princess that I grew up with.
This is also, I think, her realizing that to the kind of power that she has, the way that her image has an effect on people and also how loved she is. I mean, we haven't really talked about this yet, but she is a sensation.
Yeah, let's talk about that. I mean, the nation is just absolutely smitten and a lot of it actually comes from this to her. This is her in nineteen eighty one in Wales. This is one of her first sort of official. You don't go down the line and shake everybody's hands, greet people, give a short speech.
She looks so lovely if she came to my factory or whatever to shake my hand like you really do understand that charisma looking at her because she just has this light that shines out from underneath this big British hat.
And she's also her mother talked about one of her great strengths is that she can scan a room and find the least confident people and go up and talk to those people like serial killers.
She's like a nice serial killer. Hot takes a while, but seriously, I mean, I think that we we rightfully feel a lot of and fear or emotional intelligence and we often see it in American culture, especially weaponized by sort of pick up artists and serial killers. And so seeing someone who sort of clearly has the power of charisma and uses it for good is rather novel.
Yeah, I actually think a big part of this, like why the country fell in love with her is also she has to give a speech. Part of it is in Welsh. And one of the things that actually really endears her to people is that she's visibly nervous. You watch the speech and your heart just immediately goes out to her.
You're like, I can imagine myself having to do this. What makes somebody relatable than being afraid of public speaking?
You're like, oh, she's a pregnant 20 year old girl whose husband doesn't get her. Like, how many of those are there? And the country that she's in charge of? Kind of a lot, actually. Yeah.
So another dichotomy that emerges at this point is that Diana is extraordinarily good at this aspect of public life, of doing the handshake's, being out in public, making people like her immediately. But the royal family does not like this.
Why don't they like why this is like Judy Garland being under contract? It's like if she's bad at her job, they're mad at her. If she's good at her job, they're mad at her. It's like, did you just what did you acquire this girl in order to torment her? Like, what is your problem?
This is what Tina Brown says. When the queen was exposed to a crowd, she was dignified, informal. She might walk to the edge of a barrier and take some flowers very gently and elegantly. But more often than not, she does not risk the clutch problem by shaking hands. Princess Anne work devotedly for the Save the Children fund, but she had never been seen to pick up a child or kiss or even touch one on her numerous trips to Africa.
So they really think of these public, you know, meet the public types of events as statecraft. They think that you're supposed to be diplomatic and very quiet and sort of project the seriousness of your role. You're not supposed to make a personal connection to people because that's going against your job. Basically, they think that it's the job to project this sense of very serious duty. And we're doing very serious business here in Wales today.
And then what is the purpose of that is it has to show up and be the state, be the crown.
I mean, to me, I think it's just like it's so many of their other rules. It's just it's always the way that it has been done. Right. These rules were established at a time when the relationship between people in power and the subjects was much more formal. I mean, everything was much more formal when Queen Elizabeth took power. And so over time, society, of course, has completely changed. And the understanding of power and understanding of authority and the need for authenticity has become much more pressing.
But of course, nobody in the royal family knows this. Yeah, but Diana, of course, understands that being a person first is a huge source of power and a huge source of popularity, but they honestly have no idea of this. So they think that she is failing at the job.
So it's like their record label and she's a band that they signed and she's like this great punk act. And I like great folk music now. It's like, no, people really respond to the punk music that I'm doing. And they're like, no, no, no, thank you. Yes.
And also from Prince Charles specifically, you know, the person who's closest to her in age and would be the most likely to understand the changing understanding of the royal family among the public.
He is a little hurt that she is doing his job better than him.
Yeah, I'm sure he is. I'm sure it's like when William Hurt dated Marlee Matlin and then she won an Oscar.
I mean, I don't know if it happens in Wales, but very soon it starts to happen. You know, they'll they'll do the rope line, right? Like, he'll go on one side and she'll go on the other. And the people on the Prince Charles side will audibly groan and hear this.
And it hurts his feelings.
Yeah. We've also we've totally forgotten this now. But before Princess Diana came along, Prince Charles kind of was the Princess Diana. Like he was seen as like the normal one and the cool one.
Oh, no. Oh, no. So in his biography, he mentions that while they're engaged but not yet married, he does this trip to Australia and New Zealand. He goes to Wellington, New Zealand, and twenty thousand people show up, which was considered unprecedented at the time. It's like, holy shit, all these people came out to see the prince because he's like young and fit and handsome and he's cool. Later, him and Diana will make a trip to Australia and New Zealand and in Brisbane.
Four hundred thousand people come out to see her.
Wow. It's like she's Alice Cooper. And so he's like, wait a minute, I'm I'm the young and hip one. Right.
Because by the standards of the royal family at the time, he was American being Prince Charles and like thinking that you're of a cool, normal one and then you marry Princess Diana and everyone obviously finds her. Much more charismatic in every way, and your feelings are hurt, which I get, but it's also just like do you not see it or not see why this is happening? Yes.
Also, another sort of central tragedy of this, of Charles is that he thinks of himself as an intellectual. So he will stay up late writing these speeches about vegetarianism and the environment and overpopulation and all of these.
Now, many of them are widely discredited, but these ideas that were in vogue at the time, and he'll give these like hour long speeches and he'll get fucking zero press coverage.
And so he blames her to some extent for the sort of comic incentives that sort of dumbing down that like I'm trying to do these intellectual ideas. And it's it's all about her fucking fashion.
But they knew that her role as his wife would essentially become for this media that is obsessed with exactly these things. Yeah. And if he didn't know them, like, it seems impossible that other members of the royal family and those advising them didn't know that she would be useful as an asset. Right.
Which is the thing that the entire royal family refuses to acknowledge. So he is just totally incapable of giving her any form of praise. So she talks about this weird dichotomy where she'll go out, she'll talk to people. They're loving it. She's shaking hands. It's great. The papers are raving about her. She's on the cover of all these magazines and she comes home and he never says, like, hey, great job today. It just fundamentally isn't valued.
And so this is one of the sort of central mismatches of the marriage, is when you feel like you're excelling at something and a part of yourself that you like and your partner doesn't acknowledge it. I mean, it's like so toxic to a relationship.
Well, it's like she's married into a family of, like, famous opera singers. And then once they get married, she's like, oh, Joanne, your opera troupe. And and sing some opera. I mean, I've never tried it, but yeah, I'll do it. And then she's like, better than all of them immediately. And everyone loves her and can stop talking about her. And like I mean of course they're not happy about it.
Like they can't have just wanted her to just indifferently produce babies. Right. I understand that this has the potential to be like the most lovable member of their entire family.
Yeah, they're cute. And Andrew Morton's book about how they thought after the engagement, all the press attention would die down.
That's so funny. They don't know anything. I know they're so bad at that. Don't they know how their own jobs were?
But so one of the amazing things, you know, throughout this pregnancy, she's doing more and more of these public appearances, but she's absolutely miserable. Her entire pregnancy. She only misses one social engagement.
Oh, my God. She goes to everything else. It's bananas. Yeah. Wow.
So behind the scenes, as she and Charles are really going through with all these public events behind the scenes, they're like shouting at each other. And this is an excerpt from his biography. Time was not a salve to their marriage. She ridiculed him when he wore a uniform, telling him that he looked ridiculous in all those medals. The prince told his cousin Pamela Hicks, that after a heated argument when he knelt to say prayers before bed, Diana would hit him over the head and keep on with the row while he was praying.
It sounds like they're just like both treating each other like shit at this point.
Yeah, these are two immature people. Yes. This this is when we get these suicide attempts. So there's four or five of these. Both Andrew Morton and Tina Brown described these as more cry for help than anything else there. They don't seem like they're serious attempts. This is from Andrew Morton's book. On one occasion, she threw herself against a glass display cabinet at Kensington Palace, while on another she slashed at her wrists with a razor blade. Another time, she cut herself with his serrated edge of a lemon slicer.
On yet another occasion, during a heated argument, she picked up a pen knife lying on Prince Charles's dressing table and cut her chest and her thigh.
There's also the incident. I don't know if you're aware of this. There's an incident where she throws herself down a flight of stairs.
Now, when does this happen?
So this is she's three months into the pregnancy at this point. And they're having some sort of fight. Apparently, she threatens to kill herself and he says, fuck this, I'm going hunting. You're not serious.
Oh, God. Oh, God.
And she deliberately throws herself down the stairs are just sort of tips herself down the stairs. Yeah.
So Andrew Morton describes this incident very straightforwardly. He basically tells Diana's version of events. And this is obviously a huge deal when the book comes out. This is like one of the main news stories to come out from his book, like Diana tried to kill herself when she was pregnant with William.
But then I feel very weird about this section of Tina Brown's book, because Tina Brown basically has the opinion that this was an accident.
Diana fell down the stairs at some point and later on recasts it.
A suicide attempt to sort of make the marriage look worse than it was to make Charles look more absent than he was, etc., but the evidence that she cites for this, I don't know the sort of the main piece of evidence is that Diana wouldn't do this because she's pregnant.
And this is the form of a suicide attempt that is the most likely to harm the baby, which is relatively compelling because we know that Diana is a very caring person and she's a very good mother.
And like that's the closest to a convincing piece of evidence for this. But then the rest of the evidence for this idea that she was basically fabricating this suicide attempt, I mean, it's like, you know, servants who were there that day and, like, waiting for the ambulance to come.
They say that at the time she was saying, oops, you know, I was clumsy and I fell down the stairs, which, you know, people who attempt suicide don't tell random people like, oops, I had a suicide attempt today.
Like the fact that Diana does not call this a suicide attempt at the time isn't really evidence that it's not a suicide attempt.
And Dina Brown also mentions that Diana, according to other people who were there, kind of lies about how neglectful Prince Charles was. Diana says that he said that she was making it up. He said that it wasn't that big of a deal, whereas all the other servants say that like he was the one that called the doctor, he was there.
He was really caring for her, which on some level does actually make sense because it's his kid. Right. So even if he is, like, sort of rolling his eyes at her at the time, it actually makes sense that he would be very diligent about this.
But just because she's sort of exaggerating other parts of the story does not mean that she's fabricating this central part of it.
So I don't know.
I just felt weird reading this entire section of Tina Brown book.
And what also bugged me is that then Tina Brown takes this like, oh, she's fabricating the suicide attempt thing and she uses that to paint all of the other suicide attempts.
This is what Tina Brown says in her book. In light of this, it's hard to know how much credence to give to the other suicide attempts. Diana spoke of such a slashing herself with a lemon slicer. How do you kill yourself with a lemon slicer? Said a relation to the prince interviewed by Lady Colin Campbell.
Do you peel yourself to death? But it's just sort of shitty.
It's like, isn't a lemon slicer just a small knife? I mean, is this a special I mean, it's not a zester. I know. Yeah. I mean, this is like I don't know. I think that that's I don't like that. I don't like that. That's the kind of sensitivity we've come to expect from the British royal family in the story. I don't know. I mean, I feel like the line between a suicide attempt and self-harm can be a very fuzzy one.
And your classification of what you did to yourself may change over time based on the perspective that you have. But I think what's clear to me from these descriptions is that, like, there's all this conflict and loneliness and misery in her life, and she's starting to use herself as a as a physical target for her feelings about that. Yeah, they're suffering here. Like, that's the takeaway.
It just seems weird to me to sort of second guess other people's suicide attempts, especially when they themselves are describing them as cries for help.
Well, and also, you know, this kind of hairsplitting that I think we see in this kind of story, you know, the thing of like, well, was it was was it really a suicide attempt or was it self-harm or or what? It's like, well, someone's hurting and they're hurting themselves because of that. And that's that's the truth. Yeah.
Are you ready for the next picture? Mm hmm. All right. This is a black and white. Thank you for preparing me for that.
Oh, this looks like a tabloid picture taken from quite far away.
Yeah. Of a pregnant Princess Diana wearing a bikini and going for a swim.
Yes, that is exactly what it is. She's in the Bahamas. She is five months pregnant with William.
And two paparazzi photographers have been camping out outside where they're hanging out for hours with a telephoto lens and they get dozens of photos of her in a bikini, visibly pregnant, cavorting in the water.
Wow. Wouldn't it be nice if you could you could go for a pregnant swim without people taking secret photos of you from far away? Right.
And it's also this is a huge deal because this is nineteen eighty three. And this is not something I mean, you don't see images of pregnant women in bikinis at this time or a royal women in bikinis.
Exactly. So this is sort of like the media sort of breaking their pact with the royal family because in previous times you never would have shown something like this because it's evidence that a woman has had sex and that she has legs and that she has an cleavage.
Yes, sex legs and cleavage. The three things that women are not allowed to have.
I mean, Tina Brown talks about how there's effectively very. New images of Queen Elizabeth when she was pregnant, this is not something that people were angling to get photos of. And not only is this a photo of Diana pregnant, it's a photo of Diana pregnant in a very small swimming suit like it is of her belly.
Yeah, she looks great. Yes, she's great.
And also, importantly, she looks really happy, like this is sort of like a second honeymoon for them. And there's all these pictures of him, like picking her up and running into the water and then sort of holding each other and laughing and kissing.
It sounds like this this could have been the beginning of a renaissance in their marriage.
But of course, she is blamed for these photos and he is mad at her and the press is mad at her.
And there's all these kind of narratives that come out of this because she had a human body, because she had a human body and someone got a picture of it. Stop it with the human body out here.
And so this is sort of a symbol of how much her life is becoming dominated by avoiding the paparazzi at this point, that there's an incident where she kind of runs out of her car to go to a shop. She's like, oh, just stop. You're going to get a candy bar. She runs into the shop. And then it's so crowded with photographers trying to get a photo of her buying a fucking candy bar like a non-event, she's kind of crushed.
And so the palace invites dozens of journalists over and their head of press basically says, like, guys, that was ugly, don't do that anymore. You need to fucking chill out with the shit like her life is in danger. And they had this, like, very stern meeting. And then they're like, OK, let's have a happy hour. Like, we'll take you guys into the dining room, we'll give you a little tour, whatever they take all these journalists, like 30 or 40 journalists into the next room over.
And the queen is in there and like this shows how seriously they're taking it, that the queen goes around, introduces herself to all of these journalists at this event. All the journalists are sort of so deferential that they don't really bring up the issue of Diana. Again, they just like make polite small talk.
And only one person, one News of the World journalist brings it up. He's like, oh, excuse me, Queen Elizabeth. If Lady Di wants to buy some wine gums without being photographed, why can't she just send a servant?
And I guess the queen just replies, what an extremely pompous man you are.
That's it. I do like no answer.
Just you're a dick. Shut up. I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it.
But though to me, I mean, obviously being followed around by the paparazzi is obviously like a living nightmare. But for me personally, what is more of the horror movie scenario is the way that the press makes narratives out of all of these images when they just have a photo that's totally out of context, that doesn't really sell papers. What sells papers is the story around it. So there's a photo of her at one point there at one of these country homes and she leaving early by herself.
It's like a very boring photo of her, just like walking out of the house, getting into a car, driving away.
But instead of just like a photo of Princess Diana driving in a car, they have to build this narrative of like Diana leaves in a huff. Diana can't stand being there at the country home. Right. Like they have to make a story out of it. So basically, the experience of, like, picking up a newspaper for Diana is just constantly being gas lit. So like, for example, he converts to vegetarianism because like animal rights, environmentalism, he's getting more interested in this stuff.
And she is blamed for like making him a vegetarian, which is absurd because she's not even a vegetarian.
The second John Lennon, Yoko Ono studies on why. How do they blame her for that? And also, why is that bad? Are they, like, sad about it?
It's like there's no actual values behind this because people convert to vegetarianism all the fucking time. Who cares? But it gets put into this narrative of like, she's a ballbuster and she's controlling his life.
It's just that, like, every detail has to you have to find a way to see how it could reflect badly on her.
There's also this is after William is born. They're invited to do this tour of Australia. And the story in the tabloids is that she refuses to do this trip to Australia unless she can bring the baby and get her and the queen have had this big clash because she's like, I want to do statecraft with the baby. And the queen is like, no, babies don't go on official trips.
None of that happened. What actually happened was the prime minister of Australia invited them on this tour and the prime minister of Australia was like, hey, you guys just had a kid.
Why don't we set up like a house where the kid will stay that way?
Every couple of days you can fly back and you can see William for a couple of days and then you can go back out and do official duties. I was sure it literally wasn't even her idea and the queen literally never even knew her.
It really bothers me that we're trying to create a story. We're like, she's unreasonable for wanting her new baby in the same hemisphere as her.
Yes. This is from a Tina Brown essay that is published during this time that is called The Mouse That Roared. And it's all about how basically she has entered the royal family and started pushing things around. This is bananas. She has banished all his old friends. She has made him give up shooting. She throws slippers at him when she can't get his attention. She spends all his money on clothes. She forces him to live on poached eggs and spinach.
She keeps sacking his staff, the debonair prince of. Wales, his royal highness, Duke of Cornwall, heir to the throne, is, it seems, pussy whipped from here to eternity.
I left with her slippers up, man. I mean, the one that's also the one that infuriates me is she spends all his money on clothes, which, first of all, it's not his like now he earned it.
And he earned money that he has from like the fucking 8th century or something. And also it's her money now, too, like they're a married couple. It's their money.
Also, I doubt she's depleting their resources by buying clothes, not even clothes.
And as we talked about with Marie Antoinette, her literal fucking job is to wear clothes.
Yes, we have created a system where the purpose of the princess is to look nice and show up at functions and do state craft through appearing at events. So when one's job is appearing at events, we wear clothes.
Yeah, I don't know. It's interesting to me how, like, certainly some of the materialism of the rich is very damaging and like the fashion industry is damaging in many ways, but like the way that we attack women for the, quote, extravagance of their clothes, their hair, their nails, because the sort of expenses of femininity really bothers me because that is not the most expensive thing that rich people do ever. Like, if we want to talk about the extravagance of the super rich, like, yes, there's a lot we can discuss.
But like, I would not start with wardrobe.
No, I would start with the people that Charles is hunting imagers.
So in the second to last thing that's going to happen in this episode on the 21st of June, nineteen eighty two, Prince William is born.
Yeah, baby. And just like she had a tough pregnancy, it's also a tough labour. It's sixteen hours which sounds like a lot. Surprisingly, Charles comes the fuck through. He's there for the entire time. He's the first sort of like man in the royal family to be there for the entire labour of his wife. This was not something that men did in the royal family before. Huh? There's the famous comment that the next day when the queen comes to see Prince William, she looks down and she says, thank goodness he doesn't have ears like his father, which is brutal.
And then also, Charles has a pretty good self burn that he's answering questions from the press outside afterwards. And they're like, does your son look like his father? And he says, no, thank God.
She's also pretty good. Mm hmm. And so and you can see this in the photo that I sent you. Probably the most likeable thing about both of them is that they both seem like they're good parents.
One of the things that they both acknowledge is that their childhoods were super fucked up and they don't want to replicate it.
Both of them are sort of together on the idea that let's try to give these kids as normal of an upbringing as possible and not do all of this like cold house, cold parents, cold handshakes, like let's actually be nice to them and cuddle them and say I love you and stuff.
One of the things this is also so baffling to me.
Charles wants the kids to not have the problems that he had in his upbringing, but he also doesn't want to be seen publicly doing like gooey dad stuff.
The way that they put it in his biography is that he is averse to tactile displays in public. Oh, dear. It's weird to me that he doesn't see what's happening.
But throughout the course of his children's lives, the press sort of casts him as this cold and distant father and Diana as this warm and loving mother when both of them are quite involved in their kids lives. But he just doesn't do it in public because he thinks that's like not becoming of the future king or whatever.
It's so interesting to have someone whose entire job is ceremonial. I know. But who I guess doesn't realize that himself.
And it's like, why are you doing this to yourself? Like everything that could make you sort of likeable and human, you're deliberately not doing it for no benefit. Like this is not any self-interest either. Right? It's not like this endears him to the British public. Like I'm kind of a mean dad. Like, I don't know why he's doing this.
Right. And just to say this thing of like, why don't they perceive what I'm really like? And it's like, do you understand that?
Like it's your job to communicate to the public, like through spectacular images? Yes.
The person that you want them to see is like balance your kids on your hip a couple times, like outside of a movie premiere. It's fine. So this is like there's like a brief honeymoon period after William is born and then Diana gets postpartum depression and so she goes back into another dark place. They send her to a therapist. The problem is that, again, she's totally controlled by the royal family. So they are the ones who recommend a therapist to her.
So Charles sends her to this weird young Ian psychologist who just wants to analyze her dreams and not talk about anything that's going on in her life. So after a couple of sessions, she's like, this is not helping. Then they send her to another doctor. But it's this guy who only wants her to. Call him every day at six p.m. and describe every interaction that she has with Charles that day, she says it's basically just like re traumatizing her, that every single time she talks about her day, she just starts crying.
And it's just an exercise in like, oh, at six p.m. I have to go fuck and cry now, like, it's not working.
And this is something that becomes a big thread in her life later that she gets much more into like New Age stuff. So she starts seeing an astrologer. She does acupuncture taichi. It's basically the only way that she knows how to have autonomy over her own mental health.
And so this is a fucking brutal assessment from the Prince Charles biography.
One of the saddest aspects of Diana's short and tragic life was the failure of those around her friends and family alike to convince her to get proper diagnosis and treat her extreme symptoms of mental instability by Diana's own account. She suffered from bulimia, self mutilation, depression and acute anxiety. She attempted suicide four or five times. She exhibited signs of paranoia. She was tormented by feelings of emptiness and detachment. She feared abandonment. She had difficulty sustaining relationships. And she kept those closest to her on tenterhooks with her sudden mood swings, explosive rages and long socks.
Diana was, in psychiatric parlance, high functioning, capable of putting on a great show out in public, which made her dark private upheavals more unfathomable to those around her. Although Charles was sympathetic, he lacked the knowledge or the temperament to genuinely help her. He did try to find a psychiatrist for her at the beginning, but she required consistent support and the right kind of therapy. Instead, Charles and their advisers and staff dealt with Diana's bewildering and often infuriating behavior by placating her, trying to distract her and ultimately out of frustration, abandoning her.
So we're basically at the stage now where everybody sees that something is wrong, but nobody knows how to fix it. Nobody knows how to be proactive.
And that's like the family drama of being the daughter who has an eating disorder and his family is not handling it well. But like your family is the British royal family, like it's like it's like the classic eating disorder, family trauma drama on the largest possible scale. Right.
And I mean, these are not things that these people are equipped to deal with. So one year after William is born, Diana is starting to get a little bit more paranoid about Charles. She's noticing changes in his schedule, unexplained absences or nights that he's away and she's not exactly clear where he is. And so in nineteen eighty three, in a fit of paranoia, she picks up the phone in his residence and she hits redial and it goes bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop.
She hears a click on the other end and the person who picks up says, Hello, this is Camilla Parker Bowles.
So she's star sixty nine. Camilla Parker Bowles. Yes.
I don't think that Camilla actually answers her own phone, but that version is more cinematic.
And so this is how she finds out that Charles has restarted his affair.
God, just like every middle school girl in the nineties. I know.
And so that's where we're going to leave it for today at a low point, at an extremely low point. I mean, we're going to get lower next week, OK?
We're I guess we've limbo this far and we're going to focus on stretching. Yes. You want me to show you one more outfit just to cheer us up? I really do. This has nothing to do with anything. But I have like ten different pegs that are labeled with Diana Sweater.
So I want to show you this one.
Oh, this one is kind of relevant because it is from nineteen eighty three that she finds out that Charles is back with Camilla. So this is fucking iconic.
It's beautiful. Oh my God. Oh wow. I know this is great. I actually I grew up with sheets and pillow cases that were like this.
You did not. Well not exactly like this but it's the same pattern, it's just different color, shape and background. But she's wearing a red sweater with a pattern of white shape.
And there is one black chain and it's so cute.
And again, it's like she's doing the thing that I love to see is someone who cannot speak and must express themselves in our fashion.
It's it's very symbolically right. It's a black sheep sweater. So stay tuned.
Next week, we will meet another cute, traumatized baby and more bad marital things will happen.
Yes. But also next week, we're going to pop a cameo. We're going to do a bunch of philanthropy stuff with Diana. We're going to get to some of the more kind of uplifting parts of her legacy.
Promise me more outfits and I will come back. Just give me all outfits, OK? You're going to be silently sending you outfits on this great machine.
It doesn't have to be all outfits, just a few outfits, just a little outfit just for me. So until then, don't marry the Prince of Wales. Don't do it. Not even once. Don't marry any princess. Don't film people from far away, and you know what? Turn on the heat, sometimes it's fucking freezing in here. I don't know a about the.