All The Details About Princess Diana's Relationship With The Royal Family

By now, most of us know the story of Princess Diana. Whether you're a devout fan of "The Crown" or you can't stop watching documentaries about the royal family, chances are, you know that Diana was raised in an upper-class family before meeting Prince Charles as a teenager. The pair were married in 1981 when she was just 20 years old. While Diana initially thought her life had turned into a fairytale, she soon struggled in her new role in the royal family. After suffering from depression and an eating disorder alongside the constant, invasive scrutiny of the British tabloid press, Diana eventually separated from Charles in 1992. Just five years later, the princess was tragically killed in a car accident in France while being chased by the paparazzi. 

While most of us know Diana's story, we may not know what her life in the royal family was actually like. Read on to learn a little more about Diana's relationships with each royal family member.

Diana was pretty friendly with the queen

If you've seen any episodes of "The Crown" in the past few years, you probably think that Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II had a pretty frosty relationship. After all, the Queen seems to be perpetually frustrated by Diana's inability to fit seamlessly into the family and its traditions. However, in reality, Diana and the Queen were likely a little more friendly. Naturally, their relationship went through a few ups and downs.

At first, Diana was reportedly "terrified" of the Queen. "In the early days, Diana was quite simply terrified of her mother-in-law," wrote Diana's 1992 biographer, Andrew Morton. "She kept the formal obsequies — dropping a deep curtsy each time they met — but otherwise kept her distance." As time went on, Diana allegedly relied on the Queen as her marriage became strained — but while Diana seemed to benefit from her conversations with the Queen, the Queen found her more and more difficult. 

After Diana and Charles split, the Queen remained one of Diana's only real allies. "She [found] one perhaps rather unlikely ally at the palace in the queen," Morton wrote in his biography, "whose understanding and helpful attitude did much to encourage Diana to soldier on" (via Elle).

Diana reportedly struggled to get along with Prince Philip

When it came to Princess Diana's relationship with her father-in-law, Prince Philip, things weren't always easy.

At first, Philip allegedly tried to help Diana fit into the royal family — in fact, the pair formed a strong bond. After all, they were both outsiders who had married into the family. "When [Diana] found the restrictions of royal life difficult, it was Philip who helped her," Ingrid Seward wrote in her biography "Prince Philip Revealed." "Once she was married, she never sat next to her husband; she was always sat next to Philip at the endless black-tie dinners, and he took care of her." Apparently, Diana even called him "Pa."

However, after her marriage started to fall apart, Philip found her more and more and more difficult to reason with — while he tried to convince her to remain married to Charles, she had reportedly made her decision. The pair exchanged a number of letters, but eventually, their bond disintegrated when they couldn't see eye to eye. According to Seward, Diana "came to dislike Prince Philip as she found him impossible to deal with" (via People).

Margaret helped Diana as she entered the family

Princess Margaret, the Queen's younger sister, and Charles' aunt was initially a welcoming presence for Diana. She "did her bit" to bring her into the family, wrote biographer Andrew Morton in "Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters," by "taking her to the theater, joining her for social events, taking her shopping, and essentially showing her the ropes" (via Bustle). Morton also revealed how both Diana and Margaret were more alike than other members of the family. As Diana told Morton, "I've always adored Margo. I love her to bits, and she has been wonderful to me from day one."

However, by the end of Diana's marriage, Margaret didn't seem to have much sympathy left for Diana. "Poor Lilibet and Charles have done everything they can to get rid of the wretched girl, but she just won't go," she allegedly said to a friend (via Town & Country). Her change of heart was probably down to Diana's explosive interview with BBC's "Panorama" in 1995. According to Tatler, Margaret sent the princess a devastating letter, and the pair never spoke again.

Diana apparently didn't get along well with the Queen Mother

While most of the royal family seemed to do their best to welcome Diana, many of the relationships turned sour when Diana and Charles parted ways — and it was no different with the Queen Mother.

The documentary "When the Spencers Met the Monarchy" suggested that the Queen Mother didn't really trust Diana. "I think the Queen Mother probably saw Diana as another Mrs Simpson," mused historian Piers Brendon in the documentary. "Somebody who might conceivably pull the monarchy down." It seems the distrust was mutual. As BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond added, "I remember Diana told me that she found the Queen Mother intimidating. She was rather wary of her" (via Express).

And things only got worse. As one former staff member, Major Colin Burgess, wrote for the Daily Mail, the Queen Mother actually refused to talk about Diana after the divorce. "She was very much persona non grata, and I never again heard her name mentioned by, or in front of, the Queen Mum, not even when I saw her a couple of months after Diana's death, by which time I had left her employ," wrote Burgess.

Diana's relationship with Prince Charles was famously complicated

Diana's relationship with Prince Charles has been well-documented. The pair met when Diana was still a teenager — at the time, he was dating her older sister, Sarah. After a quick and fairly formal courtship, the pair announced their engagement. The young Diana was thrilled — but, according to experts, unprepared and naive. "She was a romantic, an innocent, she knew nothing of life or work or relationships," said royal biographer Penny Junor (via Express).

There were a number of reasons why their relationship was doomed. For one thing, Charles was likely still in love with his ex, Camilla (who later became his wife), and as the pressures of the press attention grew, Diana felt more and more isolated within the royal family. These cracks soon began to show in their relationship, and things eventually became unsustainable.

After their divorce, their relationship actually became a little better. Things were reportedly "definitely calming down" after the divorce, wrote author Tina Brown in 'The Diana Chronicles." "They talked about their philanthropies. And she had accepted Camilla," Brown wrote (via Elle).

Diana was rumored to have a feud with Anne, but in reality, it was a little more complicated

Princess Diana and Princess Anne weren't similar — while Diana often gave the impression of being sensitive, soft, and sweet, Anne gave off a different air. According to reports, their differences meant that the two royals didn't always get along.

Apparently, things got off to a rocky start when Diana tried to bond with Anne in the run-up to her wedding. According to Ingrid Seward's book "Prince Edward," Diana approached Anne with a giant curtsy while she was putting her two children to bed. Anne had no time for Diana's "pretension." "She looked up at Diana — and looked straight through her. Diana, confronted by the searing force of Anne's scorn, fled the room," the book read (via Express).

Even though Anne and Diana weren't best friends, rumors of a feud were probably exaggerated. In one interview, Diana even gushed about Anne's charity. When asked about a rivalry, she said, "None at all. Princess Anne has been working incredibly hard for the Save the Children Fund and I'm her biggest fan because what she crams into a day I could never achieve." Anne also reportedly later regretted not making an effort with her sister-in-law. "Anne's not one for shows of emotion," a source told New Idea. "She's like her mother in that way. But Diana's death really got to her. Deep down, she did regret not making more of an effort with her."

Diana may have almost married Prince Andrew

We don't know much about Princess Diana's relationship with Prince Andrew, Prince Charles' younger brother, but we know that the pair were reportedly linked before her marriage. 

According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, some people thought that Diana and Andrew might be a good match. "I think some of Diana's friends thought that Andrew would be more fun for her than Charles because he was very much her age and he was full of fun and everything else," she said to Us Weekly. "But Diana wasn't interested in Andrew. It was Charles she was interested in" (via Elite Daily).

If Andrew and Diana ever did think about getting together, any fondness seemed to have disappeared by the time she and Charles split. In fact, shortly after Diana's death, Andrew allegedly spoke disdainfully of Diana in front of a group. "He really, really upset me once in the way that he spoke about his late sister-in-law, Diana, with such disdain," said "Loose Women's" Denise Welch (via Metro). "I was horrified by it as it wasn't really long after [she died]."

Prince Edward was reportedly wary of Diana

As for Prince Charles' youngest brother Prince Edward, it seems that he and Diana weren't exactly close either. According to Ingrid Seward's book "Prince Edward: A Biography," Edward has always had a strong passion for maintaining the monarchy's traditions — and apparently, Diana's modern approach to the royal family didn't sit well with him. While other members of the family may have been "taken in" by Diana's "glamour," Edward, she claimed, was not (via Express).

Seward wrote that when Diana started "redefining the Royal Family to reflect her own personality, it grated against his sense of propriety." Ultimately, she claimed, he was "wary" of her and kept her "at arm's length." In fact, according to the biography, Edward put more and more distance between himself and Diana as time went on. While there may not have been any feuds or arguments between Edward and Diana, it sounds like the pair were never close.

Diana was best friends with Sarah Ferguson – but they had their fair share of problems

One of Princess Diana's closest allies in the royal family was Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew's wife. As two women who had married into the family, they had a unique, shared understanding, and it led to a fierce bond. 

According to Town & Country, the pair first met as children in school and became close as teenagers. The pair allegedly became closer after Diana joined the royal family, with Sarah becoming her close confidant. When Sarah and Andrew began dating, Diana was there to help her friend get accustomed to royal life. As she wrote in her autobiography "My Story," during one press event, "I looked over at my friend in befuddlement. 'Just keep smiling,' Diana whispered. And I did, as I would for long years to come. I always felt safe in mimicking Diana." 

As sisters-in-law, the pair were both close friends and, occasionally, rivals. In fact, the pair were not actually on speaking terms when Diana died. As Sarah later confessed to Harper's Bazaar, "Because we were like siblings ... we rowed. And the saddest thing, at the end, we hadn't spoken for a year."

Diana and her sister-in-law Sophie probably weren't the best of friends

While Princess Diana was undeniably close with one sister-in-law, she wasn't exactly close with Sophie Countess of Wessex, her other sister-in-law. As Ingrid Seward told New Idea, Diana may have been a little resentful about Sophie's relatively easy transition into the royal family. 

"The Princess of Wales and Duchess of York only discovered how difficult royal life could be after they were engaged and already en route to the altar," wrote Seward. "Sophie was being given a careful and subtle introduction, a fact which did not escape the notice of Diana and Sarah." 

Apparently, both she and Sarah Ferguson shunned Sophie and "ganged up" on her in return. One journalist claimed that Diana even gave Sophie the not-so-friendly nickname "Little Miss Goody Two Shoes" when Sophie won the hearts of the royal family with her low-key approach and her ability to avoid tabloid drama (via Express).

It seems Diana didn't have a close relationship with Mark Phillips or Timothy Laurence

Princess Diana's final sibling-in-law was Mark Phillips, Princess Anne's first husband. We don't know too much about whether Diana and Phillips got along, but based on one story, it sounds like the pair weren't exactly close. Apparently, Phillips and Anne missed Prince Harry's christening and opted to go on a rabbit hunt instead. As Anne later said in an interview, "It was a great shame that we missed the christening, but we were only given the choice of one date. And I'm afraid, as far as we were concerned, particularly as it was a date my husband had fixed and he was away in Australia when all this came up..." (via Express). It sounds like Phillips cared more about hunting than about showing up for his sister-in-law's son's christening.

When Anne later remarried Timothy Laurence, he didn't exactly bond with Diana either — but that was purely because of timing. Apparently, Diana didn't even receive an invitation to Anne and Laurence's wedding because it took place just three days after her separation from Charles (via Hello!).

Diana thought William was more similar to his father and Harry was more like her

Princess Diana had a loving, doting relationship with both of her sons, William and Harry — but naturally, her relationship with each was slightly different. 

Diana reportedly felt that William had a lot of similarities to Charles, while Harry was more like herself. "She always used to say, 'William is deep like his dad and stubborn, and Harry is a hothead like me; he does the first thing that comes into his head,'" Diana's former chef Darren McGrady told the Daily Mail in 2019.

According to royal expert Richard Kay, Diana felt more inclined to give Harry attention because William got a lot of extra "special attention" as an heir to the throne. 'I have to [give Harry extra attention],' she would often tell me," Kay recalled to the Daily Mail. "'Charles and I worked so hard to ensure both boys receive equal amounts of our time and love, but others in the family seem to concentrate on William.'"

Diana was allegedly friends with Camilla before discovering her relationship history

Although Camilla Parker-Bowles wasn't a member of the royal family during Diana's lifetime, she later married Prince Charles and is now Queen Consort. It turns out Diana actually knew her fairly well. In fact, the pair were actually friends before Diana discovered her affair with Charles.

According to Andrew Morton's "Diana: Her True Story," Camilla and Diana even had lunch shortly after Diana became engaged to Charles. Apparently, they spent their time laughing and gossiping. However, when Diana found out that Charles and Camilla were potentially more than friends, she became jealous, and her friendship with Camilla came to an end (via Tatler).

Diana famously spoke about the impact of Camilla's presence in her BBC "Panorama" interview when she said, "there were three of us in this marriage." By then, it's pretty clear that things had become more than frosty between the two women.