Why Princess Charlene Of Monaco Is Being Called The Next Princess Diana

Following a fairy tale wedding to King Charles III in 1981, Princess Diana became an immediate sensation. Thanks to her wide, expressive eyes, sweet demeanor, and ability to connect with the public, Diana was arguably the most beloved public figure in the entire Commonwealth. If she went to the gym wearing a baggy sweater and bike shorts, other women rushed to do the same. If she wore a deep-cutting black "revenge dress" to show her ex what he was missing, others followed suit. Indeed, Diana's adoring public nicknamed her the "people's princess" for her easy manner.

But, nothing was easy about royal life for Diana. Behind closed doors, the princess struggled with everything from her husband's infidelities to her own mental health challenges. Even though the public adored her, the pressures of royal life proved way too difficult for the princess who worked for years to maintain the façade that everything was okay.

Interestingly, it seems, Diana may not be the only royal to have ever taken on this struggle. In 2011, South African Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock, walked down the aisle with Prince Albert of Monaco and was, thus, crowned Princess of Monaco. While this transformation seemed dreamy to outsiders, rumors hinted at a more tragic reality. Sources alleged that Charlene's happy public image was a thinly-veiled farce, covering up Albert's infidelities and her own unhappiness. In other words, it has been speculated that Princess Charlene and Princess Diana had a whole lot in common. 

Princess Diana and Princess Charlene heard whispers of infidelity prior to their marriages

In 1997, Princess Diana gave a shocking BBC interview in which she famously declared: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded" (via YouTube). For most members of the public — and even some journalists — this news came as a surprise. Diana, however, had known about King Charles III's affair long before she made the revelation to the world. In fact, Diana first discovered proof of Charles' relationship to now-Queen Camilla in 1981, months before her "fairy tale" wedding. Indeed, as the princess later told her biographer, Andrew Morton, in privately-recorded tapes, she stumbled on the truth upon finding a bracelet that Charles had purchased for Camilla. "I was devastated ... Rage, rage, rage," Diana told Morton (via YouTube). 

Interestingly, Princess Charlene of Monaco may have had a similar experience to Diana. Leading up to her 2011 nuptials, Charlene also confronted rumors of her own fiancé's infidelities — and their potential consequences. As reported by the French outlet, Le Journal du Dimanche, some sources claimed that Prince Albert's wedding to Charlene was initially threatened by a new paternity suit. An anonymous representative of the Monegasque parliament told the outlet: "Rumors have been swirling for three weeks. We are talking about a hidden child, but the whole issue would be whether he's over five because Charlene and Albert have officially been together for five years."

Both princesses allegedly considered canceling their royal weddings

Outside of royal circles, rumors of infidelity often result in break-ups. However, behind palace walls, that is hardly the case. Both Princess Diana and Princess Charlene married their respective princes in spite of any whispers of extra-marital affairs. However, it has also been speculated that both princesses considered backing out of their royal weddings.

This dynamic was especially clear with Diana, who wanted to end things with King Charles III shortly after uncovering the bracelet he had made for Camilla, Queen. Speaking with the journalist, Andrew Morton, in some privately-made tapes, Diana confessed her doubts. The princess revealed that she had even called an emergency meeting with her sisters to talk about exiting the engagement. "I said, 'I can't marry him. I can't do this," Diana told Morton (via YouTube). Unfortunately, though, the royal bride could not back out due to Charles' relationship with the crown. As Diana explained in the tapes, her sisters "were wonderful and said, 'Well, bad luck, Dutch, your face is on the tea towel so you're too late to chicken out.'"

Exactly 30 years later, Charlene might have had similar doubts about Prince Albert. According to the French outlet, Le Journal du Dimanche, Charlene tried to flee Monaco three times before her wedding. On her final attempt, the outlet alleged, the princess' passport was even confiscated. Although the palace denied these claims, the LA Times reported that the energy in Monaco before the ceremony was tense.

Neither woman had a private honeymoon

Honeymoons may be intended for romance, but that wasn't the case for Princess Diana or Princess Charlene. After all, both princess brides found that royal duties played such a major role in their post-wedding getaways that they barely got to spend any private time with their new husbands. Diana and Charles, in particular, spent much of their honeymoon greeting crowds and posing for photos. Years later, in the tapes she recorded for Andrew Morton, the princess recalled: "So every lunchtime or dinnertime, when we were allowed to be on our own, we were supposed to read ... So we were never on our own. I remember crying my heart out on my honeymoon. I was so tired. For all the wrong reasons" (via YouTube).

Sadly, this sensation of spending one's honeymoon in the shadow of royal duties was something that Diana and Charlene shared. Following her wedding to Prince Albert, Charlene was whisked off to her old stomping ground in South Africa, which she reportedly hoped to share with the prince. To the dismay of the public, however, Charlene and Albert did not stay at the same hotel during this trip — or even in the same town. ABC News reported that while Charlene enjoyed a suite at the seaside destination of Umhlanga Rocks, Albert settled in at the Hilton in Durban. Apparently, this arrangement was meant to facilitate Albert's royal duties, as he spent much of his honeymoon in meetings.

Diana and Charlene both initially struggled to dress like a princess

Both Princess Diana and Princess Charlene struggled with the initial onslaught of their royal duties, especially when it came to dressing for their new roles. In Diana's case, this became apparent even before the wedding. While she was still engaged to King Charles III, Diana attended her first royal event in a black strapless gown designed by David Emanuel. Speaking to journalist, Andrew Morton, in some secretly-recorded tapes, the princess recalled: "Black to me was the smartest color you could possibly have at the age of 19. It was a real grown-up dress" (via YouTube).

Unfortunately, however, not everybody approved of Diana's choice of attire — not least of all Charles. Diana told Morton: "I hadn't appreciated that I was now seen as a royal lady ... And, I remember walking into my husbands-to-be's study and saying, 'I'm ready.'" According to the princess, Charles shot back, "You're not going in that dress, are you?" Apparently, he disapproved of the color, as royals only wore black when they were in mourning.

Decades later, Charlene had a similar experience. Toward the beginning of her courtship with Albert, she attended a ball in a bright green dress. In a chat with Vogue, Charlene admitted that she "didn't give [her] outfit any thought." As a result, she faced a "trial by fire" at the hands of critics who feared that Charlene didn't dress well enough to be the next princess of Monaco  

They felt alone at the palace

Royal life was not easy for Princess Diana or Princess Charlene. Beyond all the media attention and the pressures of dressing like a royal, both women also endured quite a bit of loneliness during the years they lived behind palace walls. During her time researching Diana, the actress, Kristen Stewart, was particularly moved by how isolated the princess felt for most of her life. In a press release, Stewart — who played Diana in the movie "Spencer" — shared her view that, "Diana, as normal and casual and disarming her air was, felt so isolated and lonely. She made everyone else feel accompanied, and bolstered by a beautiful light." The actress went on to describe Diana as "desperate for connection" (via The Guardian).

Diana, sadly, was hardly the only royal to endure this challenge. When Charlene moved to Monaco, she admitted to having very few people in her corner. Chatting with Tatler in 2010, the princess shared: "Although I have met some wonderful people since I've been living in Monaco, I regard them all as acquaintances. I only have two people I consider friends here." 

According to royal expert, Baron Henri Estramant, Diana and Charlene's feelings of loneliness are, unfortunately, all too normal. After all, as Estramant revealed in an interview with Insider, royal brides would historically "bring an entourage" to live in the palace with them. Modern princesses, however, don't have that same luxury, leaving them isolated and lonely.

Diana and Charlene have exhibited symptoms of mental health struggles

During their time as working royals, both Princess Diana and Princess Charlene, respectively, displayed signs that they were grappling with their mental health. For Diana, this struggle began just months after her wedding. In the private tapes she recorded for Andrew Morton, Diana revealed that she was considering suicide in October 1981. The princess shared: "I was in a very bad way. And, it rained and rained and rained."

Luckily, though, Diana knew to seek help. As she told Morton: "And, I came down early from Balmoral to seek treatments, not because I hated Balmoral, but because I was in such a bad way. Couldn't sleep. Didn't eat. Whole world was collapsing around me. All the analysts and psychiatrists you can ever dream of came plodding in. Tried to sort me out. Put me on high doses of Valium" (via YouTube).

Unlike Diana, Charlene has never publicly confirmed any diagnosis of mental health struggles. That being said, Prince Albert told People that Charlene was interned at a "treatment facility" in Europe after "she realized herself that she needed help." Indeed, Charlene went to Clinic les Alpes, a world-renowned mental health and addiction center. Strikingly, many of the princess' initial symptoms were the same as Diana's. As he told People, the prince said: "I can say she was suffering incredible fatigue. She hadn't slept well in a number of days and she wasn't eating at all well." 

Both princesses have seemed disconnected from their partners during royal engagements

Over the years, Princess Diana and King Charles III traveled the world together on official engagements. However, many times, the journalists and photographers who accompanied them would notice that something seemed off between the Prince and Princess of Wales. One of the times that this was most clear occurred during Charles and Diana's trip to Australia. The couple went hiking together on Uluru but was subsequently photographed walking forlornly on the mount's famous red sands, with their eyes cast downwards.

In an interview with Today, body language expert, Traci Brown, shared her opinion that this photograph revealed the Wales' discontent: "What's interesting is that they're not that close. They're hiking and this is not how you hike, with your hands in front of you. There's some deep emotional stuff in this picture. It's not unusual to look that far down, but to look that far down when you hike ... there's a lot of deep negativity from Diana."

Years later, Princess Charlene of Monaco would demonstrate a similar level of disconnect from Prince Albert during their press engagements. In some photos snapped in South Africa, the princess looks rather uncomfortable being so close to her husband. As non-verbal communication expert, Judi James, explained: "There are no signs here of any direct connection between Albert and Charlene ... There is no physical touch, closeness or even eye contact between them" (via the Daily Mail).

The princesses have been said to have similar body language

Princess Diana and Princess Charlene's body language reveals more than simply distance from their respective partners. Both women also have demonstrated a shiny public veneer on official engagements, which can, at times, seem forced. After all, neither Diana nor Charlene has managed to maintain their joyful expressions without slipping into something a bit moodier. This parallel has not been missed by body language experts, who wonder what Charlene is currently hiding behind her smiling public façade. 

As non-verbal communication specialist, Judi James said: "A problem with Charlene's body language though, and it is a trait that she shares in some way with Princess Diana, is an ability to use fluctuating facial expressions. Diana generally looked happy, but she could suddenly fall into a facial expression that was incredibly sad and reflective, even during her engagement interview. Charlene has shown a similar trait since her wedding, when her smiles of joy would slip into something much sadder-looking" (via Express). 

Diana and Charlene lived separately from their husbands

As Princess Diana and King Charles III's relationship went downhill, the pair stopped sleeping in the same bed and, instead, began spending periods with their respective lovers. At the time, this was not considered "appropriate" royal behavior, and so Diana and Charles had to go to great lengths to make it seem like they were still in love with each other. According to royal expert, Katie Nicholl, however, not everybody was fooled by the Waleses' charade. 

Apparently, the couple's maid, Wendy Barry, understood what was going on — and wrote a book about it called, "The Housekeeper's Diary." Speaking to Five Books on the subject of this fascinating royal memoir, Nicholl explained: "Diana and Charles tried to keep the pretence of the marriage going as much as they could by pretending they were sharing a marital bed. Diana would leave her earplugs in Charles's bed."

Interestingly, Diana was hardly the last royal bride to live away from her husband, although perhaps she was the last to hide it. Princess Charlene of Monaco has also decided to live separately from Prince Albert — a fact that she has not hidden from the media. In fact, Charlene has traded in the luxury of palace living for a two-bedroom apartment located just down the street from the royal residence. It is understood that this home is much more simple than the palace, which offers maid service and private chefs.

Diana and Charlene both spoke out against the media

Perhaps because so much of their personal lives were exploited by British and European tabloids, both Princess Diana and Princess Charlene took a stance against the media. In 1993, Diana gave an extraordinary speech in which she condemned the press' role in adding stress to her life. The princess told the public: "I was not aware of how overwhelming that [media] attention would become nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life in a manner that's been hard to bear" (via YouTube). This anti-media sentiment was one that Diana expressed relatively often. In her 1997 BBC interview, the "people's princess" divulged that "the pressure of the media" contributed to her divorce almost as much as her husband's infidelities did (via PBS). 

This frustration with the media is certainly a sentiment that Diana and Charlene have shared. Like Diana, the princess of Monaco has publicly spoken against the tabloids' relentless interest in her marriage to Prince Albert. In an interview with French outlet, Nice Matin, Charlene stated: "You want to talk about divorce rumors or my new home in Switzerland ... I still find it regrettable that certain media peddle such rumors about my life, my couple. Like everyone else, [Albert and I] are human beings and, like all human beings, we have emotions [and] weaknesses — only our family is exposed to the media, and the slightest weakness is relayed."

They have a similar sense of fashion

Over the years, Princess Charlene has embraced many of Princess Diana's favorite looks. After all, like Diana, Charlene has been known to wear her hair in a blond bob. But, more than that, the Princess of Monaco seems to use her clothes to give a subtle nod to the late Princess of Wales. In May 2023, Charlene attended an official engagement wearing a cream suit that was the spitting image of an outfit that Diana had worn almost three decades earlier. 

According to fashion expert, Claire Robinson, this choice of attire was no surprise. Speaking to the Express, Robinson explained that Charlene "certainly emulates so much of Princess Diana's style. Yet, she is definitely a style icon in her own right." In other words, Charlene is no copycat. Instead, it seems, Charlene has likely chosen certain Diana-inspired outfits as a nod to her late predecessor. 

Charlene likely would not enjoy the Diana comparison

Although Princess Diana and Princess Charlene are very similar, it is likely that the latter does not enjoy being compared to her predecessor. The reason for this is that Charlene's friends have been quite outspoken to the press about the fact that the princess does not necessarily like being compared to other royals. 

Over the years, the media has drawn parallels between Charlene and the American actress, Grace Kelly — who was also said to struggle in her role as the Princess of Monaco. Charlene has also been described as a Monegasque version of Princess Catherine because, like the British princess, she comes from a middle-class background. 

Historically, Charlene's friends have blasted these comparisons. Chatting with People, one of the princess' companions clarified: "She doesn't want to be Kate [Middleton], and she doesn't want to be Grace Kelly ... She's her own person, and she's not a shrinking violet."