Princess Diana Reportedly Soured A Royal Christmas Dinner With A Single Question

For some of us, Christmas can be a fun excuse to get in some quality time with our loved ones. For others, it's a rather tedious exercise because we're forced to be around people we don't actually want to see. But for Diana, Princess of Wales, it was a bit of an awkward mess right from the start. Like almost everything else with the royal family, Christmas is a carefully planned affair that features some very weird holiday traditions. 

Things got off to a relatively normal start as the family gathered at the Sandringham estate to celebrate the festive season. But unlike the rest of the world, the royals open their presents on Christmas Eve. Given their insanely lavish lifestyle, you might assume that the gifts are something important like family heirlooms or jewels that come with hefty price tags when in reality, they are strictly meant to be gag gifts only. 

Sadly, everyone seemingly forgot to inform the newlywed Diana of the tradition, so she bought normal gifts like cashmere sweaters and sadly went home with silly presents like a toilet paper cover. The following year, she came prepared and gave Sarah, Duchess of York, a leopard-print bath mat. Everything went well until one fateful Christmas when Diana reportedly asked a question about the monarchy's efficacy in a room full of royalty.

Princess Diana made Christmas awkward with just one question

In Andrew Morton's 1992 biography, "Diana: Her True Story," he described how Princess Diana questioned the royal family's relevancy during a Christmas dinner. Morton wrote, "She is believed to have raised the question as to whether the royals would remain pertinent in a federal Europe, leaving the likes of the queen and husband Prince Charles shocked." Morton also detailed the family's reaction: "The queen, Prince Charles, and the rest of the royal family looked at her as if she were mad and continued with their debate on who shot the last pheasant of the day, a discussion which occupied the rest of the evening," (via Express). 

The royal author also revealed that the question wasn't exactly a spur-of-the-moment mistake but rather the result of a deeply rooted dislike for the monarchy. He claimed that a friend of Diana's told him the princess believed the monarchy had outlived its relevancy. She couldn't see them making any real contributions to society because of how out of touch the royals were and believed their influence would fade unless they took a more modern approach. 

However, Christmasses were always an awkward affair regardless because of Diana's complicated relationship with the royal family. But things took a turn for the worse in 1992 after the public learned that both Diana and King Charles III had been unfaithful in their marriage. Although the couple reportedly separated that very same year, Diana attended a few more Christmas parties for the sake of their children, and unsurprisingly it didn't go well.

Princess Diana didn't feel welcome at royal Christmas celebrations

In 2015, Richard Kay, a columnist and friend of Princess Diana's, wrote a Daily Mail article describing her festive struggles in excruciating detail. Kay explained that, in 1993, Diana showed up to Sandringham for the annual Christmas Eve celebrations, but she didn't stick around for too long, reportedly skipping lunch and traveling back to Kensington Palace alone before leaving to spend the holidays with her friends in Washington. 

A similar story unfolded the next year, only this time, the royals reportedly made sure to let Diana know that her presence wasn't appreciated by giving her an unfriendly welcome. Kay claimed that a friend of the princess told him how she felt at the time: "Diana didn't feel welcome at all. She could see how her being there just made everyone so tense and uneasy. She'd joined them for the sake of the boys, but it wasn't really working." 

So, instead of spending the holidays with people she didn't care for, Diana reportedly chose to engage in charitable endeavors instead. Unfortunately, the paparazzi was tipped off, and she had to cancel at the last minute because Diana didn't want her husband's family to think she was making some kind of statement. In November 1995, BBC aired the infamous "Panorama" interview where Diana described her strained relationship with The Firm so she skipped the celebrations altogether. While all these Christmasses sound awkward, they were no match for the heartbreaking way Princess Diana spent her last Christmas: Alone.