Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Princess Anne’s ‘searing scorn’ forced Diana to ‘flee room’ in tense exchange

Princess Anne says she was a ‘nuisance’ when younger

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Anne is widely known as the Royal Family’s hardest working member. She is regularly spotted in towns and cities around the country – and abroad – opening buildings and making official visits. Currently, the Princess Royal is thought to be involved with over 200 charities and organisations in an official capacity.

This is compared to the 30 or so that Prince William – future King of the United Kingdom – is connected to.

So committed to the job and responsibilities that come with royalty, Anne was slightly shaken on welcoming Diana and Sarah Ferguson into the royal fold in the Eighties.

The pair were completely different to anything the Firm had ever experienced, and would soon change the face of the family forever.

Not one to mince her words and thoughts about things and people, Anne is said to have taken an instant dislike to Diana.

Yet, Diana was more than aware of this, and on more than one occasion attempted to build something of a bond with Anne.

But her efforts were in vain, as Ingrid Seward, a royal author, explained in her book, ‘Prince Edward’.

She recalled a meeting between the two at the end of Ascot week in June 1981, barely a month before Diana would marry Anne’s brother, Prince Charles.

She wrote: “Sensing Anne’s apathy towards her and wanting to ingratiate herself, she ventured up to the nursery in the Queen’s Tower where Anne was settling in with her son Peter, who was three, and her four-week-old daughter, Zara.

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“Diana, still only a Lady, gave the Princess the benefit of a full curtsey and declared: ‘Ma’am, how wonderful to see you.’

“Anne is contemptuous of pretension at the best of times.

“When she was struggling with two small children she had no time for it at all.

“She looked up at Diana – and looked straight through her.

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“Diana, confronted by the searing force of Anne’s scorn, fled the room.”

Ms Seward isn’t the only royal author to have documented Anne’s aversion.

Richard Kay, speaking during Channel 5’s documentary, ‘Paxman on the Queen’s Children’, noted that the Princess Royal had “no time” for her.

He said: “Princess Anne, she had no time for Diana.

“She didn’t like the way she went about her duty and the way she used the cameras and the media to promote herself, in her eyes.

“Anne had a much more traditional approach to monarchy and royal duty.”

The programme’s presenter, former BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman, suggested that Anne’s strong feelings may have been rooted in Diana’s modernity.

He noted: “Diana and Fergie were much better at appearing human.

“Dedicated and hard-working Anne was most rapidly eclipsed.

“Diana made her look out of touch.”

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