It’s an open secret that royals often have too much time on their hands. Even when they don’t officially step down from responsibilities like Prince Harry and Meghan controversially did, Royal Family members seem to always have time to start drama.
A surprising example of this came from the relationship between Princess Diana and Princess Anne. While the world considers Diana a beloved “people’s princess,” she had a very different reputation within the Royal Family, and she ruffled quite a few feathers.
Was Anne someone she ruffled? For years, there have been strong rumors that Diana had a nasty feud with the older woman. What did the rumors say, and what is the truth behind them? Keep reading to find out!
Very little in common to begin with
Regardless of how much they did or didn’t feud, it’s worth noting that Diana and Anne were never destined to be fast friends. The main reason for this is simple: they didn’t have anything in common to begin with!
For example, Anne was 11 years older than Princess Diana when they met, which is a bit too much of an age difference for people to easily bond. On top of that, they had different personalities: Diana was a people-pleaser and Anne was quite gruff and even blunt. To make things worse, these different personalities clashed in a mighty way when these two women first met.
Diana makes a terrible first impression
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And depending on who you talk to, the awful first impression that Diana made on Anne might have been the beginning of the end of their relationship.
According to Express, royal guru Ingrid Seward wrote that Diana was so eager to impress Anne when they met that the younger woman offered a royal curtsy. This was meant to show how polite she was, but it backfired when Anne hated the gesture. As Seward wrote, “Diana, confronted by the searing force of Anne’s scorn, fled the room.” Ouch!
Some godmother drama
If Princess Diana and Princess Anne merely had that bad first impression between them, they might have been able to patch things up. Certainly, many imagined that Diana and Anne would be better able to relate to one another after Diana became a mother. Unfortunately, this kicked off some unexpected godmother drama that further affected their relationship.
As Vanity Fair reports, royal biographer and family expert James Whitaker noted the growing disdain between the two women. “There was no love lost between the two women. They had little in common and Anne was irritated by Diana, the constant carry-on in the press about her clothes and her charm,” he said. Perhaps because of this, Diana snubbed Anne twice: first by not making the older woman the godmother to Prince William, and then again by not making her the godmother to Prince Harry.
Whitaker claims Diana had a simple reason for this that came up when it was suggested that if she had a daughter in the future, Anne could be the godmother. “‘I just don’t like her,” she said. “She may be wonderful doing all that charity work for Save the Children and others, but I can do it as well.’”
The press kept pitting the two women against each other
It’s not uncommon for the tabloids to pit two powerful royals against each other. However, this strategy went into overdrive when it came to Anne and Diane because each woman generated a fair amount of headlines, and their clashing personalities along with a dash of jealousy helped to allegedly keep their feud strong.
For example, most of the headlines Anne generated then (and still generates now) involved how tirelessly she worked year after year. Nobody takes royal duty more seriously than her, and it’s clear that no matter how much press her good works get, she has never been focused on simply making herself look good.
Arguably, that wasn’t always the case with Diana, who did fewer public services but was more outwardly charming and effusive with the press. When some reporters suggested Anne could win more people over by being more like Diana, Anne was understandably angry. According to Express, this is one of the reasons behind their feud: royal guru Richard Kay claims that “[Anne] didn’t like the way [Diana] went about her duty and the way she used the cameras and the media to promote herself, in her eyes.
Princess Diana’s death shocked Princess Anne
Publicly, of course, both women always denied the ongoing rumors of a feud. This is understandable: while the Royal Family may love drama, they don’t love the rest of the world finding out they can be just as petty and spiteful as the rest of us.
However, after Diana tragically died in 1997, there were signs that Anne really did care for her old frenemy. A source close to the matter told New Idea that when Diana died, Anne was “speechless.” Furthermore, “Diana’s death really got to her. Deep down she did regret not making more of an effort with her.”
That’s one more thing the royals have in common with the rest of us: it’s all too easy to regret the mistakes we made in the past, especially when there will never be a chance to make things right.