Two hundred million people show
interest as the princess gives an interview to the BBC reporter Martin Bashir on the 20th
November 1995 in Kensington Palace.
"Your Highness, how preparedwere you when you married the Prince of Wales? At 19 one believes
that one is prepared for everything.
What were your expectations in regards to marriage?
I loved my husband and I wanted to share everything with him, and I thought that we were a
Did you know what to expect as the future queen?
What made the most impression was actually the media attention. My husband and I were told
that the media would leave us in peace after the engagement. But that was not the
and we found that a deep interference. In the course of time one suddenly realises that
one is just a good saleable commodity. That people want to make money from
Were you actually completely happy at the
start of your marriage?
Absolutely. But the pressure from the media on us
both was so heavy. We were on our honeymoon in Australia and then I noticed that the media
concerned themselves more with me than with him. I found that unfair, I wanted to share it
with him. It upset him. It lead to jealousy from many sides and resulted in complicated
Shortly after the marriage you became pregnant.
What was your reaction as you heard that it would be an heir to the throne?
An incredible relief. I think that the whole country felt the same as me. It was really a
huge relief for me.
the rest of the royal family react when they found out that you were expecting a
Everyone was fascinated. But it was a difficult pregnancy. I suffered a lot, and
when William arrived it was a huge relief. Everything was peaceful and calm
again. I had
no problems for a while. But then I got postnatal depression, but I don't like to talk
about that. That was naturally not very easy for me. To wake up in the morning and simply
have the feeling that one really doesn't want to get up, one feels misunderstood. I had a
bad conscience. I had never experienced that before. But when I analysed it I could see
that the changes from the past few years had caught up with me. My body said : take some
What treatment did you receive?
I was treated through very diverse ways, but I myself knew that I
really only needed time in order to adapt. To adapt to the great variety of roles that I
had to play.
How did the family react to your depression?
I was the first in this family who had had such a depression, who
had cried in public. And that was naturally disturbing. One had a new label that one could
place on me. Diana is not balanced, is unstable, weak.
Did you want to mutilate yourself at this time?
When no-one listens to oneself everything is possible inside one's
thoughts. One feels pain inside and tries to injure oneself on the outside because one
wants to receive help. The people are of the opinion that one just wants attention,
although one has already got enough attention from the media. But I called for help so
that I would be able to carry on playing my role. Yes, I mutilated myself. I couldn't cope
under the pressure any more. I mutilated my arms and my legs.
How did your husband react to this?
I didn't do this in his presence. But whoever loves someone else
would have to notice it. I believe that there are really not very many people who take the
time to take something like this seriously.
Then one heard that you had bulimia.
Yes, that is right. I had bulimia for many years, and that is a secret type of
illness. One inflicts that on oneself, because one feels bad and because one is of
opinion that one has no value. One fills the stomach four or five times per day, sometimes
even more often, and one feels good. That is as though one is being hugged, but that only
lasts for a short time. And then one is so disgusted by the bulging stomach, and
And this repeats itself time and time again - a destruction of the true self. It was
completely normal for me to come home and go straight to the fridge. It was a symptom for
all the things which were happening in my marriage. I cried, I screamed for help, but with
the wrong signals. And the people described my bulimia as a breach of etiquette: Diana is
psychologically weak. But my husband and I didn't want to disappoint the public. And of
course there was much anxiety in our house.
Have you ever sought help from another member of the Royal
No, no. If one has bulimia then one shames for oneself. One hates oneself. One
doesn't mention it to other people. The unhappy fact is that one doesn't lose or put on
weight. One can act as though everything were normal.
Did the press attention accelerate your illness?
That made everything very difficult. Here was a
married couple in the same job. My husband talked whilst I shook the hands. However when
my husband said that we should take on differing duties I was sad, as I was happy to be
together with him.
Did the prince respect your interests?
I believe that I was not allowed to have any. I was
not permitted any. I was always the 18 year old whom he had got engaged to. But I had to
grow up, and I also grew in stature. No-one ever praised me, but if I made a mistake then
I received all the criticism. I cried many tears. Bulimia was my way to escape.
In 1986 the relationship between your
husband and Camilla Parker-Bowles is supposed to have re-ignited.
Did you know about this?
Yes, it was obvious to me. I knew that. But I simply couldn't do anything about it. I had
tips from differing people who cared about our marriage.
The effect on you?
Shattering. I had the feeling that I was not worth anything anymore. Without hope, a
failure. With a husband who loved another. The change in his behaviour made me certain. A
woman senses these things. My husband's friends said that I was unstable again and should
be placed in a clinic. I was, as it were, an embarrassment to him. A perfect tactical way
to isolate a person.
Was Mrs. Parker-Bowles guilty for the
breakdown of your marriage?
Yes, there were three of us in this marriage. And there was one person too many. The Royal
Family were worried. One could see that there would be complications, but one didn't want
How did you lead this double life?
When we travelled abroad we had separate apartments
and rooms on the same floor. Then this was discovered and there were yet more
complications. However Charles and I had our duty to carry out, that was the most
important thing. In public we were a very good team.
In 1992 Andrew Morton's book about you
appeared in which your unhappiness was portrayed. Did you help him?
I allowed my friends to talk to him. My nerves were
at an end, I was desperate. It was enough for me that I would always be portrayed as a bit
frail. I have a strong personality. The book was important. Perhaps there are more women
who suffer like me and can never speak for themselves as their feeling of self-worth
practically doesn't exist anymore.
What effect did Morton's book have on your
relationship with the prince?
He was shocked and horrified. What we meant to have
kept hidden had been brought out into the open. The question of separation was suddenly
there. At some point we then called the lawyers together and talked about separation. Many
people joined in: the Prime Minister, Her Majesty ...
In December 1992 the legal separation was
finalized. How did you feel at this point?
Deep sadness. We had fought in order to keep
everything going. That didn't work any more, we had no more energy left, neither of us.
And it was a relief for both. My husband wanted the separation, I supported him.
was then not your idea?
No. I come from a family with divorced parents and I didn't want to
have to experience that again.
Did you say anything to your children?
Yes, I travelled to them beforehand and explained to them what had
happened. They reacted like all children do, with lots of questions. I hope that I was
able to console them.
What did the separation change?
I was a problem to them. I wasn't allowed to carry on with many of
my former duties. Everything changed when we separated. Life became very difficult. My
husband and his friends were very active in demoting me.
Then your telephone conversation with James Gilbey was made
known. He called you his octopus.
I tried to protect James, he has always been a good
friend, and I
couldn't bear the fact that his life would be so churned up because he had been in contact
with me. In any case the telephone conversation actually took place. James is a very
loving person, but we didn't have a marriage-breaking relationship.
How did this conversation get to be in the press?
I don't know. But it was there to injure me and to hurt me. It was the first time
that I experienced this sort of thing: what it meant to be outside the safety net and not
to be a part of the family any more. My husband naturally held all the best
was like in a game of poker, or a game of chess.
And your alleged nuisance calls to the millionaire Oliver Hoare?
That was wrongly reported. I was meant to be discredited yet again. I then found out that
a young man made most of the telephone calls, but they were blamed on me. I phoned Whore a
couple of times, but absolutely not with such a forceful art and means.
Did you let yourself be sent away?
I fought to the end. Because I believe that I have a role to play, a
I have two children who I want to bring up. In 1993 I retreated for a while. With this
strategy I confused my enemies who ruined all my duties. It was the fear of a strong woman
as my affect in public was greater than that of Charles.
Then in a biography your husband admitted his love for Camilla.
I was desperate and shattered. But I admired the honesty and openness. Then I drove
to the school and told my son William: "When one finds someone who one loves then
must one hold one to this person", that I still love his father but that we can't
live together any more. I take 50 percent of the responsibility for the destruction of the
marriage, but no more than this.
In a book your riding teacher James Hewitt admitted to having an
affair with you. Is that true?
He was a very good friend at a difficult time. He was always there and helped
And I was shattered when this book was published. I trusted him and now he's making money
from me. There is a lot of invention in this book. He phoned me ten days beforehand and
said that the book was harmless.
relationship go beyond a close friendship?
Yes, it did.
Why were you unfaithful?
Yes, I loved him and I idolized him. I was in a very bad way.
Now you live alone.
That doesn't bother me. I don't believe that one needs a man.
What role do you see for yourself in the future?
I would like to be an ambassador for this country, I would like to represent this
country and her good qualities abroad. I was in a privileged position for 15 years and
have a wide knowledge about people. I know that I can bring love.
Are you guilty for the unstable condition of the monarchy at the moment?
No, I don't believe so. I don't want to destroy my children's future. I
what is most important to me when discussing the monarchy, is that the people don't become
indifferent and apathetic. It is a problem. My children must change the monarchy one day.
What do you do to prepare them for this?
I visit the homeless and people who are dying from AIDS with the children. I take
them overall with me. I give them knowledge and experience, as knowledge is power. I would
like them to be understanding. So they can learn about desperation, hope and
What type of monarchy do you expect?
One that cared for a close contact to the population.
Will you get divorced?
I don't want a divorce, but there is the fact that we should clarify the
I am waiting for the decision of my husband for the direction that we shall all
Does he want a divorce?
At the moment we haven't talked about it.
Would you wish it?
Because it wouldn't solve anything. What would then happen to the
children, our sons? That's what matters, don't you agree?
Do you believe that you will ever become queen?
No, I don't believe so. I would like to become the queen of peoples'
hearts. But I
don't see how I can become the queen of this country. I don't believe that many want that
- namely the establishment that I married into. Because it is decided there that I shall
never become that.
Because I do things differently. I don't keep to the rules, I act from the heart, not from
the head. And if I create problems by being so then I understand that. But one needs
someone who loves people and also shows it.
Your methods stops you from gaining the throne?
I wouldn't say it like that. I simply don't have many people who support
me. In the
palace I am seen as some kind of threat. I want to do good. I am not a destructive
Why do people see you as a threat?
Every strong woman in history has to follow a similar journey. One asks oneself
questions: why is this woman strong? Where does she get her strength from? But the public
still love me.
Do you believe that the Prince of Wales will ever be king?
No-one knows the answer to this question.
Do you think that
he will become king?
He was always divided on this matter. Being Prince of Wales already demands a lot of
energy. And to be king is yet another huge challenge. I know his character and his
personality and I believe that becoming king would be an immense strain for him as he
would lose his freedom. And I don't know whether he would be in the position to allow
himself to give so much up.
Do you believe from the background of your marital difficulties that
it would make sense to give the role of the monarch directly to your son Prince William?
William is still very young. Should he now already carry such a burden around his
shoulders? I cannot answer this question.
Would it be your wish that Prince William follows the queen when he
is of age?
My wish is for my husband to find his inner peace. That is important, and the rest will
result from this.
Why have you actually decided to give this interview? Why now
This December we will have been separated for three years. The picture that
everyone had of me, because it was this or that way portrayed, is very
have doubts about me now. I would like to reassure the people who love me. I would like to
say to them that I will never let them down. That is just as important to me as my
You mean, you can now reassure the people in that you are going
Yes. The people on the streets are particularly important to me.
And if a person retorts about being able to seek revenge from your
husband by doing this interview?
I am not here for revenge. I am sad that our marriage ended so. Yet I am optimistic
about my future, the future of the monarchy and that of my husband.