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In February 1980 Diana spent her first weekend at Sandringham in the company of the Royal Family without being accompanied by a sister. Although she was excited she played down the excitement of her friends: "What do you think would happen, it's only a weekend hunt at Sandringham." The interjection "my God, perhaps you'll be the next Queen of England", she dismissed whilst she was scrubbing the oven: "I hardly think so. Can you imagine me in rubber gloves and a robe?" Diana travelled to Sandringham together with Lady Amanda Knatchbull. She was the granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten who had been murdered in August 1979 by the IRA, and who Charles had seen as a "substitute father" for many years. A friend of Diana's, Philip, invited Diana in July 1980 to a barbecue at his parents' house in Petworth. As his mother was the Queen's Lady in Waiting, he could promise Diana that she would meet Prince Charles: "You are young, he might like you." Diana was given a place next to Prince Charles at the barbecue. Both later remembered that they began with friendly pleasantries, however soon came to talk about the magnificent funeral service held for Lord Mountbatten. All the world knew how much he had meant to Prince Charles, but Diana said it spontaneously: "You looked so sad as you had to walk down the aisle. I have never seen anything so sad before. My heart bled as I saw you so, and I thought: "That is not right, you are completely alone, you should have someone with you who you trust". With this a spark must have been ignited, as the picture that the twelve years older Charles had previously had of the little Spencer daughter transformed itself decisively. 


Hardly back home, and Diana first experienced what it meant to be placed into the royal calendar. One Sunday afternoon a telephone call told her that Prince Charles would be prepared to accompany her to a performance of Verdi's "Requiem" in the Royal Albert Hall. Her grandmother Lady Ruth Fermoy would come as chaperone, and would also be present at a cold buffet in his private quarters in Buckingham Palace. In August 1980 the next invitation arrived. This time she was invited to a sailing weekend at Cowes. At the beginning of September the Prince newly invited Diana to an extended weekend, this time to Balmoral. Fittingly Diana's sister Jane and her husband lived in a small farmhouse on the Royal Estate. Here Diana could live comfortably, was however repeatedly called by Charles as to whether she would lend him company during a walk, or at a barbecue. Diana had accompanied Charles fishing on the River Dee as the distant flash of binoculars and camera lenses fell on her. As she knew how much her sister Sarah had been upset by attention from the press, she immediately pulled on a headscarf like a cowl and turned herself away. Craftily, and impressing Prince Charles, who remained back, she kept her back to the journalists and observed the photographers using the mirror in the lid of her powder compact. However her anonymity only lasted for one weekend, and with this weekend in 1980 Lady Diana Spencer lost the part of her life as a private person. Already on 8th September The Sun betrayed to the nation that behind the back of public life a Royal Romance had almost started again. The curtain had been lifted.


Princess Diana`s Engagement"Patiently smiling she bore in public the siege of her apartment block or the "Young England Kindergarten", being followed in her car and outstretched microphones. Still very naive she tried to shake off the most annoying photographer by promising him that if he never turned up again she would let herself be photographed outside the kindergarten with some of the children.
The professional had promised everything for this photo. He cleverly positioned the innocent group against the sun and took the world famous picture which completely exposed Diana's legs though a far too thin skirt. At the time the Prince turned up his nose in amusement at the picture and forgave her with the ticking-off: "I knew that you have good legs, but I had overlooked the fact that they are quite so spectacular. Do you necessarily have to show them to everybody?" From then on Diana was on her guard, even when it was difficult. She couldn't have imagined that this would be her future way of life.
The case’ first grew critical when the media presented a newspaper article about Diana having spent the night on the Royal train. They opened the hypocritical discussion as to whether Diana - if she had the nerve to visit her Charles then - was still a virgin or not. The debate over virginity, previous experience and platonic or close friends of the teenage Diana put the court on the spot. Officially the bearer of future heirs to the throne must go into marriage as a virgin, a discussion about this would however always do damage to the reputation of the Palace and the bride. It resulted in a need for action.


Diana spent the Christmas of 1980 at Althorp, and then New Year's Eve with her friends at the shared flat in London. During New Year Diana visited Charles at Sandringham. After this weekend the hysterically speculating press could hardly be held back, all reports screamed about a declaration: Is she the one? 
Princess Diana`s EngagementPrince Charles however went skiing in January 1981, well knowing that in February Diana would fly with her mother and step-father to their sheep farm in Australia. Charles was supposed to decide there whether he would marry Diana or not. It was not love for Charles, but Diana had all the qualities that one should possess in his social circle. He is supposed to have once told a friend: "I don't love her, but she has the best qualities". At the beginning of February Prince Charles rang her from his ski resort of Klosters in Switzerland, just to tell her that after his return there would be something important that he must ask her. Whilst bourgeois lovers perhaps hurry directly to their intended in order to propose to her, royals undertake the hurdles of duty. On 3rd February Prince  Charles returned, took part in a aircraft carrier manoeuvre and first managed to ask Diana to come to Windsor Castle on 6th February. There in the so-called nursery, he told Diana how much he had missed her in the Alps and whether she would marry him. Overpowered and embarrassed Diana broke into her typical giggling whereby Charles repeated how serious the issue was to him, as of course she would also one day become queen through it. Later Diana remembered how she heard herself speaking, how she finally agreed and had ever more repeated how much she loved him. To which the Prince answered: "Whatever loves means".


Princess Diana`s EngagementDiana first told her news to her friends in the apartment. Then things undertook a breathless pace. On 23rd February Diana moved out of her apartment in Coleherne Court and into Buckingham Palace, where she should learn correctness and a little knowledge of courtly life. Already when saying goodbye to her friends Diana's new bodyguard, Paul Officer, ambiguously noted: "You should know that this is the last day of your live as a private person, make the best out of it!" The then very well informed Times already reported on the same day, 24.02.1981, that the official statement went to the press, about the engagement. At midday the dream pair gave a television interview in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the first of very few in Diana's life.


The freshly engaged pair already had their first official appearance on 9th March at a charity event at London's Goldsmith's Hall. Diana appeared in a very deeply cut shoulder and backless dress made from silk over a not too certain sitting corsage and as she got out of the car she offered the photographers the second sensational photo to go round the world: pretty sexy Diana. A storm of flashbulbs outside and spotlights inside, the cheering and being at the centre of attention made Diana however feel very insecure. Through brave dieting since the engagement her nerves were thinner, then came Charles' criticism shortly before they departed: As she proudly appeared in his study in her only dress suitable for the occasion, he complained completely unimpressed, that at court one only wore black when in mourning. At the ball itself a woman, who like her had married into different circles, took away her uncertainty. Princess Grace of Monaco retreated back with her, particularly praised her dress and listened to Diana's complaints about the sudden isolation and her fears for the future. Her cheering advice was: "Don't worry, it will all get a lot worse!"

Three episodes and an unreasonable demand could have warned Diana at the time, as years later she first saw through how strongly she had been taken in and planned. At her first move from the shared flat into royal Clarence House no-one apart from the lady-in-waiting was expecting and greeted her. But already on her bed lay an invitation, written before the engagement ( well judged ), from Camilla to a ( well planned ) dinner, which very soon turned out to be a strategic dinner to be held when Charles was on a five-week-long trip which would take him to Australia and New Zealand, and finally to Venezuela, Washington and Williamsburg. It annoyed her that Camilla was one step ahead. Directly before his departure Diana was still flirting with her fiance in his Buckingham Palace office, perhaps she had also, as she often enjoyed during the engagement period, sat on his lap, in any case at this moment of saying goodbye the telephone rang, on the other end was Camilla, who also wanted to say goodbye. Diana was unsure at the time as to how she should react, she immediately left the room so as not to disturb the private conversation, and later told friends that the situation, and her own, likewise his reaction, had "broken my heart". The rivalry instinct was awaken, the aftertaste of the momentary defeat was only with difficulty shaken off. Charles was away for five weeks, the television kept the camera on a visibly upset, blushing Diana, who suddenly burst into tears, whose true reasons for doing so no-one could have imagined.


Diana and her own family, mother as well as two sisters, prepared the wedding in BP, wrote guest lists and ideas for the day together.
Many secrets were made about the wedding dress for the dream wedding. It didn't appeal to Diana any more at the end, as it had to be taken in many times due to her successful dieting. Diana had to realise at this time that different rules were followed at BP to those which she was used to. She also enforced to have things similar to what she was used to at Althorp, for a chat or to make herself a quick sandwich surrounded by her servants in the palace kitchens. This behaviour unnerved the servants, so one of them appointed herself as a speaker and explained to Diana strictly, but clearly, the threshold as being the dividing line between the authorised royal domain and the unauthorised kitchen domain. Two days before the wedding a rather too high-spirited ball took place in the palace, in "Buck House", for Diana's bourgeoise friends.


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