There’s no doubt that Princess Diana was loved by people across the globe. Turns out she also left a huge impression on the Queen herself. “Diana was the first person to rattle the cage of the monarchy within living memory,” revealed Queen’s biographer Ingrid Seward. “I don’t think Diana went out intentionally to change the family. She did it because that was the way she was.”
In the days following Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth was heavily criticized for remaining silent. “It felt pretty perilous,” expressed Ed Perkins, the director of HBO’s new documentary The Princess. Then on September 5, the monarch finally addressed the nation as “your Queen” and “as a grandmother” in a rare televised speech.
While the Queen is known for her stoic and composed mannerisms, she seemed to realise that she needed to express her emotions on this occasion, following Princess Diana’s lead, according to PEOPLE.
Diana changed the way the Royals functioned. She would actively be involved in her sons’ lives so much so that she even participated in a school run organized for mothers on sports day. One time she allowed her sons and their friends to bury her in the sand while playing at Thorpe Park. “She understood that there was a real life outside of palace walls,” said William in a documentary.
She did her best to make sure that her children has a normal life and during a 1991 ski trip to Lech, Austria, she insisted on going without any bodyguards so her family could relax and have some alone time. Diana never hesitated to show affection, sometimes disregarding the royal protocol on demonstrative behavior in the process.
She was once photographed throwing her arms open to greet her boys as they joined her on board Royal Yacht Britannia in Canada. “She would engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible and being as short as I was then, there was no escape, you were there for as long as she wanted to hold you. Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs she used to give us,” said Harry.
When asked why she thought she would never be queen, Diana told Martin Bashir, “Because I do things differently, because I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head… someone’s got to go out there and love people and show it.” On the contrary, Queen Elizabeth has rarely displayed any extreme emotions but in recent years she has displayed her ability to show emotions.
She participated in comedy skits like at the 2012 Olympics with Daniel Craig as James Bond and even shared the screen with Paddington Bear for her Platinum Jubilee earlier this summer, according to PEOPLE. “Who knows whether an event like that could have happened without someone like Diana coming in?” said Perkins. Meanwhile, Seward added, “The Queen can now see Diana’s legacy is a huge force for good.”