How does the perceived tension between Elizabeth and Margaret mirror Charles and Andrew, and William and Harry? Will there always be rumors of tension between the heir and the spare? If so, why?
I don’t think it’s destined to be that way, but a logical reason why should be the tension between one has a life preordained, and one doesn’t. The heir’s life is preordained—they know what lies ahead. The other one has much more freedom. It was natural for Margaret and now for Harry to make full use of not having that level of obligation. The short answer is it’s natural for that to happen, that the heir and the spare would go off on very different courses. Andrew is an egregious example; I don’t understand why the queen shows so much sympathy to him. Charles has always seemed to resent the fact that Andrew is clearly the favorite. Charles is introspective and thoughtful, while Andrew is shallow and vulgar.
Why does love always seem to cause crisis in this family? Edward VIII and Wallis, Margaret and Peter, Charles and Camilla, Harry and Meghan…?
I think it’s because a life of privilege can produce very self-indulgent people. They don’t go to the supermarket and worry about their groceries and such. Charles is such a classic example of this—an entitled, self-pitying man who was entirely unsuited to the kind of relationship that Diana demanded. For some reason, Camilla worked out how to deal with him.
What about Philip and the queen’s relationship?
It is understood that before his marriage he was a philanderer. But that all changed, and he later was part of a very successful marriage. This last year together in confinement was very touching, like reliving the early days of their young marriage and discovering each other again. The queen always made a point of saying that she depends on him and the support he has been to her.
In your opinion, what do you think the appeal was that made Diana the most famous woman in the world?
Partly because she was able to control the story of how she was the victim. And she was a victim, certainly, of a contrived, unsuitable marriage. You could argue the counter, that she did agree to it, but she was incredibly young and naive and suckered into the glamour of it. She believed Charles loved her, but he obviously never did, so she had to accept the role of a complacent wife who wouldn’t mind three people in the marriage. Diana showed far greater strength of character than any member of the royal family, and certainly greater than Prince Charles.