Historical letters by Princess Diana give glimpse into interesting life

Much of the world remains fascinated by Diana, the Princess of Wales. Even 25 years after her unexpected and unfortunate death, there’s no shortage of interest in her life and her legacy.

Recent events have even brought more attention to “Lady Di,” the People’s Princess, including a major biopic, new episodes of “The Crown,” the death of her mother-in-law, and the elevation of her former husband to the position of royal monarch.

Plus there’s always the unending tabloid fodder about her children, their spouses, and their children. Although it’s doubtful she would like the constant spotlight on any of them, one could speculate that she might approve of some of their activities and statements when they strive to forge their own identities and break free of some of the traditions, obligations, and social trappings that seem to be expected of any member of a royal family.

Part of the fascination with Princess Diana remains how she tried to do everything she could to help her community as part of the royal system and do her duty, even after her estrangement from her husband. She was a promoter of many global charity projects and was admired by many.

This can be seen to some degree in some of the historical letters that have been gathered over the years. Certainly, we may never see all of them since some may be deemed to be official secrets, but some friends, family and colleagues who had the opportunity to exchange correspondence with her over the years have allowed some of them to enter the public domain, or at least present them for auction.

These historical letters could be of interest to collectors of Diana memorabilia, anyone with an interest in some of the behind-the-scenes activities of Great Britain’s ruling class, or those who are interested in learning more about the life of a truly fascinating woman.

They paint a picture of someone intelligent and even witty, who is excited about her charitable projects. Though her challenges with Charles, his mother, and his mistress made headlines, she remained devoted to her family.

Some letters worth noting include:

  • Christmas cards. In the mid-1990s she sent personal holiday cards to friends, showing her and her two boys, William and Harry, but not her husband. The cards were hand-written with personalized messages to the recipients, which was quite unusual for someone of her stature who often relied on automatic printed cards to send to many well-wishers around the world.
  • Notes during divorce proceedings. Though there was tension and an unofficial separation that went back years, the formal divorce didn’t happen until 1996, a year before her death. Though she didn’t share a lot of the painful details with the public, some of her letters shared that the UK’s divorce process, even for royals, was simultaneously stressful yet mundane. So she welcomed the distraction of corresponding with a friend.
  • Thoughts on publicity. As much as she tried, Princess Diana couldn’t avoid the paparazzi, which unfortunately contributed to her death after a pursuit through Paris. Historical letters showed she did her best to ignore most of the media, but also didn’t appreciate it when personal details of her life appeared in the public eye. For instance, in 1992, she described a ghastly week when a story of her life was serialized in newspapers.