No one expected her to attend the party thrown to celebrate Camilla's sister's birthday.
When Diana married Prince Charles, the world thought it would be a real-life fairytale. The beautiful princess-to-be looked every bit magical as she stepped out of the carriage in her wedding gown to marry her princess. Although, Diana knew something was off right from the start. Yet, she trusted Charles and went ahead with it only to experiences heartbreaks and betrayals that scarred her for life.
It didn't take Diana to know that her doubts were indeed valid. Charles was still involved with Camilla and had in fact gifted her a bracelet with their initials just two weeks before his wedding with Diana, according to CheatSheet. She had hoped the birth of William would improve things between them but sadly things only grew worse.
Charles resumed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, which had a huge impact on Diana's mental health. In an interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, she had said that there were "three of us" in the marriage and "It was a bit crowded." But in the initial years, the secrecy and the fact that Charles assumed his intelligent wife had no idea what was going on hurt her the most.
She knew her heart was hurting deeply to know her husband had never really been hers through their entire relationship, but she definitely didn't want people to think she could be outsmarted. She gathered the courage and decided to confront the woman who refused to let go of her husband.
It was 1989, the 40th birthday of Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliot, at the home of Lady Annabel Goldsmith in London. She wasn't expected to be part of it but she had decided she would go anyways. According to The Mirror, she confessed that nobody was expecting her to attend the "ghastly" event. “He [Charles] needled me the whole way down to Ham Common, trying to bait me,” she said. “‘Why are you coming tonight?’ Needle, needle, needle the whole way down. I didn’t bite, but I was very, very on edge.”
She had also made up her mind to greet Camilla formally rather than how she used to earlier with an exchange of kiss. It was her "big step." In a recording secretly tapped by her friend in 1991 at Kensington Palace, she can be heard saying “I walk into the house and stick my hand out to Camilla for the first time, and think ‘phew got over that.’”
After a while, she realized that both Charles and Camilla were nowhere to be seen. She admitted that the awareness of the situation "disturbed her" but she went on to search for the two. “I know what I’m going to confront myself with,” she said. “They tried to stop me from going downstairs. ‘Diana, don’t go down there.” "I’m just going to find my husband," she replied.
She found a “happy little threesome going on” with Charles, Camilla, and another man deep in conversation she revealed.
“I thought, all right, this is your moment, so I went and sat down and joined in the conversation as though we were all best friends.” She continued, “And I said, ‘Camilla, I’d love to have a word with you, if possible.’ She looked really uncomfortable and put her head down and said ‘Oh yes, all right.’"
In the controversial biography by Andrew Morton's, Diana: Her True Story, she recalled, “And I said to the two men, ‘Ok, boys I’m just going to have a quick word with Camilla, and I’ll be up in a minute’.
The uncomfortable encounter made Prince Charles flee the scene, which Diana described as, “They shot upstairs like chickens with no heads and I could feel, upstairs, all hell breaking loose. ‘What is she going to do?’"
“So I said, ‘Camilla, would you like to sit down?’ So we sat down and I was terrified of her. And I said, ‘Camilla, I would just like you to know that I know exactly what’s going on,'" to which Camilla acted obliviously.
“I said ‘I know what’s going on between you and Charles, and I just want you to know that.'" Diana said and continued, “And she said to me, very interestingly, she said to me, ‘You’ve got everything you’ve ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world falling in love with you, you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’" Diana gave her the only reply possible, "I want my husband. Don’t treat me like an idiot.”
Although Diana owned her power and bravely confronted Camilla, the ride back home was brutal as Charles was being over her “like a bad rash.” She continued, “I cried like I have never cried before."
The next morning was literally a new day for her as she felt a new strength within her after standing up for herself. “I’d done something, said what I felt,” she added. She told Prince Charles that he was free to ask Camilla about the exchange as there were "no secrets."
After announcing their separation in 1992, they finally divorced in 1996. Although her personal life was tumultuous, her undying commitment to helping people, especially marginalized communities, until her tragic end in August 1997. Charles went on to marry Camilla Parker in 2005.
While Lady Diana may not be with us, she continues to inspire millions of people with her compassion, fearless commitment to creating a better world, and genuine love for people across the world. No wonder she is the sole person to hold the title the forever Queen of Hearts.