Princess Diana’s private and infamous biographer, Kenneth Rose, was pretty meticulous. In fact, he was so meticulous that he kept carefully curated journals about everything that Diana told him (and more).
The Daily Mail has serialized his journals, and a whole new round of royal bombshells has been released as a result.
In Who Loses, Who Wins: The Journals of Kenneth Rose, Volume Two, 1979-2014, readers are filled in on 10 never-before-released royal tales. In one of the more interesting, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and a close family friend met to discuss a room in Sandringham that the servants at the palace believed was haunted.
The team called in a local parson, who “walked from room to room and did indeed feel some sort of restlessness in one of them,” Kenneth wrote.
The room in question was a bedroom that the Queen’s father had once used, but the parson felt that someone else could be haunting it — Princess Di.
Kenneth Rose continued on: “So the parson held a service there, not exactly of exorcism, which is the driving out of an evil spirit, but of bringing tranquillity. The congregation of three took Holy Communion and special prayers were said, I think for the repose of the King’s soul in the room in which he died. The parson said that the oppressive or disturbing atmosphere may have been because of Princess Diana: he had known such things before when someone died a violent death.”
Kenneth Rose also dropped that Prince Philip really, really wasn’t fond of Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson. Fergie shared a letter from Philip with Kenneth in which he noted that Fergie had “let down the Firm” and “that he had been reading a book about Edwina Mountbatten [who was notorious for having had many lovers], and that my conduct reminded him of hers.”
Another fun Diana tidbit that shows shades of the princess to come: At her 1981 wedding, she was shown a list of people whom her father wanted to invite to fill seats at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Diana immediately “crossed out all the family who had not bothered to come to the weddings of her sisters!” Kenneth wrote. He added, “One day she will be very formidable.”
Kenneth also believed that Princess Diana was bored of her marriage early on. “The Prince [Charles] goes out at nine to shoot or fish, and she does not see him again until seven,” wrote Kenneth. [Duke Hussey, who was married to the Queen’s lady-in-waiting] “wonders if he will make a sufficiently good king: he thinks not. The prince is too immature, and the contrast with the firm style of the Queen will be most marked.”
Another reveal: Queen Elizabeth really was as in love with her dogs as you always heard she was. Kenneth Rose related that he spent the weekend with friend Pamela Hicks, who was in the habit of writing the Queen letters. She never received a reply, except for when “when [Pamela] sent my sympathy after one of her dogs had been killed by a Clarence House corgi. She then wrote six pages.”
The castle still loved to reminisce about Diana years after her death, and even used her to get jabs in at Prince Charles (often to his face). In one such moment, “Prince Charles‘ former private secretary John Riddell, [told] of how he tried to ‘jolt’ the prince out of his self-absorbed life by telling him that he ought to learn how ordinary people live by talking to Diana more: she, after all, lived an unsheltered life with her friends in a London flat. Charles replied: ‘I prefer to talk to [author and philosopher] Laurens van der Post.'”
We also learn that it was Queen Elizabeth who refused to mend relations with her disgraced uncle, Edward, after he married American Wallis Simpson. “Edward Ford [Extra Equerry to the Queen, and her former assistant private secretary] tells me that he used to suggest to the Queen that she might publicly heal the breach with the Windsors [Edward and Wallis] by inviting them for a day or two of Ascot races, where they would be swallowed up among the other guests. But the Queen said no.”
The gifts keep rolling in. In one passage, Kenneth Rose examined how futile it could be to grab the attention of the Queen. Prince Philip shared that the head of Wimbledon asked if the Queen would come to the event, and Philip replied, “I doubt it, unless there are dogs and horses.”
Speaking of Elizabeth, she also is known for not being particularly concerned about how palace guests feel about the food they are served. When the Master of the Royal Household from 1967 to 1973 would worry about keeping food warm, Elizabeth would reply, “People come here not to eat hot food, but to eat off gold plate.”
And finally, Kenneth wrote that Queen Elizabeth really just wasn’t into Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the company that the prime minister kept. According to his journals, the Queen said of the PM, “She stays too long and talks too much. She has lived too long among men.”