Author claims Princess Diana was 'mentally unstable' and a 'bad mother'

Monday, May 7, 2012
Princess Diana 'mentally unstable' and a 'bad mother'
Charles, Diana, William and Harry at Highgrove in 1986.

Princess Diana was "mentally unstable" and a bad mother who permanently damaged her sons, a controversial new book has claimed.

In life, Diana was praised for her devotion to William and Harry, but author Penny Junor says the young princess was actually a manipulative and damaging mother.

Junor details Diana's terrible treatment of her little princes in an explosive new book Prince William: Born to be King, which will be published on William's 30th birthday.

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The book claims Diana suffered from several mental illnesses, which were hidden from the royal family until it was too late.

"Within days of their engagement, Diana had changed from a happy-go-lucky teenager into a volatile and unpredictable stranger," Junor writes.

"Before the marriage, no one in Charles's camp had spotted that she was suffering from an incipient mental illness. And the people who did know kept quiet."

Junor claims Diana's own father admitted he was wrong not to "warn" Charles that his daughter was mentally unstable before they married.

Charles was reportedly destroyed by his marriage to Diana. He didn't know how to cope with her behaviour, and became angry and violent himself.

"Diana's mood swings were violent and unnerving," Junor writes. "In the blink of an eye, she went from cheerful and funny to brooding and sobbing, or furiously angry and screaming. At other times, she cut herself until she bled profusely.

"His wife needed constant reassurance, constant attention, constant love; but Charles had no idea how to cope. He became prone to temper tantrums, for which he didn't always  apologise.

"But he did everything she asked: he got rid of loyal staff whom she said she didn't like; gave away the faithful dog she couldn't stand; and stopped seeing the friends she neither liked nor trusted. But nothing seemed to make her happy."

Junor says William was largely shielded from his mother's mental illness at first, protected by his nanny Barbara Barnes.

But by the time William was four, Junor claims, Diana became increasingly jealous of his love for Barbara and fired her "on the flimsiest of excuses" plunging William into a deep depression.

"The reality was that Diana was not always as warm and demonstrative in private as she was in public," Junor writes. "Away from the cameras, the boys saw the extremes of her moods and were often frightened and bewildered by them.

"She just didn't know how to be a mother."

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Junor's book is sure to provoke outrage from Diana's millions of fans.

Diana — nicknamed the 'Princess of Hearts' — was famous for her caring nature, which saw her selflessly support many charities.

She was also praised for attempting to give her children a "normal" upbringing, far from the "cold" childhood typical of the royal family.

Perhaps the greatest evidence of Diana's success as a mother is the continuing devotion of William and Harry. The young princes frequently speak of the great love their mother gave them and their sadness that she is no longer with them.

Your say: Do you think Penny Junor should be writing such hurtful things about William and Harry's mother?

Video: Princess Diana at 50

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