On August 31, 1997, Royal biographer Ingrid Seward recounts a morning when Queen Elizabeth II, dragging her old-fashioned dressing-gown, went into the corridor where she met Prince Charles. Her apparent heir had already heard of the accident that left filmmaker Dodi Fayed dead. Ordering tea, she stuck around thinking that Princess Diana had narrowly escaped death. However, a call Charles received had an ambassador on the the other side who confirmed his wife’s death.

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Painting a picture in her book, Seward further added that as soon as the words ‘Diana’s dead’ reached Charles, his composure collapsed, and the tears the public never saw began to flow. While others in the family felt bad, it was Elizabeth II who looked stunned. Seward in her book takes the liberty of saying that the Queen saw Diana’s death as a waste of potential, how much ever the world knew her to not like her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth II had thorough affection for her. This went down as one of the nine secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death.

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Defying popular opinion, royal reporter Victoria Arbiter (whose father worked for the Queen) once said, “Contrary to popular belief, Diana had a deep respect for the monarchy and she particularly liked the Queen, but freed from the constraints of royal life, she did not was no more necessary to live by its unwritten rules.”

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Both the ladies – strong and aspirational– had met long before a 16-year-old Diana Spencer was married in the Royal family, to Prince Charles, for whom some use adjectives like womanizer and flirt. The Evening Standard reports he dated more than 20 women before marrying Lady Diana in 1981. Circling back to Diana’s relationship with the Queen, the marriage according to Elizabeth II could be a ‘breath of fresh air’ in Charles’ life.

However, things went south, Camilla Parker never left the picture and both Diana and Charles clinged to infidelity from time to time. According to BBC, the strained relationship between the Prince and Princess of Wales, was one major factor behind the hot and cold relationship the latter cradled with her mother-in-law.

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Seward confirmed that, as Diana and Charles’s marriage crumbled, Diana decided to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace for advice—and at first, it went well! One staff member told the author, “Diana was usually in a lot better mood when she left than she was when she arrived.” But eventually, the Queen began to fully dread the meetings, referred to Diana as a ‘nervy racehorse’.

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Multiple biographers (and Diana’s private secretary) who were interviewed for the Channel 5 documentary Two Golden Queens, Diana and the Queen met in 1986 after Diana found out about Charles’s infidelity. “For Princess Diana, there was a hope that somehow the Queen would intervene to make things okay in their marriage again,” Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson said. “But there was a communication problem between two very different generations. Between two strong women. There was a certain school of traditional royal thought that Diana should stop being silly.”

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Diana described one of her conversations with the Queen in a taped conversation with her speech coach, reportedly saying, “So I went to the top lady, sobbing, and I said, ‘What do I do? I’m coming to you, what do I do?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know what you should do. Charles is hopeless.’ And that was it, and that was help. So I didn’t go back to her again for help, because I don’t go back again if I don’t get it the first time.”

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Some might say, the Queen – possessing a traditional outlook – didn’t gel well with her not so royal daughter-in-law, who dealt with postpartum depression, eating disorders and even attempted suicide during her pregnancy. But the much publically strained their relationship was, reports suggest the women, believers of passion and considerable activism, held mutual respect for each other.