Princess Diana came unstuck after she got 'too big for the royal family'

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

Princess Diana generated global interest for the Royal Family in the 1980s and 1990s.

From her fashion to her royal duties, there were daily headlines about the late princess.

During her marriage and after her separation from Charles in 1992, Diana attended high-profile events and had a circle of A-list friends, which included Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Gianni Versace.

Historian Anna Whitelock says “there’s an interesting divide between royalty and celebrity.”

Similarly, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also have a set of celebrity pals. George and Amal Clooney, TV talk host Oprah Winfrey and tennis star Serena Williams all attended their wedding last May.

Diana speaks with actor Tom Hanks at the premiere of Apollo 13 in September 1995 [Photo: PA]

Amal and Serena also hosted Meghan’s baby shower for the pregnant duchess at the lavish Mark Hotel in New York in February, while it’s been announced that Harry has partnered with Oprah on a new mental health documentary series for Apple.

READ MORE: Diana let Harry have treacle tart for breakfast, former chef reveals

Speaking on Yahoo UK’s ‘The Royal Box,’ Anna says: “Harry and Meghan are in this situation where actually they are significant to the royal brand in terms of generating interest, but actually not significant to the monarchy in terms of its future.

“I think the line that they’re walking and going to have to walk very carefully is between royalty and celebrity.

“There is very much a sense with the instagram and the way in which they are cultivating themselves as a sort of social media couple, they may end up diverting too far away from the royal brand and become celebrities in their own right.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in January 2019 [Photo: PA]

Since launching their own Instagram account earlier this month, the Sussexes currently have 5 million followers. They broke a world record after gaining one million followers in just six hours.

As well as sharing photos detailing their charity work and passion projects, Harry and Meghan’s Instagram posts appear to have a personal touch to them, suggesting that the couple are writing their own captions.

They recently posted a personal ‘thank you’ to well-wishers who have made donations to four charities, in lieu of gifts for the couple’s forthcoming baby.

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Anna warns: “The problem is if you’re a royal you can generate lots and lots of interest and lots of appeal, but ultimately it’s got to be for the firm, it can’t be for any one person.

“Of course that’s where Diana, to some extent, came unstuck, because brand Diana became bigger than that of the Royal Family.”

Charles reportedly became jealous of his wife’s popularity soon after their marriage.

In an interview with PEOPLE magazine in 2018, Lady Elizabeth Anson, party planner and a cousin to the Queen, said: “[Diana] sort of metamorphosed into a very, very elegant blonde beauty.

“They did a visit to Wales which was the beginning of, for Prince Charles, realising, ‘They’ve come out to see my wife, they haven’t come out to see me.'”