Diana Said She Felt Like a “Product That Sits on a Shelf” as a Royal

Emily Dixon
·2 min read
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

From Marie Claire

  • Princess Diana said in her bombshell 1995 BBC interview that she felt like "a good product that sits on a shelf" as a member of the royal family.

  • Diana said being in the media spotlight was "an isolating experience."

  • "The higher the media put you," she said, "the bigger the drop. And I was very aware of that."

Princess Diana's bombshell 1995 interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir is firmly back in the headlines 25 years later, thanks to allegations from Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, that Diana was duped into taking part in the Panorama interview through the use of fake bank documents. While many of Diana's explosive revelations about her life in the royal family are so widely documented as to be quotable—"there were three of us in this marriage," for instance—some of Diana's quieter comments are less well known, but just as telling.

Diana spoke about the pressure of the media spotlight, and subsequently beginning to perceive herself as a "product"—and a highly profitable one, too. "My husband and I, we were told when we got engaged that the media would go quietly, and it didn't, and then when we were married they said it would go quietly and it didn't," she said, as E! News reports. "And then it started to focus very much on me, and I seemed to be on the front of a newspaper every single day, which is an isolating experience, and the higher the media put you, place you, the bigger the drop. And I was very aware of that."

"During the years, you see yourself as a good product that sits on a shelf and sells well, and people make a lot of money out of you," she added.

Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images

In the interview, during which she notably spoke about her experiences of bulimia and self-harm as well as her troubled marriage to Prince Charles, Diana said she resented being portrayed as intellectually inferior to her husband. "I made the grave mistake once of saying to a child I was thick as a plank, in order to ease the child's nervousness, which it did," she said. "But that headline went all round the world, and I rather regret saying it."

Diana said she and her estranged husband had interests in common: "We both liked people, both liked country life, both loved children, work in the cancer field, work in hospices." But when it came to her own interests? "I don't think I was allowed to have any," she said. "I think that I've always been the 18-year-old girl he got engaged to, so I don't think I've been given any credit for growth. And, my goodness, I've had to grow."

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