The fifth instalment of the epic family saga of the world’s most famous dynasty, airs on Wednesday 22 March at 9.00pm and features correspondence from the Queen’s personal family archive held at Windsor, and reveals how a naïve 19-year-old was transformed into a global celebrity. Diana’s huge personal popularity and tragic death posed the greatest challenge to the Windsors since the abdication of Edward VIII.
Like Edward VIII, Diana was a stellar personality who found attention overwhelming but craved the limelight. She also developed her own vision of monarchy, talking openly about her life and problems; behaviour that was taboo under the Windsors’ code of zipped tight discretion. On paper Diana was perfect; in reality she turns out to be deeply troubled. As her marriage flounders she turns her vulnerability to her advantage by reaching out to other damaged people and wins huge affection as result. Diana’s assault on the House of Windsor culminates in the notorious 1995 Panorama interview in which she insidiously offers herself as an alternative ‘Queen of Hearts’ and questions Prince Charles’ fitness to be King.
Finally, the Queen acts – and ruthlessly. She tells the couple to divorce and cuts Diana loose from the royal family. Deprived of her royal status, Diana is an unguided missile the Palace is powerless to control. For a few days after the car crash in the tunnel, the throne wobbles, but a small gesture from the Queen, a short speech praising Diana, calms public anger and restores the rocking throne. The Windsors make a few cosmetic changes to the way the monarchy’s run and it’s back to business as usual. But behind palace doors Diana had shaken the House of Windsor to its foundations and left an enduring legacy in the form of her two sons.
Producer and Director: Ian A. Hunt
Executive Producers: Denys Blakeway, Nick Bullen
Series Producer: Leonie Jameson
Production Company: Spun Gold Television
The Royal House Of Windsor Episode 5 (of 6) airs on Wednesday 22 March 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4