US TV personality recalls Princess Diana’s heartbreak over Charles divorce

Diana, Princess of Wales, a life in pictures

Twelve months before her untimely death, Princess Diana shared her heartbreak over her divorce from Prince Charles during a chat with US TV personality Katie Couric.

"I covered the royals pretty extensively at the Today show, but I didn't actually get to meet Diana until I was invited to attend a lunch honouring her in Chicago in June of 1996," the journalist recalled in an essay published by InStyle on Friday, a day before the 22nd anniversary of the late royal's death.

"She was on a whirlwind trip to the US I was asked to give some remarks, along with the journalist Anna Quindlen and Marlo Thomas," Couric wrote. "I was nervous to meet Princess Diana and was seated two seats away from her at lunch. We chatted and she told me she liked my pink lipstick. Funny."

The TV anchor wrote that she turned to Diana and asked, "You must be exhausted traveling and meeting so many people and having to shake hands with all these strangers. Are you excited to go home?"

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9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death
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9 secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death

She recorded her thoughts on tape

Much of what we know about Princess Diana’s personal life is thanks to audiotapes she recorded herself. Once she recognized her marriage to Prince Charles was falling apart, she documented her side of the story on a tape recorder and gave the tapes to her close friend, Dr. James Colthurst. He, in turn, gave them to journalist Andrew Morton so her words could get out to the public. From those tapes, Morton published the biography DIANA: Her True Story—In Her Own Words in 1992. No one knew Diana had a hand in the book’s production until after her death. Here are some more surprising facts you probably didn't know about Princess Diana.

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Her sister dated Prince Charles

There are definitely ways to improve your relationship with your sibling, but we’re not sure if sharing a boyfriend is one of them. Before Diana and Charles started going steady, he dated her sister, Sarah. She introduced the two when Diana was just 16 and takes credit for their falling in love, calling herself Cupid.

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Her grandmother worked for the queen

As prominent a public figure as Queen Elizabeth is, there’s still a lot that the public doesn’t know about her. One of those more intriguing bits of trivia is that the Queen Mother was close friends with Princess Diana’s grandmother, Ruth Fermoy. She was one of Her Majesty’s ladies-in-waiting and later held the title Woman of the Bedchamber, which meant that she was the Queen’s right-hand woman and assisted with important social engagements. Here are some more facts (and scandals!) you never knew about Queen Elizabeth II.

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She and her husband were related

The royal family tree can get pretty complicated, but don’t worry, there’s nothing incestuous about this marriage. Princess Di and Prince Charles were distantly related. Specifically, they were 16th cousins once removed, through King Henry VII.

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She had a poor sex life

In her tape recordings, Princess Diana discussed her married life in great detail, even calling her wedding day “the worst day of her life.” Specifically, she talked at length about her lack of a sex life, saying that she and her husband had sex but it was “very odd.” By the time she made the recordings, their sex life had been going downhill for seven years. She went on to say, “There was no requirement for (sex) from his case. Sort of once every three weeks… and I kept thinking it followed a pattern. He used to see his lady (Camilla) once every three weeks before we got married.” Learn more about the real story of what happened between Charles and Diana.

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She messed up her wedding vows

In hindsight, Princess Diana messing up her wedding vows may seem like a sign her marriage was bound to fail, but in reality, she just caught a case of wedding day jitters. During the vows, she called her husband “Philip Charles” instead of “Charles Philip,” mixing up his first and middle names. Here are some more little mistakes that happened on royal wedding days.

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She ate in the kitchen

It was against royal family etiquette to eat in the kitchen with staffers and not in a dining room, but Princess Diana was no stranger to breaking protocol. Her personal chef, Darren McGrady, said she would just walk into the kitchen and eat at a countertop while he tidied up, which was unheard of coming from any royal. She would even make coffee for the two of them. Check out these stunning, rarely seen photos of the People's Princess.

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She attempted suicide

One of the most troubling revelations from Princess Diana’s audiotapes was that she struggled with depression and even attempted to take her own life. She said in her recordings, “I was so depressed, and I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades.” She also talked about having bulimia and that the eating disorder started after Prince Charles put his hand on her waist and said, “A bit chubby here, aren’t we?”

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She was harassed by the paparazzi

With three new documentaries about Princess Diana set to premiere, Prince William and Prince Harry are opening up about their memories of their mother. Some are uplifting, like how she involved them in her charitable work. But their recollections of Diana dealing with the paparazzi are disturbing. As Prince William says in the ITV and HBO documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy: “If you are the Princess of Wales and you’re a mother, I don’t believe being chased by 30 guys on motorbikes who block your path, who spit at you to get a reaction from you and make a woman cry in public to get a photograph, is appropriate. Harry and I, we had to live through that.” Here's how Prince Harry and Prince William are keeping their mother's memory alive twenty years after her death.

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According to Couric, the princess replied, "I would be, but I'm going home to an empty house."

"I will never forget her response," the presenter wrote. "This was as she was finalising her divorce from Prince Charles, and she seemed a bit melancholy and lonely. My heart broke a little for her."

In an attempt to cheer up Diana, Couric suggested the Princess of Wales "invite some friends over and have a slumber party." Her idea was met with a bemused look.

"Perhaps that's why the world fell in love with Diana — she let people see her insecurity and vulnerability. She seemed to wear both on her sleeve," the TV host wrote. "Yes, she was a princess, but somehow, she was like all of us."

Diana and Charles tied the knot at St Paul's Cathedral in London in July 1981 before separating in 1992 and finalising their divorce in August 1996, just one month after Diana chatte to Couric.

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Princess Diana's life in photos
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Princess Diana's life in photos
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 01: An informal study of Prince CHARLES, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana SPENCER, whose wedding will take place at Saint-Paul's Cathedral, London on 29th July 1981. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Princess Diana wearing a tiara and diamond necklace on an official visit to Australia, April 12th 1983. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 29: (FILE PHOTO) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St. Paul's Cathedral following their wedding July 29, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 29: Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles ride in a carriage after their wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral July 29, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) pose together during their honeymoon in Balmoral, Scotland, 19th August 1981. (Photo by Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)
Princess Diana wearing a Jasper Conran suit during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE: Britain's Princess Diana arrived in Paris Friday, 13 November, 1992, on a private three day visit she is making without her husband, Prince Charles. (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG: Britain's Princess Diana stands with tennis players Michael Chang of the US (L) and Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman during the awards ceremony at the Hong Kong Open 23 April. Princess Diana, on a private visit to Hong Kong, watched as Chang defeated Bjorkman 6-3, 6-1 to win the tournament. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales visits Chinatown in Liverpool, April 1982. She is pregnant with Prince William, and wearing a pink wool maternity coat by Bellville Sassoon and a hat by John Boyd. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 06: Princess Diana At Polo, Just Two Weeks Before The Birth Of Her First Child, Prince William. Wearing A Maternity Dress Designed By Fashion Designer Catherine Walker She Is Walking With Sarah Ferguson. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 22: New born Prince William with Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles leave St. Mary's hospital on June 22, 1982 in Paddington, London, England,. He was born in the Lindo Wing of the hospital on June 21. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Princess Diana Holding Her Baby Son, Prince William, At Kensington Palace. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 18: Princess Diana And Prince William In New Zealand. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(FILES) This picture taken 17 June 1997 shows Diana, Princess of Wales, a key volunteer of the British Red Cross Landmine Campaign at Red Cross headquarters in Washington DC. Princess Diana may have survived her fatal Paris car crash in 1997 if French medical staff had not wasted precious time, a leading British surgeon indicated at her inquest 19 November 2007. AFP PHOTO/FILES/Jamal (Photo credit should read JAMAL A. WILSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Barmouth in Wales, November 1982. She wears a suede beret by John Boyd and a coatdress by Arabella Pollen. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales visits University College Hospital in London, December 1982. She wears a John Boyd hat and a velvet suit by Caroline Charles. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Princess Diana And Prince Charles With Prince William And His Koala Bear Toy At Kensington Palace (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) at the School of the Air, in Alice Springs, Australia, 30th March 1983. She is wearing a dress by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
AYERS ROCK, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Prince Charles, The Prince Of Wales And Diana, Princess Of Wales Standing In Front Of Ayers Rock During Their Official Tour Of Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 18: Princess Diana During A Visit To New Zealand Wearing A Dress Designed By Fashion Designer Donald Campbell (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
MANUKAU - APRIL 19: Diana Princess of Wales meets firemen during a visit to Manukau, near Auckland, New Zealand during the Royal Tour of New Zealand on April 19, 1983. Princess Diana wore a suit designed by Jan Van Velden, with a hat by John Boyd. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
CANADA - JUNE 23: Princess Diana in Edmonton during an official visit of Canada (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) leaving St Mary's Hospital, London with her new-born son Prince Harry, September 1984. She is wearing a red coat by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - MAY 5: (FILE PHOTO) (L-R) Diana the Princess of Wales holds her son Harry, whilst looking at Prince William held by his father Prince Charles on May 5, 1985 in Venice, Italy. Prince William will celebrate his 21st birthday on June 21, 2003. (Photo by Georges de Keerle/Getty Images) 
LA SPEZIA, ITALY - APRIL 20: The Prince and Princess of Wales in La Spezia during a tour of Italy. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
TWERTON ON AVON - MAY 31: Diana Princess of Wales meets girl guides outside the Poolemead centre for the Deaf on May 31, 1985 in Twerton on Avon, Bath, Avon. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
CANADA - JULY 01: Diana Princess of Wales celebrates her birthday in Canada (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) inspects a guard of honour during a two-day visit to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Hampshire Regiment in Berlin, October 1985. She is wearing a pink and black suit by Victor Edelstein and a hat by Frederick Fox. (Photo by Lucy Levenson/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 04: Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, at the piano in Kensington Palace (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Prince Charles With Princess Diana On A Ski-ing Holiday Together. The Princess Is Wearing A Red 'head' Ski Suit And A Headband And She Is Holding A Pair Of 'dynamic' Skis. The Prince Is Wearing A Blue Ski Suit And Carrying A Pair Of 'k2' Skis. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
VIENNA - APRIL 16: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a sapphire diamond and pearl necklace, attends a banquet on April 16, 1986 in Vienna, Austria (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Carries Prince Henry (harry) On Her Shoulders At Highgrove. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 22: PRINCESS DIANA ON BOARD HMS TRAFALGAR NUCLEAR SUBMARINE MEETING THE CREW DURING A VISIT TO THE NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE IN FASLANE IN THE FIRTH OF CLYDE, SCOTLAND (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
SANDHURST - APRIL 10: Diana, Princess of Wales wears a Catherine Walker white suit with drum majorette gold frogging and epaulettes and a graham smith hat for her visit to the Sandhurst Military Academy on April 10, 1987 in Sandhurst, England (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Princess Diana and Prince Charles of Wales attending a Lionel Richie concert at Wembley Arena, London, November 7th 1987. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
The Prince And Princess Of Wales At A Prizegiving, At Polo, Smiths Lawn, Windsor. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales, And Prince William, At A Polo Match, Smiths Lawn, Windsor. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 14: Princess Diana With Her Sons Prince William And Prince Harry At Aberdeen Airport. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
MAJORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 10: Diana, Princess of Wales with Prince Harry on holiday in Majorca, Spain on August 10, 1987. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) driving an armoured vehicle with the Royal Hampshire Regiment at Tidworth, Hampshire, 23rd June 1988. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
CHAMBORD, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 09: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a white and blue lace and sequin evening coat-dress designed by Catherine Walker for a dinner at the Chateau de Chambord during her official visit to France. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales at the museum in Kuwait City, March 1989. She is wearing a gold embroidered bedouin gown that was presented to her with a silver tea set to mark the occasion of her visit. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales with her sons William and Harry on the chair lift during a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria, April 1991. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 7 Diana, Princess of Wales attends the Premiere of Dangerous Liaisons, in London's West End, on March 7, 1989 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 15: The Prince And Princess Of Wales attend a desert picnic on March 15, 1989 in Adu Dhab, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
BATH - MAY 30: (FILE PHOTO) Prince William, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Charles, Prince of Wales, attend the wedding of the Duke of Hussey's daughter in May, 1989 in Bath, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 11: Princess Diana With Her Sons Prince William And Prince Harry Standing On The Steps Of Wetherby School On The First Day For Prince Harry. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
INDONESIA - NOVEMBER 05: The Princess Of Wales Playing Bowls At Sitanalia Leprosy Hospital In Indonesia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NIGERIA - JUNE 3: (FILE PHOTO) (PRINCESS DIANA RETROSPECTIVE 17 OF 22) The Princess of Wales speaks with Nigerians circa 1990 during a visit to Nigeria. Princess Diana, 36-years-old, died with her companion Dodi Fayed, 41-years-old, in a car crash August 31, 1997 in Paris, France. Fayed was the son of an Egyptian billionaire. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother in an open-topped landau on their way to the Royal Ascot race meeting, June 1990. The Princess wears a Catherine Walker suit and a Philip Somerville hat. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales walks amongst crowds of children waving flags during her visit to Cullompton in Devon, September 1990. She is wearing a Catherine Walker dress. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 05: Princess Diana With Mrs Barbara Bush At The White House (Photo by TIM GRAHAM/Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales Takes Her Sons, Prince'S William, And Harry Out On The Boat ' Maid Of The Mist ' To View Niagara Falls. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 18: Diana Princess of Wales attends the Premiere of Hot Shots, in London's West End, on November 18, 1991 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) talks to children at the British school in Seoul during a visit to Korea, 1992. (Photo by Linda Grove/Getty Images)
INDIA - FEBRUARY 11: Diana Princess of Wales sits in front of the Taj Mahal during a visit to India (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
CALCUTTA;INDIA - FEBRUARY: Princess Diana the Princess of Wales holds hands with a nun at Mother Teresa's Hospice in Calcutta during her visit to India in February of 1992. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
GIZA, EGYPT - MAY 12: Diana Princess of Wales visiting the Pyramids in Giza during an official tour of Egypt. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
EGYPT - MAY 13: Diana, Princess of Wales in teh Alazhar Mosque, Cairo, Egypt (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Diana, Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Prince Harry, attend the Trooping The Colour Ceremony on June 13, 1992 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) on a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria, March 1993. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) meets local people during a field visit to Red Cross projects in the remote mountain villages of Nepal, 3rd March 1993. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Diana Princess Of Wales, Prince William & Prince Harry Visit The 'Thorpe Park' Amusement Park. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) during a visit to the Red Cross borehole project for refugees in Zimbabwe, July 1993. She is wearing a safari suit by Catherine Walker. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles at a parade in the Mall, London, during V.J. Day commemorations, August 1994. Diana is wearing a Tomasz Starzewski suit and a hat by Philip Somerville. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 20: Princess Diana Reviewing The Troops Of The Princess Of Wales Regiment In Kent. The Princess Is Wearing A Pink Suit Designed By Versace. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess Of Wales Attends The Serpentine Gallery Summer Party. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON -OCTOBER 08: Diana, Princess of Wales laughs as she visits the London Lighthouse, the HIV/Aids charity, to help launch it's £1.5 million Capital Appeal on October 08, 1996 in London, England . (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess of Wales at Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art for a benefit ball. (Photo By: Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
ANGOLA - JANUARY 15: Diana, Princess of Wales wearing protective body armour, visits a minefield being cleared by the chirty Halo in Huambo, Angola (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09: Official Portrait Of The Royal Family On The Day Of Prince William's Confirmation. Front Left To Right - Prince William, Princess Diana, Prince William, Prince Charles And The Queen. Back Left To Right - King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, Duchess Of Westminster And Lord Romsey (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
GREAT BRITAIN - JUNE 06: Diana, Princess of Wales crouching down to embrace a pupil at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales Visits Washington, Usa.Gala Dinner Held By The American Red Cross, To Raise Funds For Landmine Victims Around The World. . (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
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