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Idriel 09-29-2005 11:18 AM

1982: Diana's fall
 
Some time ago, there was a discussion going on about Diana's fall in 1982, while she was pregnant with Prince William.
There are different versions of this event going on.
I would like to bring my contribution by sharing this excerpt from the book Diana L'Enquète (Canal + Edition).
The translation is my own, please forgive spelling and grammar errors.

[Chapter five, Le Britannia, page 105-107] At the beginning of 1982, the Sun, based on a footman's detailed report, claimed that Diana fell down the stairs. A doctor has been called in and had announced that neither the child nor the mother were in danger.
Few years later, this episode would bear a huge importance in Diana's recollection of her marriage breakdown. In his 1992 biography [Diana, her true story], Andrew Morton would write that Diana was at the edge of nervous breakdown, exhausted by Charles' cruel indifference. She had a terribly violent row with Charles. She confided to Morton that, in her despair, she attempted suicide. [During the row] Prince Charles had coldly accused her of blackmailing him, made fun of her nevrotic tendencies and refused to listen to her. He informed her he would go for a ride. Diana, three months pregnant, threw herself down the big stairs and fell at the feet of the Queen, who was livid with fear. When Charles learnt what happened, he went out as intended and shown only indifference at his return. For her friend, Elsa Bowke, Diana added further details: she had stormed into Charles' office, found love letters exchanged between him and Camilla, and that was the reason she thrown herself down the stairs. She thought it was not worthy anymore to live and have a kid.
In 1994, [Charles' friend] Jonathan Dimbleby relayed the story [in The Prince of Wales], quoting Morton and thus adding more credit to the story. He attempted to explain that Charles was upset because Diana refused to make peace. But here, there is distortion. Writer Lady Colin Campbell declared that during an interview granted in 1995, Diana affirmed that none of that ever happened and accused Morton of distorting her testimony. He did totally fabricated this 'SOS' said she. For all answer, Morton published the transcription of records Diana made for him. Here are her says:

I threw myself down the stairs. Charles accused me of bluffing, I was really desperate, I was crying so much and he said: 'I don't want to listen to you. It's always the same thing! I am going for a walk!' So I threw myself down the stairs. The Queen arrived, absolutely horrified, all shivering. She was really scared. I knew I would not lose the baby, but my stomach was covered with bruises. Charles did went for a ride, and when he came back, he remained cold, totally indifferent.

The reality of the row is not to be doubted. This detail is part of the original story reported by the Sun; the paper decided to publish it. The Sun informer, a footman, had been a witness and saw Diana stumble and fall down three steps before grabbing the bar. He also added that Charles stayed with Diana until the doctor arrived and reassured both of them.
The Sun photographer Arthur Edwards, who knew the witness very well, says philosophically:

It is the kind of scene you would expect. There are rows in all couples. of course, there were some in the Royal family, but they were not supposed to have rows, especially in public and even less in front of the staff. You know, Diana was very unbalanced, when she felt she could, she would explode. But in fact, she did not fell down the whole stairs, but only three steps. Of course, Prince Charles was very worried, he did call a doctor because she was pregnant, to know if the baby was OK. Later, this story was interpreted as a suicide attempt. This is nonsence. She fell on three steps.

Joseph Sanders, a close friend of Diana's during the 90's affirms she told him she simply slip and that there had never been a suicide blackmailing.
[The book was published in the UK under the title: Diana, Story of a Princess. All comments between brackets are my own]

iowabelle 09-29-2005 07:04 PM

I always wondered about this story because it sounded so strange. Since Diana's love for children was well known and she was really born to be a mother, it seemed so out of character that she would have tried to kill herself while carrying a baby.

I always felt so sorry for William when this story is told. What would it be like to know that your mother was so unhappy while carrying you that she tried to kill the both of you? (Was Diana so lacking in empathy toward her child that she couldn't think of the questions this would raise for him?)

Just another riddle in the enigma that was Diana.

Duchess 09-29-2005 07:05 PM

i've often thought about that too iowabelle. great questions.

Australian 09-30-2005 08:39 AM

If this is actually what happened, it is very disturbing that Charles went out for his walk, he must have been concerned at least, after all it is his child she was carrying. The whole marriage just seems like a nightmare. Things must have been really bad if Diana allegedly wanted to commit suicide, but there are two sides to every story, maybe Diana was very difficult to live with and Charles needed time for his own to breathe. I guess we will never know.

I too feel sorry for William and harry when they are subjected to these sorts of stories about their parents, it must be very hard to say the least.

una 09-30-2005 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle
Since Diana's love for children was well known and she was really born to be a mother, it seemed so out of character that she would have tried to kill herself while carrying a baby.

I'm not sure she was trying to kill herself. In Morton's tape above she says "I knew I would not lose the baby". She told Simone Simmons she did it to get attention from Charles.

Her boys might not like that, but I think they would find the emotional drama familiar. It would probably be less shocking to them than to us.

I always wondered what was in her mind when she pushed her 58-year-old mother-in-law down the stairs. Did she realize she might have killed her? Or did she think it would be magically alright?

iowabelle 09-30-2005 08:08 PM

I wasn't convinced either that she had tried to kill herself by falling down the stairs. [My guess was it was an accident, and then she used it to get attention and sympathy. And it served her purpose to tell Andrew Morton that it had been a suicide attempt.] But still not a good thing to have told Morton.

I was kind of shocked that she had pushed Raine down the stairs and seemed proud of it. Her treatment of Raine doesn't match up with her usual behavior or compassion (yes, I know she didn't like the "step monster" until almost the end of her life).

ysbel 09-30-2005 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowabelle
I always felt so sorry for William when this story is told.

I did too iowabelle but for different reasons. I was thinking that if anything turned out wrong with him, people would always blame the fall. Luckily that didn't happen but Diana couldn't have known that when he was only 10 or so when Morton's book was published. If the fall was an accident or she really was trying to kill herself, well you can't blame a person for that.

But to tell the story several years later and agree to have it published? One would have expected her to have more objectivity about the incident after so many years and realize the implications of letting it be published.

Princejohnny25 09-30-2005 08:24 PM

I dont think it is true. Charles may have been mad at Diana but Charles would never let his future child and heir in danger. I too feel sorry for the Wales boys.

Harry's polo shirt 10-01-2005 12:40 AM

I don't think it was a suicide attemp. I don't understand why she would put her child in danger, on purpose, because she was mad at her husband. I think she did exagerate her side of the story, I think that she just tripped.

tiaraprin 10-01-2005 03:21 PM

I agree that Diana tripped. I do believe though she was quite upset and perhaps had suicical thoughts in her mind at the precise moment. Being all caught up in the emotion, she didn't mind her footing, tripped and fell.

BeccaLynn07 10-01-2005 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Australian
If this is actually what happened, it is very disturbing that Charles went out for his walk, he must have been concerned at least, after all it is his child she was carrying. The whole marriage just seems like a nightmare. Things must have been really bad if Diana allegedly wanted to commit suicide, but there are two sides to every story, maybe Diana was very difficult to live with and Charles needed time for his own to breathe. I guess we will never know.

I completely agree. We'll never know for sure what happened. (JMO)

Jackswife 10-01-2005 03:40 PM

Diana's moodiness and emotional instability were probably present long before her marriage, and the fact that she was so young and immature, married to the heir and thrust into a high-pressure environment, combined to produce some very bad results. I don't think she would have ever intentionally hurt either son but at the time of this incident I think she was basically trying to get attention from Charles, and thus this stumble became a "suicide attempt". I don't think the Palace staffers and advisors really knew how to deal with Diana's problems but it doesn't seem likely they would have been idle had she really meant to kill herself or the baby. Diana had positive qualities but also a lot of neediness and manipulation, and how she described this to Andrew Morton was symbolic of that manipulative quality.

lashinka2002 10-11-2005 11:18 AM

I don't see how throwing yourself down 3 stairs can be considered a serious attempt at suicide. It seems someone is overexagerating.

Harry's polo shirt 10-11-2005 12:43 PM

Someone said that the doctor who saw her, after her fall, said that she was bruised (in or on her womb)...was that a rumor? I don't remember were I heard or read that from...I don't see how falling down three stairs-being only a few months pregnant-could bruise you like that.

maryshawn 10-19-2005 09:09 PM

Yes, I've read in several books, she had bruising around her abdomen, which really doesn't add up after a fall down three stairs. Diana is/was an enigma and a lot of what she said/did really was manipulative; she was the ultimate "spin-meister." Toward the end of her life, she seemed to be coming to terms with things and didn't feel the need to do so anymore but I simply can't reconcile her love for her boys and caring about others with stories like this one and her pushing Raine down the stairs. Strikes me as incredibly immature and the hallmarks of someone who was definitely psychologically ill. In the end, the boys suffer the most....and that is the greatest tragedy of all.

Tzu An 10-19-2005 10:26 PM

< ed Warren >
Remember Diana pretended to like all the things Charles did just so she woiuld snag him in matrimony. She also wanted him to sacrifice all his interests and friends just so he would have time to devote to her and her only. < ed Warren >. Diana wanted constant excitement and thrills, which was a manifestation of her disordered mind. Her mind was unstable so as a result she created an unstable atmosphere that she thrived on. I believe she liked Dodi since he could spend all his time with her as much as she wanted. If her significant others had jobs that took up a lot of their time, then she was unhappy. Many successful men don't want someone who wants to spend every minute with them since they usually have duties that they enjoy that end up taking a lot of their time.

maryshawn 10-21-2005 09:39 PM

I think you summed it up very, very well! Diana did thrive on dramas and while she was attracted to rich, powerful men it is rare to find such men who have the time and energy to drop everything and devote themselves exclusively to any one individual.Dodi was good for her in that regard but their devotion to Diana was all they really had in common. It wouldn't have lasted.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tzu An
Remember Diana pretended to like all the things Charles did...


msleiman 05-23-2006 11:25 AM

It just does not add up. How could falling down 3 steps hurt somone that bad. Maybe your foot or leg. It is just the by the grace of God that the boys turned out so well.

Duchess 05-24-2006 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tzu An
Remember Diana pretended to like all the things Charles did...

i always wondered about this "suicide attempt" as well. i highly doubt that throwing ones self down the stairs would be an option anyone would pick if they wanted to end their lives. you're more likely to do physical damage than kill yourself.

i wonder, if she were still alive, would she ever have gone to get therapy for her emotional problems?

Lady Jean 05-25-2006 09:01 AM

She did go to therapy for awhile. I believe she gave up on it because she said no one could understand her situation. And of course we know in her last years she tried all sorts of things: acupuncture, psychic,etc.


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