Princess Diana Made Secret Tapes for the Future Brides of Prince William and Prince Harry

“Cherish my grandchildren. They carry my heart.”

Princess Diana
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before her tragic, untimely death in a Paris car crash at 36 years old, Princess Diana had a premonition she would die young and may never be able to meet the future wives of her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, according to a friend of the late Princess of Wales.

Though she didn’t know their names at the time, Diana recorded an audio diary for Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, two young girls living across the globe from one another. According to OK!, the friend—who asked to remain anonymous—said Diana got the idea after recording tapes for what would become Andrew Morton’s groundbreaking 1992 Diana: Her True Story. Even after the book was published, Diana continued talking into her little Sony cassette recorder, off-and-on, from 1992 until her death in 1997. On the tapes, Diana offers motherly advice and reveals her hopes for the future of William, Harry, and their respective families.

“As incredible as it seems, Diana knew she was going to die young,” the friend said. “She was very attuned to the spirit world and psychic events. She told me she made the tapes for the day she wouldn’t be around to help guide her boys.”

Diana asked for the tapes to be played at key points in her sons’ futures.

“That way, she could continue to be a part of their lives, even after she was gone,” the friend said. “She thought it was quite clever—and loved the idea of being what she called ‘a nagging mum from beyond the grave.’ She found it quite amusing.”

The friend said they learned of the tapes upon arriving for tea at Diana’s home at Kensington Palace. She had just finished making a tape a few minutes before the friend arrived and played the tape for the friend and mentioned all the other recordings she had made.

“This particular one was for William’s future wife,” the friend said. “He was about 13 or 14 at the time, just discovering girls. Diana was fascinated by the idea that he’d marry and one day have children of his own. She was certain he’d be a wonderful husband and warm and caring father—more like her than his own dad [Prince Charles], who was rather cold and aloof.”

Diana wanted William and his future wife to avoid divorce, the friend said. This particular tape lasted about two or three minutes, and “what struck me was her honesty,” the friend said. “She was so sincere. You could hear it in her voice. She spoke straight from her heart.”

“It was so very moving,” the friend continued. “I remember bits of it quite well even after all this time. I was surprised she actually played it for me. And when it was done, we talked about the kind of girl William would marry. She thought his bride would be beautiful, smart, and independent. And, amazingly, she was right. Kate is all that and more.”

The tape shared memories of William’s childhood and Diana’s dreams of always wanting a daughter. It seemed as though Diana was speaking directly to Kate when she said “Brace yourself for a one-way chat. Obviously, we haven’t met—though I want you to know I certainly wish we had. I know I’d adore you and we’d be fast friends. You have to be someone truly special. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be my William’s wife.”

She gave marriage advice, specifically surrounding marriage as a future queen, saying “For your marriage to survive the public glare and the private pressures of royal life, it will take patience, compromise, understanding, trust, loyalty, and, of course, love,” Diana reportedly said. “But you both must work at it. On a daily basis. I’m sure you’re aware of my failings and those of William’s father. Learn from these mistakes. Build a relationship that endures. You deserve it. And so do your children.”

Diana then shared that her fondest dream for she and William was to have a life filled with love and joy, and to raise happy, healthy children free of divorce, which both William and Diana herself had to endure.

“Family is the most important thing in life,” she said. “Cherish your children for me. They carry my heart. Let them know I love them and will always watch over them.”

She ended the tapes with a kiss and told William she loved him, the friend said. Though the friend wasn’t certain how many tapes Diana made or who was entrusted with making sure the tapes made it to William and Harry, the friend is confident that Kate has heard this tape, which the friend said was Diana’s way of “coping with an uncertain future and unburdening her soul.”

“I suspect she’s been privy to others as well, since she frequently talks in public and in private about her special bond with Diana,” the friend said. “William’s mother remains a constant source of inspiration in their lives—and their children will truly be Diana’s legacy of love.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.