Princess Diana “Never Wanted to Divorce Prince Charles,” Friend Says

They divorced 26 years ago today.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Charles and Princess Diana had been separated for three years when the Princess of Wales took part in that infamous BBC Panorama interview in 1995 with Martin Bashir. It was the final straw for the Queen, who summarily demanded that the couple get a divorce—one that was finalized 26 years ago today, on August 28, 1996.

But, according to Diana’s spiritual healer and friend Simone Simmons, Diana never wanted to get a divorce from Charles, and already regretted the Panorama interview just the day after it aired. Simmons says, according to The Mirror, that Diana was “blubbering” to her on the phone, saying she loved Charles all along and didn’t want to stop being his wife.

“The day afterwards? Yes,” Simmons says. “Then, when the Queen wrote to her and demanded they get a divorce, she was blubbering on the phone, and I went over to calm her down. She said, ‘Simone, I never wanted to divorce Charles. I always loved him.’”

Simmons met Diana in 1993 and apparently spent hours with the princess on the phone, counseling her following her separation from Charles.

“Yes, I’m a very odd person for some people to think of as Diana’s best friend,” she says, per The Telegraph. “But at least I’m honest, I’m sincere, and I would never put her wrong. I was very privileged to have such an amazing best friend.”

When Diana asked Simmons the day after the Panorama interview what she thought of it, Simmons was forthright and said “Oh God, you made a real prat out of yourself. But not only that—what about the children?” Simmons said Diana replied, “I didn’t think,” before she started crying and asked her friend to come over.

Simmons describes her friend as naïve and not emotionally developed, but someone with a huge heart who wanted to heal and unite the world. Her cheeky sense of humor also stands out, Simmons says.

Though she had no desire to divorce Charles, after meeting heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan in 1995, Diana was “smitten” with him, Simmons says. After Khan told Diana that his family didn’t want him to marry a woman who didn’t share his Muslim faith, Simmons says that Diana was devastated when their relationship ended in 1997, and claims she only dated Dodi Fayed to make Khan jealous. Fayed was alongside Diana when both died in a Parisian car accident that August 31.

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.