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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 is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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