Diana llived in a flat in the same London mansion as journalist Danae Brook and agreed to talk to her – the first interview with the future princess that anyone would read.
& # 39; mesmerized by her blue periwinkle, I could hardly believe what I heard when we were talking in her corridor.
Diana is pictured outside her flat at Coleherne Court, Kensington, London, in 1980 – a year before her marriage to Charles
She said that, unlike her sister Sarah, a former Charles girlfriend, she was & # 39; suitable & # 39; was considered for the future king.
& # 39; The main reason, she thought, was that she didn't have what she & # 39; mentioned a background & # 39; – or, frankly, she hadn't had multiple boyfriends. & # 39;
Here, for the first time, the full story behind the edited version of her piece that appeared in the Daily Mail about her encounter with the young, innocent aristocrat all those years ago …
When I first met her, Diana Spencer ran up the stairs in the building where we both lived, Coleherne Court. It was 1980 and she was 19.
She was long-legged, athletic, as if she had just left the korfball court, a beautiful young woman, but nothing surprising except her eyes.
What I remember the most were the eyes. Periwinkle blue. Almost as purple as Elizabeth Taylor & # 39; s in National Velvet. Mesmerizing.
If she noticed you, you caught her, it was like sitting in the headlights of a car.
But when she worked at a daycare center in Pimlico, she had no idea of the power of that look.
When I interviewed her later, this was evident from her constant apologies.
It turned out that I would be the first printed journalist to interview Diana, long before the famous TV interview with Martin Bashir rolled her eyes with coal rafters and said: & # 39; There are three of us in this marriage. & # 39 ;
She and I became neighbors at least a year before the wedding, weeks before the assignment was announced.
Diana saw her apartment in 1981. Diana lived in a flat in the same London mansion as journalist Danae Brook and agreed to talk to her – the first interview with the future princess that someone would read
She had just started dating the Prince of Wales, barely out of stockings, when she came to live in Coleherne Court, a Victorian mansion of the Earl & # 39; s Court.
Few people knew he was interested in her. Diana mania was a distant bubble on a distant horizon.
She was an ordinary girl of the higher class who first came to London from her estate. When she moved in, her relationship with Charles was so quiet that I had no idea there was one.
He had the reputation of a young blade over the city. She had no reputation at all because she quickly pointed it out when she decided to talk to me.
But the whisper began and Fleet Street journal writers, such as Nigel Dempster, began to incorporate the new girl into the life of Prince Charles.
Our house was one floor above hers. I raised three children there and Diana Spencer shared her with three friends.
We started to get clues about what was going on – The Three Degrees (one of Charles' favorite bands) was played at full speed, flowers were left outside their door.
Diana, outside her flat in 1981. The future princess said she & # 39; no background & # 39; when she spoke with neighbor Danae Brook in her first interview
Diana was painfully shy and self-deprecated, without self-confidence. After work, she slipped into the elevator with an orange and a Crunchie bar with the Evening Standard under her arm.
She wore little makeup and seemed to want to be invisible. & # 39; She likes Crunchies, & # 39; said my youngest. & # 39; She has each given us one! & # 39;
It turned out that my two youngest, sweet, naughty boys of eight and nine, Orion and Liam, were kind enough with her to buy her a candy in the store every now and then. She introduced herself to them as & # 39; Diana & # 39 ;, not even & # 39; Lady Diana & # 39 ;.
When a beautiful photo of Diana, looking about 15 with the sun streaming through her skirt, appeared on the front pages and announced her presence in the life of Prince Charles, my sons saw it on the breakfast table.
& # 39; We know her & # 39 ;, they squeaked. & # 39; She lives here. She loves oranges, we see her in Mr. Barnsley's store. & # 39;
I was surprised. Diana was the new bustle of the Prince-About-Town. I could not believe that the shy kindergarten teacher was the future wife of a future king. A week later I no longer needed persuasion.
Not only Diana, but the entire building was besieged. People called loudly day and night, hoping to be able to talk to Prince Charles & # 39; s new girlfriend.
I watched as she became increasingly stressed. Every morning when she tried to jump into her red Mini, photographers raced her to the first traffic lights, hoping she would be stopped long enough to take a photo or, worse, cause a minor accident, would give a more dramatic shot.
We sometimes went up the elevator together or walked the road with the kids and she told me about her work and asked where my kids would go to school.
Nothing intimate, only neighbors who get to know each other. Then things became more immediate and dramatic as the roar of motorcyclists chased her.
Diana is depicted at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. Several times, while passing, she had expressed her annoyance of being quoted if she hadn't quoted. & # 39; I have to say what I feel, & # 39; she said. & # 39; Not what anyone else thinks I feel & # 39;
Everything was skewed by a feeling of the pressure she was experiencing. So when Charles became more and more upset by Charles because she didn't help her with the press, I wasn't surprised when she decided she had to make a statement.
She knew that I wrote for a newspaper and wrote books. I left her a note explaining this when, at the insistence of a trusted colleague, I asked her to tell the story in her own words.
Several times, while passing, she had expressed her annoyance of being quoted if she hadn't quoted. & # 39; I have to say what I feel, & # 39; she said. & # 39; Not what anyone else thinks I feel. & # 39;
I offered to purify the air, to give her a voice. We agreed to meet each other and she invited me to her apartment. It was teatime, November gray and raining outside.
When I pressed the doorbell, she opened the door to the flat with its elegant floor-length curtains and mahogany furniture.
We stood in the hall, where Barbour mackintoshes and rubber boots were crushed next to an umbrella stand.
It was like being in a seasoned country house. She was dressed in blue jeans and had a twin set of pearls, which she constantly fingered.
When I walked into the flat, Diana & # 39; s shoulders were bent as if standing upright would attract too much attention. Her skin was transparent and she blushed constantly, especially when she was talking about Charles.
& # 39; It is absolutely crazy to see things that have been written about me, and him, if I have not said anything. & # 39; She waited a moment. & # 39; But I don't know what the future holds. & # 39;
I asked if someone advised her on how to deal with the situation. & # 39; No! & # 39; she said, startled. & # 39; I don't think the royal family is aware of what is happening here. At least we didn't talk about it when we were in Norfolk. & # 39;
Apparently she had sneaked away last night & night to stay in Sandringham, and escaped reporters. I wondered aloud if she had rolled up the sheets to climb out the window. She laughed.
& # 39; No, I have a very fast driver and we shot in a cloud of smoke. I had my new car delivered somewhere else, where I spent the night and then went to Norfolk. & # 39; It was the 32nd birthday party of Prince Charles.
& # 39; Unfortunately, & # 39; she added, & someone found out I had a new car and although I had parked those miles away, they found it. & # 39;
So the siege went on. & # 39; I have no idea why the whole thing is built up to such a & # 39; n high point, & # 39; she said, shrugging. & # 39; I think it's because everything happens in November for the royal family. Princess Anne married and had a baby in November. It is the jubilee of the queen and prince Philip. And of course it's Charles' birthday and everyone dies for him to get married, and I was the one who was around this time. & # 39;
Maybe a little insincere. Not every beautiful young woman is asked to stay in Sandringham for these highly personal events.
Every morning when she tried to jump into her red Mini, photographers raced her to the first traffic lights, hoping she would be stopped long enough to take a photo or, worse, cause a minor accident, would give a more dramatic shot
Then she changed the subject, apologizing for what a nuisance all the attention should be for other people in our building.
& # 39; It must be bloody for everyone who lives here, & # 39; she said. & # 39; I feel so terrible about it. & # 39; I assured her we would include it in our collective pass.
I knew she wanted me to write what she said, although she was afraid to say much. She thought she & # 39; suitable & # 39; was for a future king just because she wasn't lying around & # 39 ;.
It was clear that she found herself the second best for her older sister, who had been Prince Charles & # 39; s girlfriend for almost a year, but had been removed from the list of candidates.
Not because of a lack of blue blood – the Spencer blood was probably bluer than that of the Windsors – but for allegedly told journalists she had & # 39; thousands of friends & # 39 ;.
Diana strongly suggested she was a virgin, and she clearly felt that that was the only reason that & # 39; The Family & # 39; had approved her as a future bride, although I did not write that in my interview. & # 39; I don't really know why they like me & # 39 ;, I wrote.
& # 39; You see my sister Sarah go out with Charles last year and she talked about it with the press but she talked too much and they killed her.
& # 39; I am OK because I have no background. & # 39; I looked surprised. No background? Daughter of the 8th Count Spencer, far related to the royal family, directly related to the church communities?
No, it turned out that she meant a background of jumping in and out of bed with people.
& # 39; That is what the rest seems to have. I mean, I didn't have a chance to have such a background, I'm still only 19! & # 39; She looked shocked and embarrassed.
& # 39; But people long to dig something up about me. & # 39; She looked at me sideways. & # 39; It's just the story that I told him & # 39; met at night on the Royal Train. & # 39;
She referred to reports, denied by the palace, that she had an appointment with the prince when the train was on the doorstep in Wiltshire. & # 39; I just couldn't believe it, & # 39; she exploded.
& # 39; I've never been near the train, let alone in the middle of the night! & # 39; I was later told by a reliable source that the woman on board was Camilla.
I was very sympathetic, but when I turned to leave, it was not possible to make a cup of tea. She apologized again for the disruption she had caused others in our building.
& # 39; I'm very sorry to interrupt the lives of the people who live here & # 39 ;, she said.
She told me she could finally get a bodyguard, a black-clad woman who shaded her like a, well, shadow, a very dark, but effective.
I could see the top of the woman's head as I slid down behind Diana, and neither of us waited for the old Victorian elevator.
None of the other members of the press has seen her, that is for sure. Diana, soon to be HKH Princess of Wales, was learning her lesson.
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