Princess Diana Allegedly Pushed Her Stepmother Down the Stairs, According to New Documentary
A documentary that will air in the U.S. next week — “Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother” — centers around the tumultuous relationship between Princess Diana and her stepmother, Countess Raine Spencer.
According to the New York Post, the documentary explores how the two women went from a complicated, strained relationship to one of seemingly authentic reconciliation before Diana’s death in 1997.
Diana’s parents, Earl John Spencer and Frances Shand Kydd, divorced in 1969, with Spencer receiving custody of Diana and her siblings.
The divorce had been highly publicized, bitter and fraught with conflict, which is perhaps part of the reason why Spencer quietly got remarried — to Countess Raine — without even telling his children.
Raine was not well-received by the Spencer children when she moved into the home they had lived in with their father. The relationship seemed spoiled from the beginning, and only worsened as Princess Diana grew older.
“They were used to having their father to themselves, and when Raine came along it was a disaster,” royal biographer Penny Junor said in the documentary. “And Raine was not sensitive about the way she handled matters, [such as] changing Althorp because she had no sentimental attachment to it.”
Things didn’t get better between the two women as Diana’s marriage with Prince Charles started falling apart.
“It was pretty full-on war,” Junor said.
This is the little known story of Diana’s turbulent relationship with her extraordinary stepmother, Raine Spencer.
Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother. Tuesday 8:40PM on SBS. pic.twitter.com/gNJKUzRtDU
— SBS Australia (@SBS) December 19, 2017
According to the Post, a verbal and physical altercation between the two women occurred during the wedding festivities for Diana’s younger brother, Charles Spencer, in September 1989.
The argument became heated and then, according to Raine’s former personal assistant Sue Howe, Diana allegedly pushed the countess so hard that she fell down the stairs.
“[Raine] was badly bruised and was dreadfully upset,” Howe said in the documentary, which will air Monday on the Smithsonian Channel. “It was a cruel and heartless thing to do.”
It’s time to separate the true story from the fairytale.
Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother premieres Monday, 10/28 at 8PM ? https://t.co/sGjic5ks1C pic.twitter.com/0gco1jl1Lp
— Smithsonian Channel (@SmithsonianChan) October 20, 2019
After years of conflict and adversity that marked the women as enemies, Diana and Raine surprisingly reconciled after the death of Diana’s father in 1992. By this time, her marriage to Prince Charles had dissolved, and Diana lived separately in Kensington Palace.
Voices are divided on whether or not the reconciliation was genuine or more of a publicity stunt.
According to the Post, the women shared a warm embrace during lunch together, where Diana thanked the Countess for the years of joy she had brought to Diana’s father.
Countdown time! Just 1 week until the premiere of Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother. Tune in next Monday at 8PM ? https://t.co/Xdh7ItwA8w #HistoryMonday pic.twitter.com/ExtG6KYBle
— Smithsonian Channel (@SmithsonianChan) October 21, 2019
“Diana said to Raine, ‘I have to thank you. I know you loved my father deeply, and I have to be grateful for all the years of happiness you gave him,’” Peter Constandinos, Raine’s hairdresser and friend, said in the documentary.
The women remained friends until Diana’s death in 1997. Raine passed away in 2016 after a battle with cancer.
“They were strong to the core — survivors,” Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, told the Post. “They suffered adversity and tragedy which brought them together in the end.”
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