It was a day of mourning felt around the world: Princess Diana‘s Sept. 6, 1997, funeral. And perhaps, no one quite felt the gravity of her loss as much as Princess Di’s baby brother, Earl Charles Spencer. Charles had an important role at his sister’s funeral because he read a eulogy in her honor for all of the royal family and world to hear. Twenty years later, he’s opening up about how he still has nightmares about the “harrowing” experience of her funeral, and what the royal family really thought about what he had to say.
“For taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her private life,” he said at her funeral. “Above all we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.”
While recently speaking to Radio 4’s Today program he admitted that he was trying to “speak for somebody who had no longer got a voice,” adding, “All I was trying to do was, as a brother, speak for my sister who was no longer there.”
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While some may describe his speech as pointed towards what Diana went through in her final days, Charles sees it in a different way. He was only trying to speak truth in his sister’s absence.
“I don’t feel I said many pointed things, I believe that every word I said was true and it was important for me to be honest,” he continued. “I wasn’t looking to make any jabs at anyone actually, I was trying to celebrate Diana — and if by doing that it showed up particularly the press, I think, in a bad way, well, they had that coming. In her final years, in particular, Diana was really brought low by elements of the paparazzi and the tabloids.”
And apparently, he had the blessing of the crown as well. He later revealed that Queen Elizabeth had said that he had a right to say what he felt. It’s a testament to Diana that his beautiful words still ring true all these years later.