London: Queen Elizabeth II was "desperate" to help daughter-in-law Princess Diana cope with the mounting unhappiness over her married life but did not know how to handle the "emotional young woman", a new book has claimed.
The Queen and Princess Diana reportedly shared a long-troubled relationship and a new book sheds more light on the disconnect between the two royal women.
In 'The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words', author Ingrid Seward details the vast generation gap between Diana, who was just 20 when she wed Prince Charles in 1981, and her formidable mother-in-law who was then 55-years-old.
The two women had a long history together as Diana's father, the 8th Earl Spencer, had worked for the royal family and Diana herself grew up in Park House on the Queen's Sandringham estate.
"Diana was like family," Seward told the 'People' magazine. "She had known her since she was a child. It was like the old aristocracy. As the Queen said, 'She's one of us.'"
But as Diana's unhappiness mounted and her marriage to Charles unravelled, the stoic monarch found herself frustrated and perplexed by her increasingly unhappy daughter-in-law, according to the author.
"The Queen was desperate to help Diana but she just didn't know how," says Seward, who is editor-in-chief of the Majesty magazine. "And Diana couldn't connect with the Queen."
Seward says, "The Queen had never had to confront that type of conundrum. You just didn't go into the Page's vestibule and break down and say, 'Oh, mama' because that's what Diana used to call the Queen - 'Everybody hates me! Your son hates me!' "
"She just broke down in front of the Queen and no one had ever done that before in her life. She just didn't know how to handle this emotional young woman. She was really just a child," the author says.
When the Queen was told that Diana had been killed in a car accident in the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, Seward writes that the monarch responded, "Someone must have greased the brakes."
"It is a very old-fashioned, English saying," says Seward. "It is the sort of thing people said if someone went down the hill and had an accident. Her very first reaction was, 'Oh my God, someone has tampered with the car.' She obviously very quickly knew it wasn't true," Seward says. 'The Queen's Speech' is set to be published August 27.