In keeping with our Australian Theme this week here is a true story of a woman that met Diana in Adelaide Australia in 1988.
I knew that Princess Diana would be going to the Adelaide Festival Theatre during the tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1988.
Even though I had met Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip, it was unintentional though still exciting. With Princess Diana I was determined to see this Princess for myself, I wanted to see if all the words written about her were true.
I arrived early at the Festival Theatre, we were lucky in that it was a very sunny and pleasant day, so waiting wasn’t too taxing. As I waited I began chatting to a young woman near to me, she had an accent so I asked if she were American? She very quickly snapped back that no! She was Canadian, I never made THAT mistake again(lol).
After waiting for over an hour suddenly we all heard the drone of several cars and strained our heads forward to see if it were indeed Princess Diana. We were not disappointed, in front of Diana’s car were police cars then the Princesses car drove up and pulled to a stop in front of the entrance to the Theatre.
The Princess got out of the car turned to the crowds and waved at all the people who had waited to see her, on this sunny day in Adelaide.The Princess was wearing a pink dress with a pink flowered blouse and pearls. She then went into the Festival Theatre itself, to meet the officials.
It was while she was in the Theatre that I realised I was in the wrong spot, I very quickly ran accross the footpath so I could be in front of the Theatre. I turned as I ran and motioned for the Canadian lady to follow my lead, she did so. We found ourselves in the right spot, just in front of the theatre, I was standing beside a large tree as we waited patiently for the Princess to come out.
We didnt have to wait long. The Princess came out and began shaking hands with a few Senators and other officials. Princess Diana then turned left of where I was standing and went towards the crowds, a loud chorus of approval was heard with many yelling ‘Diana over here, over here’, the Princess turned and smiled as she continued to greet the people waiting for her.
Princess Diana was moving closer and closer to where I was waiting, as you can imagine I was thrilled and was busily snapping away with my camera. Suddenly I heard an elderly lady yell at the Princess, ‘Diana are you looking after Charles?’ The Princess stopped, she looked a little hurt and turned gently to the elderly lady and replied, ‘yes, I always do’. The Princess continued to walk closer to where I was standing and once again stopped as a dog stood on it’s hind legs and offered her a rose which it was holding in it’s mouth. Princess Diana smiled and said to the owner of the dog, ‘is this rose for me?’
Suddenly there she was, this beautiful Princess standing right in front of me. I was immediately struck by her blue eyes, they were incredible. A colour distinctive only to the Princess herself a cobalt blue with a touch of Iris. I was also surprised at how small her face was, a heart shape which made her eyes seem even larger. I also noticed her skin which was incredibly perfect not a blemish to be seen.
As I held out my hand to her the Princess graciously took it and as she was shaking my hand I said to her, “dont take any note of that old bat. Is Charles looking after you?” This seemed to tickle the Princess and she began giggling as she replied, ‘yes he does.’
Princess Diana then moved on and began shaking the hand of the Canadian lady. It was then, a thought struck me, and I decided to go for it. I put my hand out on the other side of the tree. Princess Diana reached forward to shake my hand and just as she reached me I quickly turned my head around the tree. Princess Diana immediately recognised me and realised that she had already shaken my hand, she paused a bit then once again she giggled and shook my hand again. The expression on her face was one of, ‘I Know what you’re up to but I’ll shake your hand anyway, cheeky!’
As the Princess moved towards her car, I also thanked her Lady in Waiting Anne Beckwith Smith, who seemed surprised that anyone would take note of her presense. Miss Beckwith Smith smiled and said a gracious ‘thankyou’.
The Princess turned for a final wave, and I can remember thinking how incredibly thin she was fo r a woman who was so tall. Princess Diana looked to be an Australian size 8, which is too thin for her height.
I will never forget meeting this beautiful Princess and the impression she left which was one of vulnerability, humour, generosity and a love for people which was palpable… One sunny day in Adelaide.