Prince Charles feared assassination at Diana's funeral, biographer claims

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Toronto, Canada. Photo / Getty Images
Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Toronto, Canada. Photo / Getty Images

Prince Charles feared he would be assassinated at Princess Diana's funeral because he had become 'public enemy number one', it has been claimed.

Such was the height of ill feeling towards the Prince that he was 'extremely nervous' when walking through crowds of mourners during the funeral procession on September 6, 1997.

At the time many blamed the Prince for the breakdown of his marriage with Princess Diana, assuming that he was having an affair with his now wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry outside Westminster Abbey at the funeral of Diana, The Princess of Wales. Photo / Getty Images
The Prince of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry outside Westminster Abbey at the funeral of Diana, The Princess of Wales. Photo / Getty Images

Pictures of the funeral show a pensive Prince Charles walk with his sons Princes William and Harry, then just 15 and 12, behind the gun carriage which carried the Princess's body to Westminster Abbey.

Speaking at Henley Literary Festival Royal biographer Ingrid Seward said: "Prince Charles was extremely nervous because he was public enemy number one.

"He was very fatalistic. He thought, if someone takes a gun out and shoots me, that's it.

"The streets of London were very quiet. You could hear a pin drop. You could hear everything the crowd was saying. They were saying, 'Look at him, look at him.' They were being quite nasty.

"The whole way round he could hear this abuse and he didn't think he would make it the whole way round."

Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's former press officer, also revealed that the Queen was 'anxious' when she came to greet mourners outside Buckingham Palace in the aftermath of the Princess's fatal car crash in Paris in the summer of 1997.

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles at Diana's funeral. Photo / Getty Images
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles at Diana's funeral. Photo / Getty Images

The Queen faced criticism for remaining in Scotland for too long instead of returning to London, which became the focal point of public grief following the Princess's death.

Mr Arbiter said: "There had been a lot of criticism against the Queen by the media and the fact she remained at Balmoral. She wasn't nervous but she was a little bit anxious as to what sort of reception she would receive."

Mr Arbiter also accused Princess Diana's brother, the Earl of Spencer, of hypocrisy following her death.

He said: 'She had a very bad relationship with her brother. When things were getting on top of her she pleaded with her brother for one of the cottages on his estate and he said "no" on the basis that there would be too many media hanging around.

"So relationship between brother and sister at the time of her death was so far apart that you could have driven a fleet of buses through the gap.

"And yet we had this young man stand up at Westminster Abbey talking about blood relatives and his adoring sister and it was a bit hypocritical."

- Daily Mail

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