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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Real Diana is not what is expected. As a Diana worshipper who cried buckets at her funeral,I was interested in the multi faceted personality of this iconic woman. This book tells another story completely. The sourcing for each statement is impeccable, and so I am inclined to believe it. It is sympathetic to her 'difficulties', but shows a cunning and quite ruthless woman. The cover-ups and distortions make sense too. I still love the memory of her, but it is a fairer description than the innocent, naive woman we grew to love.
A good read if you like all things royal. Recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2014
I’ve just finished reading the Kindle edition of The Real Diana, and the fact that I actually got from cover to cover indicates to me that this book is not all THAT bad. It’s worth a read. However, there is so much not to like. Tone is one thing. For the first 30% of this book, the author repeats variations of ‘mentally ill’ so often that when she attempts to say anything nice about Diana it comes across as damning with faint praise. I’m glad I kept reading. At just past 50%, she outlines her connections and qualifications for writing, which might have been on the hardback book jacket, but would have made much more sense near the front of a Kindle book. The same coterie is quoted over and over ad nauseam throughout, so surely we now know who the author’s close friends are. No matter how it was actually written, this book reminded me vaguely of my grandmother, seated at a small writing desk, capturing her innermost thoughts for posterity on vellum paper with a fountain pen—it is of another time and place…and class, as the author is so quick to point out. It’s a gossipy book, which I have to say I enjoyed, taking everything I read with a grain of salt. I didn’t know Diana. She was unreal to me in life, and is more so in death, so I have no way of knowing whether anything written here is real or true, and much of this story we will never know. This is one woman’s opinion, the author’s, and she has strong views (both pro and con) about certain people which she does not hesitate to share. She does attempt to be fair to her subject in her own unique way. However, without knowing anything about anything, I can say there are some moments in this book where the author goes seriously wrong. One notable example is her description of what happened in the tunnel, which is a convoluted mess of writing that doesn’t paint a clear word picture of any event, discusses driving on the right in great detail yet may involve a proofreading error (made absolutely no sense to me), diverges into flashing lights and photos from the speed camera she already stated wasn’t working, and digresses into how this mystery must be solved to keep us all safe on the roads? This book is filled with, as comedian Arsenio Hall was fond of saying, ‘Things that make you go hmmm'.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2013
diana fans will hate this book. however, it clearly explains quoting doctors how ill diana was for many years. yes, she could be lovely and at times a real bitch too. all due to mental illness. whoever she'd married, the outcome would've the same. this book merely explains the hell behind closed doors. dians fans will hate some parts because they loved her so much but the truth can hurt. i believe that lady colin has written a good, well researched book. 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I read this book very quickly as I couldn't put it down. It certainly has the ring of truth all through it and although the author points out Diana's deficiencies in her character, it's not a character assassination by any means. Diana comes across as flawed (as are we all) and the tone of the book remains fairly affectionate.

I for one was never convinced by "Saint" Diana. When I read Andrew Morton's book it had the opposite effect on me than it was meant to. I felt extremely sorry for Prince Charles and thought that Diana sounded murder to live with. However, one couldn't help but like her and that seems to be the essence of this book. Diana was a very flawed personality but a likable one nevertheless.

The account of the fatal car crash is extensive and lucid. It is summed up as just an accident (conspiracy theories investigated and denounced), possibly caused in part by the air bag going off in the driver's face seconds before the crash. I hadn't heard that before and it certainly sounds plausible. And the big if only. If only Diana had been wearing a seat belt.

A very enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2014
Well, I read this book to the end. The positive bit is that it gave some previously unknown to me information I am inclined to believe (like Diana's many love affairs and terminated pregnancy) simply because it makes more sense that the whiter-than-white Saint Diana.

I am also leaning towards the thought that Diana was indeed mentally unstable, after reading several books that all described her disturbing behaviour and mood shifts, as well as her rages, suspicions, depressions and bulimia.

The negative is that the book is not very well structured. The author spends a lot of time claiming her unique knowledge and connections, which is fine if it doesn't take too much space.

I wasn't impressed with the author's analyses of the last stages of Diana's life either. She claims that Diana finally became the confident healthy woman she had always wanted to be. I think her affair with Dodi and her behaviour with the press, as well as the fact that she ended up increasingly isolated suggest the opposite.

In my view Sally Bedell-Smith has written a much better account of Diana's life.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2000
After reading Real Diana I definitely feel that I now have a better insight into what made the ultimately beautiful, unforgettable, tragic Diana tick. Throughout reading it I feel it afforded me the absolute priviledge of stepping into her life and experiencing all the pain and glory from her perspective. While the book is quick to capitalise on Diana's human failings above all else it lets Diana's natural goodness and charisma shine through.
No-one reading this book can deny that Diana loved Charles deeply and anything she did... the tantrums, the affairs etc were her way of trying to gain his attention and win him back. I think it is also obvious from the book that Charles did indeed love Diana too and one is left feeling utterly heartbroken for the wonderful King and Queen we will never have! One is also left feeling that these two people could have had a long and glorious reign together to the utter delight and enchantment of the whole world if only they could have got the help and advise they so badly needed.
My only critism about the book is how the author blantly claims that Diana had an abortion on the heresay of "an Earl's daughter" since the author said that she cannot say that Diana was pregnant at the time of her death because there was no concrete evidence to support this fact then I feel that she should also have excercised this fairness of judgement regarding the abortion claim for which there is also no concrete evidence.
I would definitely recommend this book to any Diana fan...with the warning be prepared to reach the end page loving and missing her more than ever!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 1998
It is very refreshing to read something about Diana that does not describe her as saintly or infallible. She was human, and Lady Campbell is not afraid to describe her as such. I found this to be a fascinating, insightful look into the life of one of the most interesting people of our time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Having read Andrew Morton's book on Diana I felt very sorry for her as it came across that she was relentlessly bullied by the Royal family and their Courtiers. This book tells a totally different story. One where the young Diana is too naive to have even been married into Royalty at such a young age. She thought that once she was The Princess of Wales and had given birth to the Heir and the Spare that was her job done. She had a hard time having to go through her diary every day and quite frequently screamed at her secretary and threw the diary across the room.

From the start, she railed against everybody including her Husband, accusing him of still seeing Camilla Parker-Bowles, had histrionics with the Courtiers and also developed an eating disorder. Bulimia. She waged a war against this illness for many, many years.

Charles also wounded from a fractured childhood did his best to look after her but the more he tried to help, the more she pushed him away.

This is a sad book in many ways because if Diana hadn't married into the Royal family, she may still have been alive today. On the other hand we wouldn't have the delightful two Princes in the Royal family now.

Eventually some years after their divorce, Diana and Prince Charles managed to become friends again. By this time, she was travelling regularly to America to attend various charity functions as she was a Patron of many.

Her death and that of Dodi Fayed and Paul Henri, is still a cause of many conspiracy theories to this day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2014
amazed i have hated charles and his mistress for years for what i thought they had done to Diana the book made me realise she did most of it to herself, brilliant, paranoid and mentaly unsuited to her position Diana was flamboyant and appealing sad, and delightfull but so very marred I still think the Royal family should have, could have done more to help her and that includes her husband ... but in the end she escaped royal life and i think that would have if she lived have given her more peace, though i think her need for love was such a bottomless pit she would never have been truly happy its an amazing book and well written chatty , informative and eye opening .. NOT my usual read i am more a history addict but Diana is now part of my and englands history. She would not have made a great queen but she was certainly a great lady in her own peculiar way
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2014
I loved this book - it was everything I had always suspected about the real story. It is very sad, and puts both points of view across very fairly. So interesting to compare it to Andrew Morton's book, which at the time it was written, I felt should never have been published. I recommend it to anyone who is still mystified about the whole story.
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