Shortly after the first episode of the podcast The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession dropped, the series became a smash success and rose to the top of international charts. The explosive series examines the biggest royal scandals and crises of history, interviewing royal insiders and experts. In one of the latest episodes, it delves into how the death of beloved Princess Diana impacted the British monarchy. And according to those close to the situation, it almost ended it. Read on to the end to see exactly what went down.
“The people’s Princess” as she was called, died in August 1997, and “revolution was in the air,” claim insiders. “When Diana, Princess of Wales died, we were looking at the biggest existential crisis facing the monarchy since the abdication crisis in 1936,” Thomas-Mace-Archer-Mills, founder of the British Monarchist Society said during the podcast. “And that was really something. Because people wanted to say the Queen was just horrible. People were aghast at her.”
Why were people so upset? To many, it seemed the Queen was indifferent to her former daughter-in-law’s untimely death as she holed up in Balmoral with William and Harry while crowds gathered outside of Buckingham Palace to mourn. “This was the first time the Queen had made a misstep,” Cele Otnes, author of Royal Fever, explained. “And that’s a huge statement. She’d been clean since 1953. The royal family acted as if they had blinders on and did not consider what the public needed. The public wanted to share the grief with the family. They wanted to be able to connect. And the Queen did not give them a mechanism to connect. So this felt very cold, distant and disrespectful to Diana.”
Buckingham Palace also refused to put aside protocol and fly the Union flag at half-mast in Diana’s honor.”The story that developed right away was the cold-heartedness of the Royal Family,” Bill Hoffman, New York Post reporter added. “Because what’s the first thing you really want to do, when someone in the family dies and you’re head of state? Of course, you’re going to fly the flag at half-mast. So there was a Union Jack up there, up, on top, just sitting there, waving away. And people were like, ‘Why don’t they lower it to half-mast? Why don’t do they do this?'” he continued. “It was a very easy thing they could have done, no sweat, no controversy, and yet it took them four or five days before they actually did it. And that got a lot of people absolutely furious; they couldn’t believe why the Queen was not there herself, with the ropes, getting that taken care of.”
Former butler to Prince Charles, Grant Harrold claims that this misstep was almost the end of the Royal reign. “It almost cost the monarchy,” he said. “It literally almost cost the monarchy, because there were all these people saying ‘get rid of it.'”
“It’s probably one of the first and only times in the Queen’s long reign that people turned against the Queen and started to criticize her in public, which is completely unheard of. And it wasn’t just one voice. You’re looking at hundreds of people that are getting in front of a television with a microphone in their hands saying, ‘Where are you? Where are you?'” added Kinsey Schofield, royal commentator.