Aheartfelt letter Princess Diana had sent to a mysterious woman was found more than 20 years after it was first written.
It’s no secret Princess Diana and Prince Charles had a tumultuous relationship. Their coupledom (and eventual divorce) has been well-documented over the years, even after The People’s Princess’ tragic death in 1997.
Now, however, some people have uncovered an old letter written by Diana, one which may give us more insight into her mind; containing endless compassion, and kindness for others, even during one of the most difficult periods of her life.
What Princess Diana’s Letter to a Struggling Woman Contained
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997) sitting on a step at her home, Highgrove House, in Doughton, Gloucestershire, 18th July 1986. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Back in 2018, a handwritten letter from Diana to a woman named Erika went up for auction at a Los Angeles auction house. The three-page note appears to be in response to a letter Erika sent Diana asking for advice and comfort within her own relationship.
According to an article in The Mirror at the time, Erika was inspired to write after seeing Diana sit down for a 1995 interview with Panorama in which she opened up about everything from post-natal depression to bulimia, and revealed there were “three people” in her marriage: herself, Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles, whom Charles went on to marry in 2005.
“Dearest Erika, I have received your letter and of course read it with concern and a wish to support you in any way I can,” The Princess of Wales wrote in response. “There is a great deal of pain inside you, hence the block as you call it – that is a natural response for someone who has been through the traumas you’ve experienced,” she continued.
“Reading between the lines of your letter I feel a very special lady is struggling with a low self-esteem because of all the bruises you had to deal with, mentally and physically.”
I do know that it takes great courage to write as you did and with that honesty and clarity the light will appear in your tunnel.
Princess Diana then signed the note with love and told Erika to “hang in there.”
How Princess Diana Put Other People Above Herself
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997) visit the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea, 2nd November 1992. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
This letter is dated November 1995, three years after Diana and Prince Charles separated and a year before they officially divorced. Looking back, it’s easy to imagine how strong a woman Diana really was to have written a letter like this to someone while she was going through those kinds of personal struggles.
In a way, some might argue that she’s even speaking about herself and her own experiences with trauma in this letter, or secretly sharing the advice she wished someone had given her. That, of course, makes it even more touching. But who was Erika?
“Our understanding is that Erika was a member of the public who was experiencing a troubled time and she wrote to Diana for advice and support as she herself had experienced a difficult time with the break-up of her marriage,” said Martin Nolan of Julien’s Auctions at the time, according to Marie Claire UK.
That sounds about right, given Diana’s history of putting others before herself and for showing endless compassion through charitable work, and personally connecting with people at events and during speaking engagements.
“Diana is very gracious and compassionate, and she offers great encouragement to Erika that there will be light at the end of the tunnel,” continued Nolan.
It seems as if she is speaking from her own personal experience when she writes this.
How Princess Diana Continues to Be an Inspiration
Princess Diana wearing a Jasper Conran suit during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
While Diana’s story didn’t exactly have the happiest of endings, her ability to show compassion and help others despite her own hardships continues to inspire people well after her time here on Earth.
It’s an important reminder that even when we’re going through really hard things in life, we’re not alone. Sometimes opening up and sharing your experience can be the thing that motivates or inspires someone else who is struggling.
Whether you share a battle you’ve overcome or are currently dealing with on social media, volunteer your time to a support group that has personal meaning to you, or even share your own experiences the next time a friend or family member opens up, your words can make a world of difference.
Princess Diana knew that, and as a result, her inspiration continues to be felt years later.