Royals

The girl Princess Diana always wanted

Wee Charlotte's birth has special significance. She is the daughter Princess Diana longed for.
Princess Diana

She was a devoted mother who adored her two boys to bits. But that didn’t stop Diana, Princess of Wales from longing for a daughter. If she had still been alive today, she would have been overjoyed at the birth of her granddaughter Princess Charlotte, say her friends. She would have loved George too, of course, but having a little girl would have fulfilled so many of her dreams, and she would have doted on little Charlotte.

Diana made no secret of the fact that she wanted a daughter. She had done her duty by providing a son and heir first time around when she had Prince William, but when she fell pregnant with his sibling, she desperately hoped for a girl. So, too, did her husband Prince Charles. He wanted to call a daughter Elizabeth, which would not only honour his mother, the Queen, but also pay tribute to his grandmother, the Queen Mother, whose name was Elizabeth too. Charles was very close to her.

Although Diana doted on her boys, she always longed for a daughter.

Charles had hoped that having a girl would help to calm down William who, at the age of two, was “a bit of a handful”, says a palace insider. “Charles felt having a baby girl around would have a civilising influence on the nursery,” says the source. He considered it clever of his younger sister Anne to have managed to have a boy, Peter, and then a girl, Zara.

When Diana fell pregnant for the second time, she had to contend with not only her own intense desire to have a daughter she could share “girly” interests with, but also the pressure of knowing Charles wanted a girl. She hoped a daughter would help patch up their marriage which, after just three years, was in trouble.

Early on in the pregnancy, when she had an amniocentesis test to check for abnormalities in the foetus, she asked to know the sex.

Diana kept the fact that she was carrying another boy secret from Charles, knowing he would be disappointed.

The former nursery school assistant had a soft spot for little girls.

When Prince Harry was born, Charles apparently said, “Oh, it’s a boy. And he’s even got rusty hair.” He then went off to play polo. Diana later told friends that at that moment, “Something inside me died.”

But her yearning for a daughter never diminished and she became convinced that a daughter could mend their marriage. It was not to be. Years later, when she fell in love with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, her dreams of having a little girl were revived and she even decided on a name – Allegra. But their relationship crumbled when the pair realised they had too many differences.

Diana, pictured in 1995, with the sons she adored.

Diana was only 36 when she died and could still have had another child. She had not given up on the dream of a little girl with whom she could share her love of fashion.

“She longed to have a daughter she could take out on [shopping] expeditions to Peter Jones and Harvey Nichols, especially buying clothes for her,” recalls one of her friends. “The boys were great but a mother and daughter out shopping together have a different kind of a bond. She missed having that.”

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