Princess Diana reportedly had a rocky relationship with Duchess Sophie and often left her sister-in-law in tears

The pair never got along...

Princess Diana
(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

According to testimony from royal experts, Princess Diana and her sister-in-law Duchess Sophie had a rocky relationship throughout Diana's royal life and the Duchess of Edinburgh was often left in tears at Diana's harsh comments and actions. 

Much like how Princess Catherine and Meghan Markle have long found themselves compared in the media, Princess Diana and Duchess Sophie, as well as Sarah Ferguson, were once pitted against one another, with their looks and behaviour both receiving harsh comparisons in newspapers. 

Sarah has been vocal about the effect this had on her and now, with the testimony of many royal experts, it has been revealed how the comparisons led to Diana and Sophie having a rocky relationship that often left the latter in tears. 

When Sophie married into the royal family in 1999, she had been dating Prince Edward for 12 years, making her privy to all of the problems plaguing King Charles and Diana since their wedding back in 1981. But while some may have welcomed the addition of a friendly sister-in-law to help ease the burden of royal life, Diana reportedly could not stand Sophie and made her life extremely difficult. 

Perhaps the biggest issue stemmed from the pair being compared to one another for their looks. It's undeniable that there was a resemblance between them but this was mostly because they both followed the trends of the time, getting their hair and makeup done in popular styles.

"I don't deny that we do look alike," Sophie told The Daily Mail at the time. "But I couldn't ever compete with Diana's image. I'm not Diana." 

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

It wasn't just newspapers noticing the similarities, but Diana herself too. She reportedly was not happy about Sophie 'mimicking' her look with the 90s press reporting that the Princess, according to The List, called Sophie "my double" behind her back.

Royal correspondent Judy Wade corroborated the story, telling The Express that, whenever Diana saw Sophie, she would mutter, "Oh look, here comes my double." She also reportedly would say of Sophie that 'She really ought to get her own look," and even went as far as to recommend changes, saying, "There are plenty of things she could do. She could dress in softer, less tailored clothes, just to find her own look."

The expert added, "She's chosen red dresses that were almost identical to things that Diana wore. The blazer and the trousers that Diana wore. She just seemed to be aping Diana, and Diana was sort of partly amused and partly irritated by it."

There was more to the pair's tense relationship than just mean comments about appearances, with Diana reportedly being envious of the 'easy ride' Sophie received when entering the Royal Family while she was 'thrown to the wolves.'  

Princess Diana

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Sophie was much older than Diana was when she was welcomed into The Firm and, likely as a result of this, managed to handle transitioning into royal life much more smoothly. Her experience was vastly different to Diana's and this seemed to have inspired envy in the Princess. 

According to The New York Post, Diana, whose gowns recently fetched over £1M at auction, allegedly called Sophie 'little miss goody two shoes,' and asked Sarah Ferguson, "Why is she getting such an easy ride? We were thrown to the wolves."

Diana made her disdain known to Sophie and, one time during a family dinner, left her feeling 'intimidated' by allegedly staring intensely at her, leaving Sophie to flee the encounter in tears,  Andrew Morton wrote in his book Diana: In Pursuit of Love.

Ultimately, while Diana obviously did not enjoy Sophie being inspired by her style, the Duchess's similarity of style just goes to show how much of an influence Diana had on royal fashion, an influence that is still felt in the outfits worn by her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Freelance news writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with Good To, BBC Good Food and The Independent.