Princess Diana made the Queen 'stop' singing hymns at Balmoral with clever idea

The Princess of Wales wasn't too happy when the Queen and Princess Margaret sang hymns at a summer Royal Family gathering

Princess Diana made Queen 'stop' singing hymns at Balmoral
(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Diana successfully stopped the Queen from singing hymns at a Balmoral family gathering by asking Prince Edward's then-girlfriend for help, it has been revealed.

It's no secret that Princess Diana was a passionate fan of music—but like many of us, she also had her likes and dislikes. 

The beloved late royal was known to listen to an eclectic mix of popular artists, including Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, and Lionel Richie, and often enjoyed impromptu karaoke sessions while driving with her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. 

Diana wasn't always keen on live performances, though, especially if their setlists turned a little too dour. 

The Princess of Wales even had the Queen and Princess Margaret's hymn singing halted during a Royal Family gathering at Balmoral Castle in the summer of 1992, according to Prince Edward's ex-girlfriend, Ruthie Henshall. 

Ruthie Henshall

Ruthie Henshall

(Image credit: Getty)

She apparently encouraged the West End star, who dated the Earl of Wessex for six years, to perform a musical tune for the attendees—and even suggested a song from Les Misérables to get the show on the road. At the time, Ruthie was portraying Fantine in the London cast of the iconic French production. 

"The Queen and Princess Margaret were singing a hymn and Diana said to me, 'Stop them singing hymns,'" she told Hello! magazine. "And Margaret said, 'Oh yes, sing something from that show you're in.' So I sung I Dreamed A Dream." 

Despite having plenty of experience with the heartwrenching ballad, Ruthie found herself struggling to deliver its notes smoothly. Fortunately, she'd received a little Dutch courage from the Prince of Wales himself before taking to the stage. 

"I was so nervous I must have changed key three times because it suddenly it really was by royal command," she recalled. "Prince Charles had given me a couple of strong martinis, which was probably why I was able to sing."

As for her overall review of the Royal Family's hospitality, Ruthie is overwhelmingly positive. 

"I don't think you ever forget who you're in the presence of, but you're looking at a family that is just hanging out together like any other family. They were all so welcoming and so lovely—and they're a laugh."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.