Princess Diana showed 'formidable' side in pre-wedding cull - but for the most touching reason

Princess Diana showed her 'formidable' side and that despite sweet appearances, she'd always stand up for what she thought was right

Princess Diana and Charles wedding
(Image credit: erry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Ahead of her marriage to King Charles, then Prince of Wales, Princess Diana showed that, "one day she will be very formidable," said a veteran newspaper diarist who had close ties to the Royal Family. Despite her sweet appearances, the late royal showed that she had no time for nonsense and would always stand alongside those she cared about most. How, you ask? By banning certain family members from her nuptials,


Arguably one of the biggest royal events of the 20th century, the unforgettable fairytale wedding that hoped to cement Prince Charles and Diana’s relationship in the history books. The event was enormous, with 3000 lucky guests enjoying the event in real life. Guests included dignitaries, celebrities, the extended Royal Family, and US First Lady Nancy Reagan. On top of that, a record-breaking 750M people across the planet tuned in to watch the big day with great delight. 

However, a few individuals watching at home may have been pretty miffed as they were booted off the guestlist by Princess Diana ahead of her wedding day.

Princess Diana documentary: Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) sitting on a step at her home, Highgrove House, in Doughton, Gloucestershire, 18th July 1986.

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

Seemingly, Diana's family the Spencers were allocated 50 seats for the royal wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral. On seeing the guestlist, the late Princess of Wales decided a portion of those due to attend didn't deserve the invite - because they had slighted her beloved sisters.

The story is detailed by veteran newspaper diarist and gossip Kenneth Rose in his personal diaries, which were published following his death in 2014. The diaries were released as books after he died, aged 89, and the second volume, titled Who Wins, Who Loses, included the pre-wedding incident. Excerpts from the second volume shared in the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), describe what happened and how Kenneth saw it as a sign of things to come.

"The Spencers were given 50 seats for St Paul’s," he wrote. "When Johnnie [John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, Diana's father] showed Diana his draft list, she crossed out all the family who had not bothered to come to the weddings of her sisters!"

He added sagely, "One day she will be very formidable."

Diana The Princess Of Wales Attends A Gala Reception & Preview Of Her 'Dresses Auction' At Christies In London.

(Image credit: Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)

Sadly, despite everything about the big day - from Princess Diana's wedding dress, crown, and glam, to her adoring groom - being an absolute dream, her marriage was more of a nightmare. After years of what turned out to be an unhappy relationship, the couple sadly went their separate ways. 

Once afforded the opportunity to stand on her own feet, the late Princess began to show the truly formidable woman she was. Though her life was cut tragically short, it's this formidable nature, and standing up for what's right, that she's remembered for.

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.