Diana stayed overnight and went with her sons and the other royals to church, but she left before Christmas lunch.
‘And I said: “Good on you, although you don’t have much option, really.
You have got to stick it out.” ’Soon afterwards, the Princess asked to see the Queen.
No wonder she’s so close to Edward’s lovely wife, Sophie.
It upset her terribly that the others made such a mess of their marriages.’Intriguingly, what upset her more than anything up to the break-up of the Waleses’ marriage were pictures in the newspapers of Andrew’s bikini-clad wife Sarah — the Duchess of York — having her toes sucked by American lover John Bryan beside a swimming pool at a villa in the South of France.
And then some of those guests received this year's Christmas card from the Earl and Countess of Wessex. On the front, it had them standing together in front of a wooden cabin on the snow slopes of Finland, which they visited in February.
The surprise was on the card's back — a large picture of an ebullient Countess, in military fatigues, laughing in the snow as she lay at the entrance to one of the Finnish army's snow tunnels while trying out their survival skills course 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle.According to Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, she was ‘fed up with the “ping-pong” battle they were fighting out so destructively’, with Charles having used broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby to give his side of the story in an authorised biography.Enter the ‘pragmatic’ Queen that her cousin Margaret Rhodes talks about, a Queen who isn’t, in fact, a great decision-maker but who, she says, ‘never diddles and doesn’t dither. A week before Christmas she finally made up her mind.Increasingly concerned about Diana’s well-being, but uncertain how to proceed, the Queen sometimes relied on messages relayed to her by her private secretary Sir Robert (now Lord) Fellowes, who is married to Diana’s sister Lady Jane.August: Publication in a red-top newspaper of those pictures of Fergie having her toes sucked.By contrast, her distress at the publication of the toe-curling ‘Camillagate’ tape, in which the Prince of Wales made lavatorial references in conversation with his mistress Mrs Parker Bowles, was, says one close figure, ‘relatively mild’.