|1936||In order to marry the woman he loves, a divorcee, Edward the VIII is
forced to abdicate the throne|
|1940's||Newsreels are allowed to shoot carefully-monitored footage of Princess
Elizabeth. All access to the Royal family is controlled by Commander Richard
Colville, the Royal Press Officer. |
|1948||The Palace agrees to allow the BBC to have a radio court correspondent
report on official engagements. Godfrey Talbot is appointed the first BBC
Radio Court Correspondent.|
|February 6, 1952||King George VI dies. Princess Elizabeth becomes
The BBC approaches Winston Churchill for permission to broadcast live the
coronation. Initially the palace says no, because it would be an added strain
for the Queen.
|October 1952||Winston Churchill tells the Queen there should be no live tv
coverage of the coronation. But the Queen disagrees. |
|June 2, 1953||The coronation of Queen Elizabeth is televised live. However,
certain parts of the ceremony -- such as the annointment -- are still
considered too sacred for television, so a canopy is used to shield it from
Henceforth every major Royal event will be televised.
On coronation day, reporter Audrey Whiting of the Daily Mirror sees Princess
Margaret (Elizabeth's sister) with a divorced man, Group Captain Peter
Townsend. The editor of the Daily Mirror refuses to print the story saying
"we can't upset the ladies' day..."
|June 1953||Stories about Peter Townsend and Princess Margaret's relationship
begin to appear in American papers. |
Soon after, British papers write that there are rumors Princess Margaret is
in love with a divorced man -- Group Captain Peter Townsend.
|July 7, 1953||Palace sends Peter Townsend to Brussels to wait until Princess
Margaret is 25 years old.|
|August 21, 1954||Peter Townsend returns to Britain. |
Growing press interest in Princess Margaret and Townsend's romance. Cameras
follow him. In the popular press Townsend and Margaret are viewed as doomed
lovers. A debate begins over whether it is Princess Margaret's duty to give up
personal happiness for the good of the Monarchy.
|October 26, 1955||The editor of The Times, Sir William Hayley, writes the Royal
Family are national symbols of family life and that if the queen's sister
married a divorced man, it would damage the institution of the Monarchy. |
The Daily Mirror condemns the Palace for adopting Hayley's advice and forcing
Margaret to choose between love and her royal status.
|October 31, 1955||The Daily Mirror prints a story telling Margaret to hurry up
and decide about Townsend. The headline: "Come On Margeret!"|
|1955||Princess Margaret decides to leave Group Captain Townsend: ""Mindful of
the church's teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble and conscious of
my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before
any others. I have reached this decision entirely alone. And in doing so I
have been strengthened by the unfailing support and devotion of Group Captain
Townsend...I am deeply grateful for the concern of all those who have
constantly prayed for my happiness...."|
|August 1957||John Grigg ( Lord Altringham) writes an article in The National and
English Review about the Queen, accusing her of being elitist. He says the
Queen is too closely associated with the upper classes and that he particularly
dislikes her presentation parties when debutantes are received at court. He
says the Monarchy is "complacent" and "out of touch." |
Grigg's planned appearance on the BBC program "Any Questions" is cancelled.
Robin Day of Independent Television News interviews Grigg on the another tv
program and Grigg reiterates his criticism of the Queen. After the interview,
an angy man approaches Grigg and punches him.
There is outrage in the press over how Grigg attacked the Queen.
|December 25, 1957||Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message to the nation is
televised for the first time. For the next 40 years, the BBC broadcasts this
|May 1960||Princess Margaret marries photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones. She
is the first of the royals to be thought of as cool, glamorous, and soon
becomes the paparazzi's target. |
|1962||BBC launches "That Was the Week that Was." The popular weekly program
starts satirizing the Royal Family. |
|1964||Ray Bellisario is the first British paparazzo, dubbed "the peeping Tom" by
the press. He sells photos of Princess Margaret in a swimsuit to the Sunday
Express which publishes them. The Palace instructs editors not to buy
Bellisario's pictures. The editors oblige. |
|1967||Commander Colville, Palace Press Officer, retires and is succeeded by
William Heseltine who believes the Royal Family should give more access to the
media through television. Prince Philip agrees. |
|June 21, 1969||A film is made and aired by the BBC called "Royal Family." Its
aim is to promote the Royals and cameras are allowed in to film their daily
life. The program is almost two hours long and 68% of Britain's population
watches it. |
Not long after, Prince Charles gives a BBC interview.
|July 1, 1969||Charles' investiture as Prince of Wales is televised. |
|Late 60's||Press links Charles with Lady Jane Wellesley. |
|1969||Rupert Murdoch buys News of the World and soon after, The Sun, launching
it as a tabloid. Sales soar to one million in 100 days. |
|1970's|| Press starts following Charles. He is portrayed as an "action man" and
is shown playing polo, in the snow, on a bull, etc. |
|November 14 1973||Princess Anne marries Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey |
The press follows Princess Margaret to Mustique and pictures are taken of her
with a younger man, Roddy Llewellyn.
|1976||Prince Charles leaves the Navy at age 28 and soon becomes world's most
eligible bachelor in the popular press. |
|March 3, 1976||British Parliament announces Margaret and Tony Snowdon will
Press links Charles with Davinia Sheffield. (The News of the World publishes
a story saying she had once lived with a boyfriend).
|June 1977||Daily Express says Charles is to marry Marie Astrid.|
|1978||Princess Margaret is criticized in the Press as lazy and decadent. It is
the first time a member of the Royal family has been so strongly criticized.|
|April 5, 1978||Press hounds Princess Margaret. Headlines read: "Give up Roddy
or Quit Royal Duties." |
|May 10, 1978||Princess Margaret announces she is seeking a divorce. Roddy says
he will not marry her. |
|1979||The Daily Star, another tabloid, is launched. |
Press links Charles with Sabrina Guinness.
|September 7, 1980||James Whitaker and Ken Lennox of The Daily Star spot Charles
kissing unnamed girl in river Dee at Balmoral (it turns out to be 19-year old Diana Spencer). |
Rumors start circulating in the press of Charles' relationship with Camilla
Parker Bowles; it's mentioned in the magazine Private Eye
|October 1980||Sun headlines: "Charles Set to Make Lady Di his Bride Next
Diana is under siege by British tabloids.
|Nov/Dec 1980||Charles tours India for eight weeks; he asks British royal
reporters on the trip what they think of Diana Spencer and why they think she's
the girl he should or will marry. |
|1980's||The Sun's circulation rises to record levels. |
|January 1, 1981||On New Year's Day, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth say to
reporters staked out nearby: "A thoroughly nasty new year to your
Rupert Murdoch buys The Times and the Sunday Times.
|February 24, 1981||Engagement is officially announced of Prince Charles and
Diana Spencer. Tabloids follow Diana's movements constantly. |
|July 1981||Diana Spencer leaves polo matched distressed -- Charles says it is
because of all the media attacking her. |
|July 29, 1981||Prince Charles and Diana Spencer get married. 750 million people
watch worldwide. |
Diana starts appearing on the covers of dozens of magazines
The Sun annoints Diana "Queen of Hearts".
|December 1981||Michael Shea, Press Secretary for the Queen, invites Fleet Street
editors to Buckingham Palace. The Queen appeals to the editors asking them to
lay off the Royal family and especially, to lay off the Princess who is
|1982||The Sun reports problems in the marriage. Examples of headlines: "A
Public Bust-up!"....."Pregnant Di Falls down Stairs" "Are Charles and Diana
|February 18, 1982||The Star and The Sun follow Princess Diana and Charles to the
Bahamas and in a sneak attack take pictures of pregnant Diana in a bikini.
Queen calls the action "The blackest day in the history of British journalism."
Lloyd Turner, Sun's editor, is sacked for the day.
Throughout the year, headline coverage on the marriage continues : "Loveless
Marriage" "Disco Diana dumps Charles" "Old Flame the Prince Won't Forget..."
"Fears for Di's Health"
|April 5, 1983||Woman Magazine names Diana World's #1 Cover Girl. |
|September 1983||Diana Spencer and Prince Charles go to Australia for their first
official tour; the reception for them is compared to Beatlemania. Prince
Charles writes to a friend: "How can anyone, let alone a 21 year old, be
expected to come out of all this obsessed and crazed attention
unscathed?....the media's fixation frightens me and I know for a fact that it
|May 30, 1984||Prince Charles gives controversial speech about architecture.
Tabloids start to make fun of Prince Charles. |
|February 4, 1985||Sun Headline-- "Charles loses his trousers to Di"|
Star Headline -- "Man or Mouse?"
|1987||Tabloids start counting the days Diana and Charles spend apart and the
various problems in their marriage. Palace denies any rift. |
|June 1987||Prince Edward persuades Andrew and Fergie (the Duke and Duchess of
York) and Princess Anne to take part in a televised mock Tudor knockout - a
take-off on an old slapstick series. The embarrassing tv program is called
"It's a Royal Knockout."|
|October 1987||Press notes Prince Charles and Diana spent 35 days apart. |
|1989||'Squidgy' conversation (between Diana and James Gilbey) is tape-recorded
by Cyril Reenan. Rupert Murdoch holds off publishing it. |
|August 1, 1990||Cyril Reenan contacts the Sun about the 'Squidgy' tape. |
|July 2, 1991||Diana's 30th birthday; press stories appear about more marriage
|March 1992||Lady Colin Campbell publishes a book talking about Diana's
relationship with four men. It's serialised in the Sunday Mirror. |
|May 1992||Andrew Morton's book "Diana -- Her True Story" is released. It's a
devastating account of Diana's doomed marriage, her bulimia and suicide
attempts and the insensitivity of Princes Charles and the Royal Family. Family
and close friends of Diana are quoted. Both Diana and Morton deny she had any
involvement in the book.|
|June 1992||The Sunday Times serializes "Diana -- Her True Story." |
|June 8, 1992||The Palace asks the Press Complaints Commission to issue a
statement condemning press coverage of Charles and Diana's marriage: "The
most recent intrusive and speculative treatment by sections of the press and
indeed by broadcasters of the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales is
an odious exhibition of journalists dabbling their fingers in the stuff of
other peoples souls..."|
Buckingham Palace officials deny Diana cooperated with Andrew Morton on his
|June 22, 1992||Tabloid headlines: "Charles May Never be King."|
|August 20, 1992||National Enquirer publishes version of 'Squidgy' tape|
|August 24, 1992||The Sun splashes the 'Squidgy' tapes on ten pages and the next
day offers a phone line for the public to listen to them. There are 60,000
|August 26, 1992||James Gilbey is named as the man in the 'Squidgy' tape. |
|Sept 1992||The Mirror receives the 'Camillagate' tape - a recorded intimate
conversation between Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles. |
|Sept 1, 1992||The Sun claims Diana had a relationship with James Hewitt. |
|Sept 6, 1992||ITN does a documentary on the collapse of Charles and Diana's
|November 3, 1992||Every tabloid has front page story about Diana and Charles
being openly at war with each other. |
|November 6, 1992||The Palace finally admits there is a rift. |
|November 11, 1992||The Mirror's "Camillagate Confidential" says that there is a
60 minute 'Camillagate' tape that exists. |
|Nov 13, 1992||The Mirror prints quotes from 'Camillagate' tape: "I love you...I
|December 1, 1992||Michael Shea , Royal Family press secretary, is quoted in The
Times calling tabloids, "a cancer in the soft underbelly of the nation."|
|December 9, 1992||Charles and Diana officially announce their separation. |
|December 25, 1992||In the Queen's Christmas message the distress over family turmoil and press revelations is clear:
"Like many other families, we have lived through some difficult days this year...It has touched me
deeply that so much [support] has come from those of you with troubles of your own. If we can
sometimes lift our eyes from our own problems, and focus on those of others it will be at least a
step in the right direction."|
Afterwards, The Times writes: "What matters is the national sense that something is wrong with the
state of the Royal Family, that, while the Monarch remains high in her subjects' esteem, the rest of
'the firm'is variously at fault and failing to live and work as it should."
|January 13, 1993||The Sun and Today both print extracts from 'Camillagate' tape.|
|January 14, 1993||'Camillagate' goes frontpage in 53 countries. |
|March 2, 1993||The Sun prints entirety of 'Squidgy' tape. |
|December 4, 1993||Diana retires making announcement at a charity event: "When I
started my public life 12 years ago, I understood the media might be interested
in what I did...their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and
public lives, but I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would
Paparazzi begin hounding Diana.
|Autumn, 1994||Prince Charles appears in a special ITV program on his life. He
is interviewed by journalist Jonathan Dimbleby and admits to adultery.|
Jonathan Dimbleby's book "The Prince of Wales" is also released. It is an
'authorized' biography of Charles and tells the story of the Waleses' marriage
from Charles' point of view.
Newspapers headline the adultery admission
|November 20, 1995||Diana gives a shattering one-hour interview on BBC's Panorama
program in which she admits she had an affair with James Hewitt and discusses her bulimia, great unhappiness and her failed marriage. |
|December 15, 1996||Prince Charles' housekeeper publishes memoirs. |
|August 28, 1996||Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorce.|
|August 1997||Diana and her new love interest, Dodi Fayed, are pursued by
paparazzi while vacationing in the Mediterranean. "The Kiss" photo of the
them is printed by newspapers around the world. |
|Aug 31, 1997||A car crash in Paris kills Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and the driver.|