Magazine article Newsweek

Mother Knows Best; Diana Ponders the Queen's Advice: Divorce

Magazine article Newsweek

Mother Knows Best; Diana Ponders the Queen's Advice: Divorce

Article excerpt

QUEEN ELIZABETH'S HOLIDAY LETter to Prince Charles and Princess Diana was meant to have the weight of the last move in a chess game. Isn't the queen the most powerful piece on the board? Please divorce promptly, she told them, and Charles agreed. But as one annus horribilis for the crown succeeds another, it's questionable whether the saga of Charles and Di can end so simply. The queen's letter could bring climatic negotiations this month between Charles's and Diane's attorneys. Divorce could follow by mid-February. Regardless, near-universal curiosity will keep the media pot boiling. "It'll never fizzle out while they are young enough to bear children and make love to other people," predicts Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade.

And that's if the negotiations go well. Another alternative is war without end. The potential was implicit in the event that prompted the queen to act--Diana's unauthorized interview with the BBC last November. In it, Diana said she didn't want a divorce but did want "clarity," and that she awaited her husband's decision. Charles must wait out two more years of legal separation to sever their relationship if she says no. She'll probably say yes. "For now," says one courtier loyal to Charles, "I think she's enjoying letting everyone stew." While her sons spent the holidays with Charles and the queen, Diana stayed in London for Christmas--and was spotted at her psychiatrist's office. She then flew off for her own break--on the Caribbean island of Barbuda. …

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