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Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  402 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Exploring the events and relationships that shaped Diana, the flashpoints that sent her careening through life, her deep feelings of unworthiness, her view of men, and her perpetual journey toward a better sense of self, this book allows readers to see Diana as she really was. of photos.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published August 25th 1999 by Crown
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Diana by Andrew MortonThe Royals by Kitty KelleyMommie Dearest by Christina CrawfordHollywood Babylon by Kenneth AngerNatalie Wood by Lana Wood
Get the Dirt!
113th out of 124 books — 19 voters
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The Royal Tell All - Nonfiction
33rd out of 59 books — 11 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 905)
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Ann Clay
Sep 28, 2012 Ann Clay rated it liked it
Very biased in favor of Charles. Makes Diana look like she was so mentally ill she was completely mad. Too extreme, in my view. Totally absent is what kind of a husband Charles was, how he was incapable of having a modern marriage. Clearly Diana had her problems, but I doubt anyone save Camilla could stand being married to the PoW.
Jun 18, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: royalty
This book provides a perceptive, no-flinching look at a young woman who apparently had little purpose in life except to project an image and be a celebrity. The highly detailed and well documented chronological survey reveals all of her psychological weaknesses that were hidden or glossed over by the British newspapers. Smith pours forth the evidence that Diana Spencer had a borderline psychotic personality, perhaps permanently damaged when her own mother deserted the family when Diana was 6. Sm ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Taylor rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Largely focused on proving a theory of Borderline Personality Disorder (and very in-depth and well-researched on that angle), to the almost complete exclusion of other aspects of Diana's life. Her relationship with her children is rarely discussed, and it felt incomplete in parts. But overall, a disturbing, fascinating read.
Feb 20, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
I've read several books about Diana as they came out over the years, and this one breaks the mould because it captures her severely compromised mental and emotional state as a human being while simultaneously acknowledging the good she was able to accomplish as Princess of Wales. A serious read for anyone concerned about the implications of our collective societal obsession with fame, celebrity, and the part we all play in abetting our media. No one is demonized in this portrayal, and the princi ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Verna rated it really liked it
This is the most comprehensive look at Diana, Princess of Wales, that I have read yet. It gives a more complete picture of her early life and what happened to her when she married into the royal family. It is obvious Diana had a lot of issues going on in her mental/emotional life. One gets the sense of a little girl abandoned early on by everyone in her immediate family. I don't think she got over this fact, she was too vulnerable and sensitive as a result. I think the author's perception of her ...more
Reading this book made me realize that, as much as I admired and adored Princess Diana, how little I knew about the real Princess of Wales.

No matter all the press I read about Diana during her lifetime, this book --- which is replete with quotes and attributions from many of Diana's friends, detractors, and associates whom the author interviewed --- has brought home to me how deeply troubled and conflicted Diana was about herself and her relationship to the world around her. Yet, in spite of al
With 100 pages of notes, bibliography, and index at the end, the book was obviously well researched. Although the author was not without her own opinions, I thought she presented Diana and the various people in her life fairly evenhandedly, with equal praise for their virtues and criticism for their flaws.

The author's suggestion that Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder seems plausible. After reading this account, I have no doubt that the princess was extremely difficult to deal w
Mary Ann
Oct 14, 2012 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I have this waiting to be read. I wasn't too keen on another tired encomium to Diana, but after reading Bedell Smith's books on Queen Elizabeth II, the Clintons, and the Kennedys, I'll give it a go. 10/14/2012 I was never a "Diana-watcher" and read most about her after she died. Much of what I read either praised her as an almost-saint or decried her as a traitor to the royal family and/or an unstable homewrecker. This bio is objective and thoughtful and gives the reader some insight into the ma ...more
Michelle Bouchor
This is probably my favorite book about Princess Diana. (And I think I've read almost all of them.) Most of the books are pretty one sided or acts as if Princess Diana was a saint. This was much more objective and shows the reader that even though she was a beautiful, caring person, she also had a lot of emotional problems. Some of them were probably due to her parents' divorce and others were from her husband and the royal family. At any rate, it was good to see that while she wasn't perfect in ...more
Dale Stonehouse
Nov 28, 2012 Dale Stonehouse rated it liked it
This was a tough one to get through, perhaps because of the difficulty with which the princess approached life and her world. The premise that Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder is probably accurate; it would have been nice to read a bit more about the positive side of that affliction. The book did give a clear picture of how she dealt (poorly) with her fear of abandonment, which is really the only causal factor in BPD; everything else stems from it. It also demonstrated the deg ...more
Aug 08, 2010 Fredsky rated it did not like it
A boring book about Princess Diana! Thick with quotes that skew the narrative, disorganized, wordy, self-importance oozing from the author... I really hated it. Borderline personalities are interesting, aren't they? (Until the thrill is gone) But Sally Bedell Smith is such a serious journalist that all drama, all interest is beaten to a pulp. I'd rather watch a video loop of a woman in cowboy boots jumping on broken glass for an hour than try to read this book straight through to the end. This b ...more
May 19, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it
Very well done, and held my interest --- no mean feat, as I have almost none in Diana or the Prince of Wales. Smith does a serious biography of a young woman who had no chance to live a "serious" life, as she was shanghaied at 19 into an existence that would have mauled someone with far more gravitas than Diana possessed then or ever in her short, sad life. Bedell Smith is unflinching in her presentation of the Princess of Wales as someone suffering from actual mental illness (Charles and the re ...more
Apr 30, 2008 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandra by: myself
In some point, Diana's life wasn't easy. She had a lot of stress, with photographers all around her, being a queen, not being beloved for her husband, wanting other man, caring for people. Living in sadness because she wasn't close to the one that she really loved. Crying because she not always had the "normal life" that she wanted, dreamed about.
Having no good life at all, this did not prevent her to love her children. William and Harry were her best treasure life could give her. She tried to b
Feb 09, 2016 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad story of a very troubled young woman.
Jan 03, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read about the royals
This book allows us an inside look at Diana, Princess of Wales, her childhood, how she met and was courted by Prince Charles, her relationships with her sons, relationships after Charles. A wonderful look at a princess who was all too real and taken us from us much too soon.
Aug 20, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Diana nearly brought down the House of Windsor. Boy oh boy, did they miscalculate and mismanage. Happily, they have learned and adjusted. The Duchess of Cambridge is (almost?) unreal. Kudos to the current PR team.
Aug 16, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
Seems to be a pretty fair analysis & extensive research on the part of the author. Brings much understanding of the interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics of the individuals involved in her life. Enjoying the read!
Nov 09, 2015 Robin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: england
Wow. What an actress Diana was.

An insightful look at the possible psychological undercurrents of the personality of the Princess of Wales.

I have changed my mind about her -- again.
Jan 17, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
I read this not because of a vested interest in Princess Diana, but to learn more about borderline personality disorder. This made for a more compelling read than I'd anticipated.
3.5 stars. I never knew she had so much going on emotionally. This was a really in depth look into Princess Di's life. Very interesting.
Elizabeth Boyde
Oct 03, 2014 Elizabeth Boyde rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I found the book so insightful. It really showed Diana Frances (Spencer) Windsor in a completely new light.
Chrisi McGlone
Jan 14, 2013 Chrisi McGlone rated it did not like it
I would not read this book unless you are very emotionally strong, very depressing.
Jan 10, 2011 Jacquie rated it it was ok
Became repetitive in thought. Definitely a different take on the Diana situation.
Dec 10, 2008 Sharon rated it really liked it
I have no excuse. I read it, nothing new.
Apr 30, 2012 Nance rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the book.
Dec 16, 2012 Jules rated it it was ok
It was okay...
Jul 29, 2011 Emily marked it as to-read
Anna B
Anna B rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2016
Paula marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Andrea Hill
Andrea Hill marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2016
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Author of six biographies: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Random House 2102); For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years (Random House 2007); Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House (Random House 2004); Diana In Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess (Random House 2004); Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Churchill H ...more
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