How Diana spent her evenings eating beans on toast and watching EastEnders

·3-min read

Diana, Princess of Wales, one of the most famous women in the world, frequented glamorous galas and jetted around the globe – but her evenings were also spent eating beans on toast and watching EastEnders.

Edith Conn, 72, met the princess at a British Red Cross event in 1991 at Manchester Art Gallery where Diana opened up about her love of home comforts.

As the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex prepare to honour their mother with a statue on what would have been her 60th birthday, Ms Conn, who was president of the humanitarian charity’s Greater Manchester branch, recalled meeting the princess.

Edith Conn meeting Diana in 1991
Edith Conn meeting Diana in 1991 (British Red Cross/PA)

Ms Conn said: “She told me how highly she thought of the Red Cross and the wonderful work we do. And then we just chatted really.

“She was so approachable because she was so relaxed. When someone is relaxed, you relax with them, and it just made the whole experience better.”

She added: “I said ‘Ma’am, what do you do now? Do you have anywhere to be?

“And to my surprise she said ‘I’m going home tonight. I’m having beans on toast and watching EastEnders!’ I thought that was so funny.”

Eileen Nicol, who was chairwoman of the British Red Cross-run Activenture holiday camp for children with disabilities in Sussex, met Diana in 1985.

A diary entry written by Ms Nicol, which has been released by the charity, revealed the princess’s affection for the youngsters and how Diana, then just four years into being a member of the royal family, confessed to hating wearing a hat.

Eileen Nicol's diary about Diana's visit
Eileen Nicol’s diary recalling Diana’s visit (British Red Cross/PA)

Ms Nicol wrote: “The Princess of Wales was charming. She has so much compassion for the children. She spoke to every one of them and got right down on the ground to look at a collage and to speak to the little ones.

“It rained, but that didn’t seem to matter.

“She asked me how I got away with not wearing a hat. She hates hers. She wanted to know how I raise the money for the holiday. She’d certainly done her homework.”

Ms Nicol, 87, who is still a supporter of the British Red Cross, recalled 36 years later how the princess admitted she would have liked her job.

“She spoke to every one of us and she spoke so well. The children loved her, and she loved the children. She told me she wished she had my job,” she said.

Mehzebin Adam, curator at the British Red Cross, paid tribute to Diana’s charity work.

“Throughout her life, Princess Diana was a dedicated humanitarian who championed causes in the UK and overseas,” she said.

Royalty – Princess of Wales – British Red Cross – Angola – 1997
Diana, Princess of Wales cuddles a baby at the Kikolo health post in Angola where she was seeing the work of the British Red Cross in 1997 (John Stillwell/PA)

“From making connections with young people in her role as patron of the Red Cross Youth, to campaigning against landmines, she was one of our most dedicated supporters, using her public profile to make positive change.

“The impact of her work is not only remembered on what would have been her 60th birthday, but continues to have a lasting impact today.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting