Years before meeting Dodi Fayed, the man who shared her final weeks, she had talked about reaching a time when she can enjoy weekends in Paris, about the possibility of living abroad in France and of meeting someone "who’s foreign or has a lot of foreign blood in him". Most poignantly, however, she said ‘I’ve got things to do and time is precious.’ Diana told Peter Settelen, who gave her lessons in public speaking; ‘I do believe we know a bit about when we’re going to go’. He felt that she didn’t have much time to achieve all that she wanted.
While these insights, along with the advice she took from astrologers, psychics and clairvoyants, did not guide her day to day movements, the Princess had nurtured her spiritual side from childhood. She believed she was looked after "in the spirit world" by her paternal grandmother, Countess Spencer, who was one of the great beauties of her day. Her married life to the 7th Earl Spencer was unhappy, so the Countess threw herself into charitable works. Many believe Diana modeled herself on her grandmother.
In 1986, the year Charles claimed the rekindled his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana sought the advice of astrologer Penny Thornton, whom she had met through the Duchess of York. "I just want to see if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel", she explained. Between 1987 and 1992, Diana regularly consulted Betty Palko at her Surrey semi. Betty describes the Princess during those years as "beautiful but sad. She had deep emotional problems and believed I could help". She repeatedly warned Diana she was being cheated on in her marriage and told her to beware of deceit and treachery. Later, Diana consulted Debbie Frank, who remained her astrologer until her death.
In 1992, she had come to an arranged meeting with astrologer Felix Lyle at the Fulham home of their mutual friend, Dr. James Colthurst. She was so scared of the consequences of the step she intended to take that she needed to find out what the stars had to say about it. That step was going public about the misery and hypocrisy of her marriage to Prince Charles in Andrew Morton’s controversial biography. "Should I go ahead with it?" she asked Lyle. That was when he spread out his charts and explained how difficult it would be. She absorbed it all and shrugged. It would be hard, but the charts didn’t say no. "In the end, we agreed that she had a tremendous grievance", said Lyle. "She was fighting for her independence and, despite my warning, she felt that this might be the only opportunity she would get to express how difficult it had been for her".
She shared her beliefs, as well as studying books on the subject, with friends. She wrote to tell Richard Greene, whom she had met at the Chelsea Harbour Club, how much she had enjoyed reading the book Journey Into Spiritual Healing which he had given her. Reincarnation was one subject Diana discussed with Richard over lunch. "I’m not coming back", she told him brightly, and he understood this to mean that she believed she would achieved everything she was meant to in her life.
For three years, healer Simone Simmons visited her once a week. She had her Kensington Palace apartment rearranged by an expert in feng shui, a Chinese art of harmonious interior design, and often she wore a white crystal, symbolizing a clear mind, stability and harmony.Therapists came and went. Many of them felt that Diana’s visits to them were more to do with her wish to engage with the world beyond the palace gates, but some, such as Ursula Gatley, to whom the Princess went twice a month for colonic irrigation, became trusted friends. Others were dropped because she often suspected them of betraying confidences.
Diana spoke frequently about déjà vu experiences and hearing voices. "I've got a lot of that déjà vu. Places I think I’ve been before, people I’ve met", she said. It was this unusual gift that lay behind her decision to attend the 1988 party to mark the 40th birthday of Annabel Elliot, Camilla’s sister, hosted by Lady Annabel Goldsmith at her home at Ham Common. The Princess said that she heard a voice compelling her to go.
It was not only as an adult that Diana claimed to have had premonitions. At thirteen, she had told her father, Earl Spencer, "I’m going to marry someone who is in the public eye". Four years later, while staying with friends in Norfolk, she had a vision that her father was going to be seriously ill. "I recalled saying: I've got this strange feeling that he’s going to drop down, if he does, he’ll die immediately, otherwise he’ll survive. I heard myself say this and thought nothing more about it", said Diana. "Next day, the telephone rang and I said to my friends that will be about Daddy. It was, he collapsed". The Earl survived but was crippled by the stroke he had suffered.
Diana never claimed anything more than having instincts about what was going to happen. "I have feelings about things". Despite her insights, the Princess was never one for mottoes or sayings, expect for one that has a spiritual resonance "Today is the present, yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery".
Diana: The Untold Story, By Richard Kay. Publication Date: 01 July 1998
Princess Diana's Astrologer Debbie Frank