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Even Borain seems to have mellowed. "I have no animosity against Charles," she told People. "He is not that bad a guy. He is just young and insecure like the rest of us."
In another family it might have seemed a predictable way to spend a summer weekend. At the invitation of her former son-in-law Prince Charles, Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, spent two days in July visiting with him and grandson Prince Harry (Prince William was off with friends) at Highgrove, Charles's country estate in Gloucestershire. The trio dined and chatted and took walks together in Charles's prized garden. "Charles is keen for Harry and William to see [Mrs. Shand Kydd]," says the British Press Association's Archer. "She is family, after all."
True, but lately Little Red Riding-Hood might have less trouble recognizing her grandmother. Tucked away in her modest, three-bedroom home on Scotland's Isle of Seil where she will probably mark the anniversary of Diana's death quietly Shand Kydd, 62, has seen little of the princes since riding on the train with them to their mother's burial at Althorp last September. And despite the friendly weekend a royal nod toward Diana's wish that her mother be consulted in the boys' upbringing that is not about to change. "The meeting was simply a gesture," says one insider. "The Spencers are treated with the same disregard as they always have been."
Displays of togetherness are just as rare among the Spencer clan. "Shand Kydd has tried to draw the family together," says Archer. "But there has not been any great show of unity." In fact the matriarch appears to have found as much comfort with commoners as with her own titled kin. In a recent documentary for FOX-TV, she told of mingling unrecognized with the crowds of mourners outside Kensington Palace after Diana's death. And when she is not busy hand-writing replies to the many thousands of sympathy letters she has since received, the Roman Catholic convert is occupied with works of charity, such as the trip to Lourdes that she chaperoned last Aprilfor a group of disabled children. "She thinks that the way to keep Diana's memory alive," says Majesty magazine's Seward, "is to keep on with her good work." Growing up, the Spencer girls were a study in contrasts: Sarah, the oldest, was the wildest of the bunch. Jane was considered quiet and dependable. Then came Diana, shy, pretty and eager to please the outgoing Sarah, whom she idolized from the start. "When Sarah returned home from West Heath School, Diana was a willing servant," Andrew Morton wrote in Diana: Her True Story, "unpacking her suitcases, running her bath, tidying her room."
Ironically, by the end of Diana's marriage, McCorquodale, now 43, had become her unofficial lady-in-waiting. "I think Sarah knew about Diana's affairs," says royals author Judy Wade. "In a way she even encouraged Diana to be wild and to have lovers." Meanwhile, Jane, 41, grew more distant from Di because of her own marriage and loyalty to Sir Robert Fellowes, who became the Queen's private secretary in 1990. Now, a year after Diana's death, the two sisters find themselves again in contrasting states: one thrust reluctantly into the public domain and the other constricted by her own grief.
Diana may have called her "the only person I know I can trust," but McCorquodale has had less success in winning the confidence of the British public. As president of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, she has borne the brunt of criticism that the fund has been slow to hand out its $132.8 million to charities and has accepted endorsement deals of questionable taste, associating Diana's memory with lottery tickets and margarine. (In March the fund dispensed its first $12.8 million to eight of Diana's favorite causes, and an additional $8 million is currently being distributed.) But a warmer reception may greet McCorquodale across the Atlantic. In the fall the fund will open an office in New York City. A town that saw a 300 percent jump in the number of newborns named Diana last fall is unlikely to balk at Princess of Wales keepsakes.
Yet the strain is beginning to show. "Sarah looks more tired, more drawn," says a royal watcher. "She has aged." Her three-hour commute twice a week from Lincolnshire where she lives with her husband, Neil, a farmer, and their three children to the fund's London office can't help. As for Fellowes, also the mother of three, her emotional state prevents her from pitching in. Still mourning deeply for Diana, who died before they could resolve the strain between them, Fellowes has kept a low profile.