“I covered the royals pretty extensively at the Today show, but I didn’t actually get to meet Diana until I was invited to attend a luncheon honoring her in Chicago in June of 1996,” the journalist, 62, recalled in an essay published by InStyle on Friday, August 30, one day before the 22nd anniversary of the late royal’s death.
“She was on a whirlwind trip to the U.S. I was asked to give some remarks, along with the journalist Anna Quindlen and Marlo Thomas,” Couric wrote. “I was nervous to meet Princess Diana and was seated two seats away from her at lunch. We chatted and she told me she liked my pink lipstick. Funny.”
The TV anchor wrote that she turned to Diana and asked, “You must be exhausted traveling and meeting so many people and having to shake hands with all these strangers. Are you excited to go home?”
According to Couric, the princess replied, “I would be, but I’m going home to an empty house.”
“I will never forget her response,” the Emmy nominee wrote in her essay. “This was as she was finalizing her divorce from Prince Charles, and she seemed a bit melancholy and lonely. My heart broke a little for her.”
In an attempt to cheer up Diana, Couric suggested the Princess of Wales “invite some friends over and have a slumber party.” Her proposal was met with a head tilt and quizzical look.
“Perhaps that’s why the world fell in love with Diana — she let people see her insecurity and vulnerability. She seemed to wear both on her sleeve,” the TV host wrote. “Yes, she was a princess, but somehow, she was like all of us.”
Diana and Charles, now 70, tied the knot at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in July 1981. They went on to welcome sons Prince William and Prince Harry. However, the couple separated in 1992 and finalized their divorce in August 1996, one month after the People’s Princess’ chat with Couric.
Since Diana’s death, William, 37, and Harry, 34, have made it a point to keep their mother’s memory alive. “They always discuss Diana’s charity work and brainstorm ways they can continue her legacy,” a source recently told Us Weekly exclusively. “Helping others and being a role model to those less fortunate is at the top of their priority list.”