'Miss Diana' letters

Talking brightly of nest-building and the joy of time alone with her husband, these  are the letters of an apparently  blissful bride. Yet as was to become all too clear, Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles was riddled with tensions from the start.
Despite this, the previously unpublished personal correspondence reveals the Princess of Wales was, in those early years at least, able to keep up appearances. Signing herself as ‘Miss Diana’, the letters provide a glimpse into the private life of the couple, whom she dubbed simply ‘Mr & Mrs Wales’. In a poignant echo, her son Prince William and his new bride are also said to call each other Mr and Mrs Wales in private. Diana wrote about her ‘heavenly’ honeymoon in Balmoral and her plans to make Highgrove a ‘cosy nest’. And she confided to a friend her nerves over a  visit to Wales – one of her earliest royal duties  – and, with William’s arrival, described the joy of becoming a mother.
But the image conjured by the hand-written letters is starkly at odds with Diana’s later claims that she was desperately unhappy.  In her letters – which are littered with exclamation marks and the odd spelling mistake – Diana wrote of the pride she felt about her ‘two little men’, her young sons William and Harry. One note is daubed with inky smudges, which Diana said were William’s fingerprints.
The correspondence was revealed for the first time yesterday as it was put up for sale by its recipient, retired school principal Margaret Hodge. The two women became friends when they worked together at the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico, London, before Diana’s marriage. It was a friendship that continued until the Princess of Wales’s death in 1997.
Diana was just 20 when she began writing to her friend, whom she called ‘Dearest Margaret’, but throughout the years there is little hint of the trouble inside her marriage. In 1986 she wrote to Mrs Hodge to thank her for sending a card to mark her fifth wedding anniversary. ‘The five years have flown by,’ she wrote. But she was later to confess to beginning an affair with Major James Hewitt in 1986, and Charles said he rekindled his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in the same year.
Mrs Hodge, 69, said: ‘I know she was very much in love with Prince Charles and she just wanted to be loved in return.’ The letters are expected to sell for around £20,000 when they go up for auction in Colchester on June 21.