By Alicia Brunker
Dec 24, 2018 @ 12:45 pm

When Princess Diana and Prince Charles broke up in the mid '90s, the former royal lost a lot of things: her title, charity commitments, friendships, and more. But perhaps the most impactful loss from their split was felt during the holidays. 

In December 1995, seven months before the couple's official divorce filing, Diana canceled plans to spend Christmas with Prince Charles and her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, at Sandringham, the royal estate in Norfolk, with the Queen. It was the first time she was away from her children for holiday, according to the Associated Press

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Instead, Diana enjoyed a quiet Christmas alone in her Kensington Palace apartment, where she took sleeping pills to get through the day per The Daily Mail.  

The change in Christmas tradition came somewhat as a shock since Charles and Diana, who were formally separated since 1992, spent the holiday as a family for the sake of their children. However, this particular year, there was good reason for Diana to keep her distance from the royals. 

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A month prior, during a BBC television interview, Diana admitted she had a lover and suggested her estranged husband was unfit to be king. She supposedly told friends it would be "intolerable" to face the royal family after her controversial public statements. She once told a friend, "I’d have gone up there (to Sandringham) in a BMW and come out in a coffin," referring to the glares she received from certain members of the monarchy. 

Two years later, and the absence of Diana at Christmas resulted in a "rather strained atmosphere in the house," following the princess's untimely death in the late summer. During her Christmas address to the country, the Queen described Diana's funeral as "almost unbearably sad."