Princess Diana (1961-1997) and Princess Grace (1929-1982) not only shared a similar fate, they were also good friends. The documentary “ZDFroyal: Lady Diana and Grace Kelly – Two Lives, One Destiny” traces this previously little-known connection and shows the many parallels between the two famous women – even in their tragic death (August 22, 8:15 p.m., ZDF).

The native American and the British did not have much time for their royal friendship. They first met in March 1981 and are said to have felt connected immediately. Only a year and a half later, on September 13, 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco died in a car accident at the age of only 52. But in the short time that had elapsed, they exchanged ideas, wrote letters, made phone calls and met on a few occasions. As the documentary reveals, it was Diana’s express wish that the Monegasque princess came to her wedding on July 29, 1981, drove her car behind the wedding carriage and stayed at Buckingham Palace with her son Albert (65). Likewise, after the death of her friend, the then Crown Princess is said to have asked to represent the British royal family at the funeral in Monaco. Recordings show how close the loss was to her: she shed many tears at the funeral service.

Because Grace Kelly was her great role model and an important mentor, as several nobility experts describe in the “ZDFroyal” program. The young princess turned to the former Hollywood star for advice on royalty, raising children and fashion inspiration. Some of her looks pay homage to Grace Kelly, and her favorite track jacket paid homage to the American’s hometown Philadelphia Eagles. Both women became style icons and were among the most photographed women of their time.

When they first met in London in 1981, it was Diana’s first public appearance as the fiancĂ©e of Crown Prince Charles (74). She was only 19 at the time. The experienced princess took the shy young woman under her wing and helped her through the flashbulbs. They were immediately on the same wavelength, says Thilo Wydra (born 1968), who also highlighted the royal friendship in his book “Grace Kelly and Diana Spencer. Two Women. Two Lives. One Destiny”. The former Hollywood star had already gone through what Diana was yet to come: getting married in the eyes of the world public, the pressure to father an heir to the throne, and life in a golden cage where your own needs no longer count. Grace Kelly had to give up her acting career and, like Diana later, come to terms with her new life under strict court protocol.

Both of them had similar experiences when they were children and received little love and attention from their families. That’s probably why they later “overwhelmed their own children with love,” says Wydra. As mothers, they set similar priorities in their upbringing and did a number of things differently than was customary at court up to that point. They didn’t leave everything to the nannies, but saw motherhood as their fulfillment. Diana, for example, also took her sons on trips abroad, which her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) never did.

In addition to raising their children, both were involved in charitable causes and were looking for a new job. Both Diana and Grace Kelly devoted themselves to people on the fringes of society, visiting orphanages and hospitals. The fact that they went to those in need and not only showed up at glamorous occasions is part of their legend, says Wydra. “Because that appeals to people.” They would have built a bridge to the people and made the palaces a whole lot more modern. This is her merit and has permanently changed the royal families in Monaco and Great Britain.

When Diana cried at the funeral of her friend, who died much too young, in 1982, she had no idea that the same fate would befall her 15 years later. In 1997, the mother of Prince William (41) and Prince Harry (38) also died in a car accident. Many rumors subsequently arose about both tragic events. It is “brutal and banal” that two princesses die “just like that” in an accident, says Wydra. “Even in death they are reflected.”