Her first impression of Prince Charles was "pretty amazing" but she later found certain things "odd" about their courtship.
"I don't go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head," said Princess Diana, all the way back in November 1995 when she spoke to Martin Bashir for the famous BBC1 Panorama interview.
Diana earned herself the title of being "the people's princess," and she was able to win the hearts of people of all ages and across different parts of the world. Although her marriage to Prince Charles fell apart, her empathy was what her husband of more than a decade found attractive about her.
Prince Charles first met Diana in the year 1977 when she was only 16 years old and he was 29. "I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was," Prince Charles said in an interview about their first meeting, as quoted by Harper's Bazaar. "I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything."
Diana also said that she had a "pretty amazing" first impression when she met Prince Charles as a 16-year-old. Back when they first met, she had no idea that she would someday walk down the aisle to exchange wedding vows with the prince.
It was around three years after their first meeting that Prince Charles and Diana met again while attending a house party in 1980, reported Express.
Early on in their relationship, Prince Charles felt drawn to her emotional intelligence and her unique way of connecting with people, according to claims made by Sarah Bradford, a leading royal expert who has penned several biographies on members of the British royal family.
"Diana was a lovely young girl," wrote Bradford, as quoted by Express. "It was, above all, her extraordinary powers of empathy, her ability, as she later put it, 'to smell out suffering' which attracted the Prince."
When they reconnected at the party in 1980, Diana's sensitive side came out as she touched upon the deaths of Lord Mountbatten and his grandson, who were both related to Prince Charles. Their deaths had taken place the year before they reconnected.
"Her empathy with him over Mountbatten’s death and his own deep sadness and need for consolation touched the Prince deeply," Bradford wrote. "Charles, it would seem, was strangely interested in this young girl who had actually had the self-possession to turn him down."
In Bradford's book, the author also included Diana's reaction to meeting Prince Charles at the party in 1980, which was quoted by Andrew Morton in Diana: Her true story – in her own words.
"Charles came in. He was all over me again and it was very strange," Diana was quoted saying. "I thought ‘Well, this isn’t very cool’. I thought men were not supposed to be so obvious, I thought this was very odd..."
She recalled the conversation she had with Prince Charles that day, "I said: 'You looked so sad when you walked up the aisle at Lord Mountbatten’s funeral. It was the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen. My heart bled for you when I watched. I thought, 'It’s wrong, you’re lonely – you should be with somebody to look after you.' The next minute he leapt on me practically and I thought this was very strange too, and I wasn’t quite sure how to cope with all this."
During the initial phase of their relationship, the couple would mostly speak to each other on the phone, and although there were certain things that Diana found "intense," she described the courtship as "odd."
According to The Telegraph, in the documentary, Diana: In her Own Words, Diana said, "He'd ring me up every day for a week and then he wouldn't speak to me for three weeks; very odd. And I'd accepted that and I thought fine, well he knows where I am if he wants me. And then the thrill when he used to ring up was so immense and intense, drive the other three girls in my flat crazy. But no, it was all, it was odd."
In 1981, the couple got engaged after meeting in-person just over a dozen times. "We met 13 times and we got married," Diana said, as quoted by Harper's Bazaar. And thus, began their tumultuous marriage that included challenges, cheating, and a lot of heartbreak for the Prince and Princess before they officially got a divorce in 1996.