A princess hav­ing the time of her life

Leav­ing stuffy Royal du­ties be­hind: Diana splash­ing out with her beloved boys on Thorpe Park days out

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Beth Duf­fell

WHEN pho­tographs of Princess Diana at Thorpe Park ap­peared in news­pa­pers across the globe in the 1990s, many were de­lighted to see her act­ing as a nor­mal mum, hav­ing the time of her life with her young boys, Princes Wil­liam and Harry.

Dressed ca­su­ally for her vis­its, the Princess of Wales loved ev­ery mo­ment on the rides and had no qualms about get­ting soaked on the popular log flume wa­ter ride, Log­ger’s Leap.

The ride is cur­rently closed for gen­eral main­te­nance so we thought now was the per­fect time to look back on the images of the late peo­ple’s princess en­joy­ing trips to the Chert­sey theme park with the boys she doted on.

Our ar­chive pho­tos show Diana brav­ing the rapids on the Thun­der River ride, as well as zoom­ing down a large wa­ter slide in a yel­low dinghy on Depth Charge with her chil­dren.

Suzanne Shorter, nee Mor­ris, worked at Thorpe Park when she was a stu­dent for three sea­sons be­tween 1989 and 1992, and she told the In­former of her mem­o­ries of Diana at the theme park.

“I worked on rides and at­trac­tions and was one of the ride op­er­a­tors,” she said.

“When I joined you started off in rides and at­trac­tions on the small kids’ rides and then you went up to rides like the Fly­ing Fish and the big­ger rides like Log­ger’s Leap.

“That’s the one where there’s the syn­ony­mous pic­ture of Princess Diana.”

Mrs Shorter has vivid mem­o­ries of one of Diana’s vis­its when she was able to talk to the princess.

Mrs Shorter re­calls: “You were as­signed your ride each day or week, de­pend­ing on your shift.

“I was on the kids’ area and I re­mem­ber Harry and Wil­liam were very young.

“It was like a merry-gor­ound and you started in a car and went up and down as well as round and round.

“It was prob­a­bly one of the first rides she went on.”

Staff had not been told of the visit so were shocked when Diana and the young princes ar­rived.

Mrs Shorter said: “We were told to re­port to our rides and I re­mem­ber look­ing around the cor­ner and there she was with the boys.

“My heart was rac­ing and I just wanted ev­ery­thing to go right. She was so friendly and chatty. She said to me ‘does this ride go fast?’ I said no, not too fast. Then she said she had had quite a large breakfast. Then she got on the ride and that was that.”

One of the main mem­o­ries for Mrs Shorter, who now re­sides in Cam­ber­ley, but lived in Sun­bury at the time, was that Diana just seemed a reg­u­lar par­ent mak­ing the most of a day out with her chil­dren.

Speak­ing about the late Princess, she said: “She looked so nor­mal, just a nor­mal mum hav­ing fun with her boys.

“She wasn’t dolled up to the nines. She had a lit­tle leather bomber jacket on I think and her hair hadn’t been preened by a hair­dresser.”

Mrs Shorter re­called it be­ing an ex­cit­ing day for staff at the park.

She added: “Princess Diana came to the park once or twice – maybe even three times.

“I don’t re­mem­ber see­ing a big en­tourage with her.”

Mrs Shorter looks back fondly at her stu­dent days work­ing at Thorpe Park.

“It was a great place to work,” she said.

The hair ap­par­ent: Windswept and wet through, but did we ever see a pic­ture of Diana look­ing hap­pier?

Luck­ily, the wet look was in vogue for a while back in the day...

Keep­ing the Royal fam­ily afloat: Care­free days at Thorpe Park.

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