The Four Words Prince Charles Said That Left Princess Diana “Traumatized”

Four words, one giant red flag. How did we miss it?

Forget for a moment what you know about how things turned out for Prince Charles and his first wife, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and remember, instead, their fairytale wedding, which was watched by close to 30 million people all over the world. The first-born son of Queen Elizabeth II could have married anyone, presumably, but he chose Diana, a beautiful, soft-spoken school-teacher more than a decade younger than him. They’d met years earlier, but their romance bloomed quickly in the wake of the death of his beloved uncle, Lord Mountbatten. As Diana offered comfort to Charles, he suddenly saw her in a new light.

However, that new light may not have been “love.” In fact, a glance back at the first interview Charles and Diana gave after their engagement had been announced in 1981 reveals an awkward moment that might have revealed everything there was to know about their upcoming union. There were a few little-known awkward moments on the day of the wedding, too, including these secrets you didn’t know about Prince Charles’ and Diana’s wedding.

When the interviewer asked the couple if they were in love, Charles turned to Diana as if to see what she would say. “Of course,” she scoffed before glancing away. Charles then said, “Well, whatever in love means.”

Whatever. In. Love. Means.

That’s what he said, and many probably thought, “how adorably demure” or “such witty banter.” But it wasn’t adorable or witty—it was Charles likely revealing his true feelings for Diana, or rather, his lack thereof.

“That threw me completely,” Diana remarked much later, after the couple’s dirty laundry had been publicly aired. “It absolutely traumatized me.” What may have made it even worse was that Diana didn’t know exactly what the problem was. She merely knew her husband-to-be’s comment seemed odd. Even when Diana discovered, just weeks before her wedding, a bracelet Charles had made for Camilla Parker Bowles, the woman he’d always loved and to whom he’s now married, she had trouble processing it. Although this was a challenge for Diana, it’s not the day Diana called the “worst in her life.

Of course, Diana eventually came to understand and accept that Charles didn’t love her, certainly not the way he had loved Camilla. Eventually, the rest of the world followed suit when Diana and Charles went on to separate in 1992 and divorce in 1996. The divorce didn’t end the royal gossip, and there were some secrets about Princess Diana we only learned after her tragic death.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.