It’s no secret Prince Charles and Princess Diana did not have a happy marriage. In fact, the union barely had a fighting chance from the time Charles proposed for this reason (hint: it wasn’t out of love). The couple, who barely knew each other, was up against the pressure of being in the public eye and a 12-year age difference. But most importantly, their marriage was marred by the fact that Charles was still in love with his former flame, Camilla Parker Bowles.
According to Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, the young princess had strong suspicions of her husband’s relationship with Camilla from the time they were engaged and Charles bought his former lover a piece of jewelry customized with an inside joke. However, those close to the princess denied the affair, causing her to question her own sanity. The Queen Mother even told her friends Diana was a “silly girl” for imagining such things. Despite this, Diana pressed on with her belief and even confronted Camilla about the affair—here’s what happened when she did.
However, Diana’s suspicions about Charles’ affair were indeed correct. And in fact, some of the people denying her claims were the very people trying to hide the illicit relationship from her. According to a new foreword in Morton’s book, Charles asked his staff’s assistance to cover up his affair with Camilla. Charles’ bodyguard was forced to accompany the prince on illicit nighttime visits to see Camilla, while his chef and butler were instructed to cook dinner even though they knew Charles would be out with his lover. Charles’ valet was instructed to mark up the TV listings guide to make it look like the prince had spent the night at home watching television. When Charles broke his arm in a polo accident, his staff was responsible for listening to police radios to track Diana’s journey to the hospital, so they could get Camilla out of Charles’ room before the princess arrived.
Charles’ staff were sickened by the deception, according to Morton, and predicted the imploding of the marriage. In 1994, the secret came out when Charles admitted to the affair publicly, two years after he and Diana had officially separated. The couple finally divorced in 1996 and Charles went on to marry Camilla in 2005. The two are still happily married, but here’s why they didn’t wed each other in the first place.