When Prince Charles and Princess Diana tied the knot in 1981, an estimated 750 million people around the world watched the royal couple say “I do.” It seemed like the fairy-tale romance of the generation until 11 years later, when their marriage fell to pieces.
Although both Charles and Diana had their share of affairs, one stands out in particular: Prince Charles going back to his former flame Camilla Parker Bowles. At the time, the public largely blamed Charles’ relationship with Camilla for the breakdown of his marriage to Diana. It became the scandal of the decade, with most outsiders siding with Diana during their separation. So it might come as a shock that Prince Philip actually encouraged his son to cheat. These are 9 things Princess Diana lost after the divorce.
Prince Philip had reportedly sent a letter to Charles telling him to either commit for life or break up with Diana. In the minds of the royal family, the future king should find someone to settle down with, not flit through a series of short-term flings.
Despite urging Charles to rush into marriage, Prince Philip seemed to know it wouldn’t be true love. Charles’ longtime love interest, Camilla, was already married and clearly unavailable for a spot in the royal family, but that didn’t mean she would stay out of the picture—and Diana was well aware of the affair.
“My father-in-law said to my husband, ‘If your marriage doesn’t work out, you can always go back to her [Camilla] after five years,’” Princess Diana claimed to her voice coach, “which is exactly, I mean for real, I knew that it happened after five. I knew something was happening before that, but the fifth year I had confirmation.” Find out how Princess Diana confronted Camilla about the affair.
Public opinion tends to blame Camilla for the divorce, but the marriage might have been doomed from the start. Reportedly, Charles wasn’t in love and wouldn’t have asked Diana to marry him if it weren’t for the pressure from the media and from his own father to pop the question. “He has candidly told his close circle of friends, ‘I desperately wanted to get out of the wedding in 1981 when during the engagement I discovered just how awful the prospects were, having had no chance whatsoever to get to know Diana beforehand,’” writes Robert Jobson in the book Charles At Seventy: Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams. The two had only met 13 times before the wedding, and Diana, too, was having second thoughts, telling her sisters “I can’t do this” before the ceremony.
In hindsight, perhaps Charles should have waited for Camilla in the first place. The two have been married since 2005 and seem to have settled into their own happily-ever-after. Don’t miss these other 50 things you never knew about the British royal family.