Even Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ Proposal Was a Disaster

Princess Diana continues to draw the public’s interest, twenty years after her untimely death. One of the biggest topics of interest is her ill-fated marriage to Prince Charles. While the couple did have two wonderful children together, their marriage was marked by sadness, tragedy, and missed signals. As it turned out, even the way that they got engaged should have spelled out trouble for the doomed couple. Read on to learn how Princess Diana first met Prince Charles and the strange way that they got engaged.

When did Princess Diana meet Prince Charles?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In 1977, when Prince Charles first crossed paths with a then-sixteen-year-old Diana Spencer, he was actually casually dating her older sister. Prince Charles was then considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors in the country, and reportedly was receiving a great deal of pressure to find a suitable wife and settle down.

However, his heart already belonged to Camilla Parker Bowles, a woman who was not considered to be an appropriate match for the future king. This meant that Prince Charles was already resigned to that fact that this marriage would not be for love.

Still, Spencer seemed the perfect candidate to be his wife. She was young, of noble birth, and had no history that the royal family could consider inappropriate. After only a few meetings with Spencer, Prince Charles started receiving pressure from his father, Prince Philip, to propose to the young woman. Between the push from his father and the relentless media interest in his private life, Prince Charles likely felt backed into a corner.

When did Prince Charles and Princess Diana get engaged?

At some point, Prince Charles decided that he would propose to Spencer, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t in love with her. On February 6th, 1981, Prince Charles invited his much-younger girlfriend to his home at Windsor Castle and popped the question to her.

Still, the moment that many young women dream about wasn’t so romantic for the pair. Reportedly, Spencer laughed nervously when Prince Charles asked her to be his wife. It seems likely that she didn’t quite believe the moment was real, as they had only been together a dozen times and she was still very young. The young Spencer agreed to his proposal and, a few weeks later, their engagement was announced to the world.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage ended in a bitter divorce

In the weeks leading up to their wedding, signs of trouble appeared. In the big engagement interview, part of the royal family tradition, Prince Charles was asked if he was in love with his bride-to-be. Prince Charles responded: “whatever love means.” The moment received a great deal of notoriety, with royal biographers looking back at that point in the interview as a sign that the pair should have jumped ship then and there.

Their marriage seems doomed from the beginning, and very early on, they experienced strain and strife. Reportedly, Princess Diana knew that Prince Charles was still in love with his former girlfriend: Parker Bowles. His infidelity also reportedly weighed heavily on her mind.

Their marriage lasted for fourteen years before they ultimately split in 1995, with their divorce being finalized in 1996. Tragically, Princess Diana the year following their divorce, without a true chance to find her happily-ever-after ending.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles might have had a troubled marriage but there were two bright spots: their sons Prince William and Prince Harry. There is no doubt that Princess Diana if she were alive today, would be incredibly proud of her sons and of the families that they have created.