How Did Prince Charles and Princess Diana Meet?

The story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana is one that’s known the world over. But we’re answering a question about the early days of their relationship: How did they meet? Keep reading to learn the answer.

How did Prince Charles and Princess Diana meet?

Prince Charles had multiple people telling him who to marry. One being his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who wanted his nephew to marry Amanda Knatchball, his granddaughter. He also told his nephew he should “choose a suitable attractive and sweet-character girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for.”

The Queen Mother also gave Prince Charles advice on suitable matches. However, she disagreed with Mountbatten. She thought the prince should marry one of the granddaughters of her lady-in-waiting, Lady Ruth Fermoy.

That’s how Prince Charles came to know the Spencer family. Prince Charles dated Sarah Spencer — Princess Diana’s sister — in 1977. And that’s how he met Diana. Thirteen years later in 1980, Diana and Prince Charles began dating. Their relationship progressed quickly soon after.

How long did they date before getting engaged?

Prince Charles proposed to Diana in Feb. 1981 and the two got married in July of the same year. At the time of the proposal, Prince Charles and Diana had been on 12 dates together, according to Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life.

The prince thought he could “learn to love” Diana as his grandparents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, did in their arranged courtship.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Central Press/Getty Images

Prince Charles also said he wanted to get married near the age of 30 and that he felt pressured by his father to marry and start a family.

How old were Prince Charles and Diana when they started dating?

When Prince Charles and Diana started dating in 1980, he was 31 years old and she was 18 years old.

Their age gap became a problem for the couple on their honeymoon.

Diana thought she’d be spending time with Charles, talking and bonding. Charles, on the other hand, brought with him all the supplies necessary to paint.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

He spent hours painting on the deck of the royal yacht they were honeymooning on, which infuriated Diana. When the prince stepped away from his painting materials, Diana took it upon herself to destroy everything so her new husband couldn’t use them.

The couple welcomed their first child, Prince William in 1982 and then their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.

When did Prince Charles meet Camilla?

Today, Camilla’s formal title is Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall. But in 1970, when she met Prince Charles, she was known as Camilla Shand.

Camilla and Prince Charles met at a polo match in Windsor Great Park. They shared a similar sense of humor and both enjoyed polo and nature. They made a habit of meeting up at polo matches before spending time together at Lord Mountbatten’s estate, Broadlands.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are seen together in late 1979 | Tim Graham/Getty Images

Their relationship came to a stop when Prince Charles left for the Royal Navy. Instead of telling Camilla how he felt, he left, and in the eight months Charles was away, Camilla began dating Andrew Parker Bowles. Bowles and Camilla met in 1965 and got engaged while Prince Charles went through his naval training. They married in July 1973.

Camilla and Prince Charles reportedly began having an affair in 1986. Their affair became a major source of conflict in Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage.