How Did Princess Diana Become More Famous Than Prince Charles?

There was a specific moment when Prince Charles realized that his wife, Princess Diana, had become more famous than he was. No doubt he was surprised – after all, she was technically a commoner, and he was the heir to the British throne. How was it possible that the public loved her more?

The royal wedding was a turning point

An estimated 750 million people worldwide tuned in to watch Lady Diana Spencer wed her prince on July 29, 1981. The nuptial ceremony costed about $110 million (adjusted for inflation). People were absolutely riveted by the formal traditions and fairytale aspect of it all. Princess Diana became an overnight sensation after that.

Princess Diana wedding

Princess Diana’s wedding | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Her popularity skyrocketed following the wedding

It was an ordinary day when the future king finally figured it out. As Lady Elizabeth Anson, party planner and a cousin to the Queen, told People magazine, “[Diana] sort of metamorphosed into a very, very elegant blonde beauty.”

The newlyweds were making an appearance in North Wales right after their honeymoon in Balmoral. They were visiting North Wales when Prince Charles figured it out. Viewing the cheering crowds, he was struck with a realization. As Lady Anson recalls, Charles said, “They’ve come out to see my wife, they haven’t come out to see me’.”

Prince Charles was jealous of Diana

Some husbands would have been happy to let their wives have the spotlight. But Prince Charles was a different sort. Sources claim he was bitter and irritated by his wife’s popularity. That’s not the main reason their marriage eventually fell apart – but it was a big part of it.

So how did the Prince cope? Some sources notice that even though Prince Charles and Princess Diana were the exact same height (5 feet, 8 inches), he still insisted on appearing taller than she was in any official photographs. Based on those pictures, people may assume he towered over her even though that wasn’t the case.

Princess Diana during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983

Princess Diana visits a community centre in Brixton. | Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

She became the “People’s Princess”

One reason Princess Diana was so popular? She did so many good things in her life. Overwhelmed with media attention, Diana turned her focus to her own interests rather than sticking to the status quo of palace life. She was a strong supporter of charities, helped the homeless, reached out to people living with AIDS, and took a special interest in impoverished children such as those in orphanages. She had a big heart and a giving spirit. Also, she loved children from a young age.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana | Pierre Verdy/ AFP/ Getty Images

The public didn’t relate to Prince Charles

Unlike Princess Diana, Prince Charles does not capture the public’s attention in the same way. In fact, some people would prefer that his more popular son Prince William become king when Queen Elizabeth passes away. But since the British monarchy is steeped in tradition, it’s unlikely that will ever happen.

Some sources speculate that Prince Charles’ jealousy didn’t stop when Princess Diana died tragically in a car crash. They think he’s jealous of his own two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. They even think he envies his grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis thanks to their popularity.

Good thing the rise to the throne isn’t a popularity contest, however. No matter what your personal feelings on Prince Charles, he’s going to become king eventually, even if people did love his wife Princess Diana more.