How Prince Harry’s Birth Pushed Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Marriage Over the Edge

Prince Charles and Princess Diana had one of the most disastrous marriages in history. But even though many royal fans blame the Prince of Wales for most of the drama, the truth was Charles and Diana were never well-suited to one another.

Fans still speculate on whether Charles and Diana would have lasted if circumstances had been slightly different. If Prince Charles had never met and fallen in love with Camilla, if Diana had been a little older when they got married, if they would have had more children… would this couple still be married and waiting to rule the United Kingdom?

It turns out there is one key factor that may have saved Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage — and it all has to do with Prince Harry.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
The Prince and Princess of Wales | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Prince Charles and Princess Diana barely knew each other when they got married

Some people marry for love. But when you’re the future king, sometimes your sense of duty outweighs your desire for a romantic partnership. Even though Prince Charles barely knew Diana Spencer when they got engaged, he agreed to make a commitment to her because his parents believed she had a suitable lineage and, most importantly, she was a virgin when they wed.

There’s a good chance that Prince Charles believed he would grow to love his bride, but it’s obvious he didn’t feel that way even after they got engaged. During an interview just after they announced their upcoming nuptials, when asked if he loved Diana, the Prince of Wales famously responded, “Whatever love means.”

Charles kept in touch with his ex

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla | TIM GRAHAM/Getty Images

Though Prince Charles swears he didn’t begin a physical affair with Camilla until after his relationship with Diana was damaged beyond repair, he did engage in an emotional affair by maintaining contact with her throughout the duration of his marriage.

In fact, Charles gave Camilla a personalized bracelet with the letters “G” and “F” engraved into it just two weeks before his royal wedding. The two called each other by the code names Gladys and Fred. Just before she found the gift, Diana overheard Charles on the phone with Camilla saying he would “always love” her.

If Prince Charles had cut ties with Camilla completely when he wed Diana, there’s a chance he never would have split from his first wife.

If Prince Harry had been a girl, it could have saved their marriage

Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Princess Diana
Prince Harry and the Prince and Princess of Wales | PA Images via Getty Images

Prince Charles made no attempt to hide that he wanted his second child to be a daughter. Diana said she knew the baby was a girl from the sonogram but kept it hidden from her husband to delay his disappointment. According to her, the best days of their marriage happened right before their second child’s birth when there was still a chance Harry might be a daughter.

In Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story, the Princess of Wales recalled, “Charles and I were very, very close to each other the six weeks before Harry was born, the closest we’ve ever, ever been and ever will be. Then, suddenly, as Harry was born, it just went bang, our marriage. The whole thing went down the drain.” 

When Charles learned his new baby was a boy, he said, “Oh God, it’s a boy,” and remarked on Harry’s red hair. Later he allegedly told Princess Diana’s mother “We were so disappointed — we thought it would be a girl.”

If Prince Charles had stopped speaking to Camilla and Harry had been a girl, there’s a chance this couple could have survived. But we’ll never know for sure.