Will Prince Charles Ever Be Forgiven for the Way He Treated Princess Diana?

We all know the story. Once upon a time Prince Charles married Princess Diana, but the two did not live happily ever after.

The future king was still in love with his ex when he and Diana tied the knot on July 29, 1981. Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles began communicating and seeing each other behind Diana’s back. In her recordings to biographer Andrew Morton, the Princess of Wales revealed that she found out and eventually confronted her husband’s mistress. However, Camilla and Charles continued to carry on their affair with no regard for how she felt.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles, who may never be forgiven for how he treated his first wife, at a banquet dinner during their visit to New Zealand
Princess Diana and Prince Charles attend a banquet dinner during their visit to New Zealand | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

It’s been well over two decades since the princess’s death but no length of time can ever erase what happened. So what does that mean for the future king? Will the public ever forgive Prince Charles for how he treated Princess Diana? And what about Camilla who will one day be his queen consort?

Part of the population may never forgive Prince Charles

A few years after their nuptials took place, reports swirled that the Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage was crumbling and both Charles and Diana were having extramarital affairs. That turned out to be true but the prince was the first to casually admit to his affair with Camilla during a televised interview in 1994. That wasn’t a wise move as Diana then became the sympathetic character in their love story gone wrong.

Then when the world heard the princess’s side of things during her bombshell Panorama interview a year later, many completely turned on Prince Charles. It was hard not to feel bad for Diana when she spoke about her “deep, deep, profound sadness” over her marriage ending.

The royal couple divorced in 1996 and Diana tragically died in a car crash the following year.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles looking unhappy at an event in Canada
Princess Diana and Prince Charles at an event in Canada | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In the years since her death, Charles’ popularity has never been particularly high.

His good works don’t make headlines that often, and polls done time and time again show that most Brits would rather the crown skip over him and go to Prince William. That shows that much of the public still hasn’t forgiven him for the hurt he caused Diana during their ill-fated marriage. Moreover, the older generation who consider his first wife the queen of people’s hearts likely won’t ever forgive him.

Camilla won’t ever be fully embraced either

But it’s not only about Prince Charles. His mistress-turned-second-wife isn’t innocent in this royal saga.

After Diana’s died, Charles and Camilla delayed going public with their relationship for fear of backlash. Two years later, they were photographed together and hoped enough time had passed for Camilla to try and endear herself to Britons. The pair wed in 2005 and Camilla worked hard over the years to build up her reputation.

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles attend the 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles at the 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony | Karwai Tang/WireImage

It seemed like time may have been healing those old wounds and people had started to embrace the Duchess of Cornwall. There were a few documentaries and books that came out here and there which brought out some ill feelings against her, but nothing stirred up the public’s anger like season 4 of The Crown.

The fourth season of the Netflix show was released in 2020. It highlighted Charles and Diana’s unhappy marriage and the Prince of Wales’ affair with Camilla as well as their alleged behavior toward the princess, and that infuriated many viewers. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s social media accounts were flooded with hateful comments aimed at Camilla with some calling her a “monster” and a “house breaker.” Things got so bad that the couple disabled their Twitter comments for some time.

Just like with her husband, as long as what happened is rehashed and remains fresh in people’s minds Camilla won’t ever be completely accepted. As royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams put it when he spoke about the topic to Express: “Anything to do with Diana, which is constantly in the news, does bring back past memories … and this brings back Diana … There will always be a section of society that are far from enamored by Camilla. That’s the way of the world.”

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