Prince Charles and Princess Diana Both Wanted to Call Off the Wedding — So Why Did They Get Married?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana certainly didn’t have the happiest marriage within the royal family. Though the public wasn’t made aware until much later, Charles and Diana’s marriage was struggling before it even began. And it turns out both of them told friends or family how little they wanted to go through with the wedding — so why did they?

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

Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage crumbled shortly after it started

When Charles and Diana met, it wasn’t love at first sight. Charles had returned from the Navy to find that his true love, Camilla Parker Bowles, had married another man. With that, he was approaching his 30th birthday and was still single. The prince knew he needed a wife, and the family felt Diana was the one.

The couple went on only 12 dates before Charles proposed. And before they even wed, they knew they weren’t in love. A few years after the two were married, Charles and Diana both engaged in extramarital affairs, but Charles’ affair with Camilla, to whom he is now married, was the most infamous one. The couple’s marriage crumbled when Diana learned of the affair, and the two officially divorced in 1996. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced in 1996.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced in 1996. | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Diana had wanted to call off the wedding the day before it took place

Long after Diana and Charles had separated, we learned that the two always had an awkward dynamic and never got along extremely well. Royal biographer Andrew Morton once revealed that Diana had told her sisters she wanted to back out of the wedding the day before it took place. However, her sisters didn’t sympathize with her and felt it was too late for her to “chicken out,” according to Express.  

Diana went through with the wedding, though we now know that she felt poorly about it the entire time.

Charles reportedly told friends he wasn’t in love with Diana before the wedding

On the opposite end, Charles was feeling the same way — but neither ever spoke about it with the other. Express reports that Charles confided in friends shortly before marrying Diana, saying he felt that she was “a child” and that she didn’t seem old enough to be getting married.

According to Express, a royal documentary revealed that Charles had told friends he was “terrified” of marrying Diana because he already knew it was a mistake.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding
Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

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Charles had a reputation to keep — and so did Diana

Though Charles and Diana weren’t in love, they still ended up getting married. Charles was older than most kings on his wedding day, and the pressure was on for him to start a family and have an heir. Had the pressure not been there, Charles might have had more of an inclination to call off the big day.

Charles also blamed the media for the failed marriage. From the moment he and Diana started dating, there was a tremendous amount of pressure to propose. Charles reportedly told his friends that the “power and influence” the media had over an engagement was “unstoppable.” Ultimately, the marriage failed, but the couple did have two kids together, and the public seems to adore both.