Princess Diana Made a Plan to Avoid Divorce — But the Queen Wouldn’t Allow It

Princess Diana and Prince Charles certainly didn’t have a fairytale marriage. Charles proposed after only 12 dates, mostly due to the pressure of being an heir to the throne and not having been married before age 30.

Still, when everything unraveled in the couple’s personal life, Diana wasn’t ready to give up on their marriage. But Queen Elizabeth had other plans.

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

Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage crumbled due to his affair

Charles and Diana’s relationship had problems from the start. When Charles returned home from the Navy, his true love, Camilla Parker Bowles, had already wed. With Charles approaching 30, he needed to find a wife — it wasn’t a good look. Charles was introduced to Diana, and after 12 dates, he was ready to propose.

The two rushed into marriage, but it was clear they were not in love. And a few years after they wed, Charles rekindled his romance with Camilla behind Diana’s back. (There were rumors Diana had also had affairs.) Once news broke of the affair, their marriage became tough to salvage.

Charles' affair with Camilla broke up his marriage to Diana.
Charles’ affair with Camilla broke up his marriage to Diana. | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Diana reportedly thought the couple could remain married and co-exist

When the affair broke in the media, it created chaos for the royal family. Diana and Charles shared two young boys, Prince William and Prince Harry, both of whom were now at the center of their parents’ drama. But despite the craziness that came with the infidelity, Diana reportedly felt that she and Charles didn’t need to divorce.

Express reported that, in Princess Diana’s documentary, former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond said Diana had wanted to remain “partners” with Charles.  “I think she felt somehow they could continue as separated but partners and parents to the two boys,” Bond said. “I think she really did try to make it work or wanted it to work.”

Queen Elizabeth reportedly had a hand in the couple’s divorce

Despite Diana’s best efforts, the queen reportedly wasn’t having it. The marriage trouble had resulted in too many problems for the family, and the queen essentially ordered the couple to divorce. Since Diana wasn’t shy about the couple’s marriage troubles, it’s possible the queen didn’t think it was worth the additional drama to keep Diana in the family, knowing she could speak out about the marriage. And, back then, when the queen advised something, the rest of the family complied.

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

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There were rumors of tension between Diana and the queen

After the news of the affair leaked, it resulted in a major downfall in plenty of relationships — and things between Diana and the queen, which were great at first, went downhill. Once it became largely suspected that Diana had collaborated on her tell-all book in 1995, the queen was even more adamant about the two getting divorced.

When Diana died in a car accident in 1997, the public didn’t think the queen’s response was sufficient. Many blamed it on tensions, though the queen was also trying to shield William and Harry from the media as much as possible. The queen once had the utmost respect for Diana, but over the years, things fell apart.