The Real Reason Queen Elizabeth Ordered Princess Diana to Divorce Prince Charles

Despite their differences (and infamous affairs) Princess Diana planned to stay married to Princes Charles for the rest of her life. But, when the queen requested the late princess to divorce her son, something changed. Why did Queen Elizabeth want to split up the Prince and Princess of Wales? Find out, ahead.

Did Princess Diana want to divorce Prince Charles?

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles were unhappily married. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

During their marriage, Princess Diana struggled with her royal life and marriage to the future King of England. Yet, through it all, she still had love for her prince. But, once Prince Charles’s affair with his ex (and now wife) Camilla Parker Bowles went public, Princess Diana’s world turned upside down.

Although the media coverage surrounding her broken marriage caused a lot of stress, Princess Diana wanted to work things out with Prince Charles. “Given the choice, she would have stayed and tried to make a happy marriage,” Princess Diana’s personal trainer, Jeni Rivett once revealed. “She loved Charles … she was sad about it. She wanted to be a loving wife.” But being a loving wife wasn’t the only thing that Diana was willing to fight for.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
The queen asked the prince and princess to divorce. | EPA/AFP/Getty Images

As a child of divorce herself, Princess Diana knew how difficult parents splitting up can be. And, for that reason, she was willing to do whatever possible to stay married to Prince Charles for the sake of their sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana allegedly feared they would blame themselves for their parents’ split and felt the repercussions of divorce were far worse than staying with her unfaithful partner.

Why did Queen Elizabeth order them to divorce?

As the drama progressed, Prince Charles and Princess Diana agreed to separate but remained legally married. Then, Princess Diana gave a television interview that would change it all. In 1995, the late Princess of Wales went on air and explained that she did not want to divorce her husband, no matter what. But, when she dropped her now-famous line, “well, there were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she unknowingly sealed her fate.

Prince William, Prince Harry, and Princess Diana attend a rugby match
Princess Diana wanted to save her marriage for Prince William and Prince Harry. | Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth got word of the interview and, needless to say, was appalled at her daughter-in-law’s words. Her Majesty wrote Princess Diana and Prince Charles shortly after and strongly advised them to divorce so that they could finally be “done with it.” Understandably, the queen was upset that her family’s business had been blasted on television and was at her witts end.

The queen wrote the letter with the help of the Prime Minister and Archbishop of Canterbury. Princess Diana was ultimately devastated that someone else made the decision for her.

Prince Charle and Princess Diana’s divorce

Following the letter, Prince Charles and Princess Diana decided to take Queen Elizabeth’s strong advice and officially divorced on August 28, 1996. Princess Diana tragically died in a car accident just one year later, causing more upset to the royal family (and anger towards Prince Charles’s actions in the eyes of the public).

Not long after, Prince Charles made his relationship with his long-time lover, Camilla Parker Bowles public. The two married in 2005.


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