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Princess Diana and Prince Charles‘ relationship was no fairytale. The pair initially met in 1977 when the prince was dating the princess’ sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. The princess was a teen then and thought nothing of the serious older prince. However, the pair would cross paths once more in 1980 when the prince felt pressured to settle down with a wife.

Seeing the young princess as the perfect person to be by the future king’s side, Princess Diana and Prince Charles tied the knot in 1981 despite their major age difference and the fact that they had little in common. Almost from the beginning, their union began to fracture.

Eventually, the pair would separate and divorce, with the princess calling their separation “ghastly.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales attend a welcome ceremony in Toronto at the beginning of their Canadian tour, October 1991
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

How long were Prince Charles and Princess Diana married?

Princess Diana and Prince Charles married on July 29, 1981. Their wedding was an absolute media frenzy with royal fans across the U.K. celebrating as well as nearly one billion people from across the globe watching from their television screens. The princess was just 20 years old when the duo tied the knot while Prince Charles was 32.

The pair went on to have two sons, Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. However, it is now known that by the time the youngest prince was born, their marriage had almost completely broken down. Prince Charles had begun an affair with his ex-girlfriend, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, while the princess found solace with cavalry officer James Hewitt.

Though Princess Diana was always suspicious of the pair, in 1992, Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship was exposed to the world. A private conversation between the pair was leaked to the press, leading to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ separation announcement on December 9, 1992. They would officially divorce in 1996 after 15 years of marriage.

When did Princess Diana and Prince Charles announce their separation?

The kinky leaked phone call between Camilla and Prince Charles was humiliating for Princess Diana. During the call, the future king told his now-wife that he wanted to “live inside [her] trousers as a pair of knickers” or “a Tampax.” However, the British royal family remained adamant about keeping Wales together.

In November 1992, shortly after the call leaked, Princess Diana and Prince Charles were sent to South Korea on a four-day “togetherness tour” that was meant to reassure the public that they were not splitting, but it did the opposite.

According to Express, a reporter covering the tour noted, “hatred that radiated between the two as they came down the steps of the plane.” Prince Charles’ deputy private secretary Peter Westburcot told the press at the time, “We know that they’re not [fine], but we’re doing our best with them.”

The couple announced their separation on Dec. 9, 1992.


How Did Prince Charles Initially Hide His Affair From Princess Diana?

Princess Diana called her separation from Prince Charles ‘ghastly’

Though she was certainly glad to be done with her marriage, the media attention and speculation was a lot for Princess Diana. In a set of previously-unseen letters the princess wrote to her close Roger Bramble, the former Lord High Sheriff of Westminster about the breakdown of her marriage.

“The letters reveal a witty and intelligent hand with a great generosity of spirit. The recipient believes his place in her story was only as a constant, always independent of what else might have been happening at the same time,” the official David Lay Auctioneers description reads. “He had known the Princess since childhood and has now given the letters to a younger relation to handle as he sees fit. We are fortunate that this person has now decided to share these letters with the wider public.”

In one letter dated  June 12, 1992, which was the same week the Sunday Times began serializing Andrew Morton’s biography, Diana: In Her Own Words which detailed the strife between the princess and Prince Charles she called the week, “ghastly.”