Princess Diana’s Age Was a Driving Force in Her Divorce From Prince Charles

Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage went down in history as one of the messiest marriages the royal family had ever seen. The two wed quickly, and we now know there was never much of a spark between them. Though there were plenty of factors working toward the couple’s demise, Diana’s age played a significant role in these two never clicking.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

Princess Diana and Prince Charles only went on 12 dates

When Charles and Diana were first introduced, Diana was only 16 — and Charles was actually dating her sister, Sarah. Things didn’t work out between Charles and Sarah, but Charles described Diana as “full of life” and “great fun” upon first meeting her. Less than three years later, Charles returned home from serving in the Navy to learn that his true love, Camilla Parker Bowles, had already wed.

Charles was nearly 30, and it was imperative as the future king that he settle down soon. When Diana was suggested as a potential suitor, the prince went for it. And in an effort to settle down quickly, Charles proposed to Diana after 12 dates. Prior to the wedding, it’s been said that neither wanted to go through with it. Still, the two were married for 15 years.   

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles had an awkward relationship. | Tim Graham/Getty Images

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Diana was seen as immature compared to the prince

Diana and Charles had 13 nearly years between them; she was still a teenager when the two started dating and had barely turned 20 by the time they wed. Charles, who was 32 at the time, was in a completely different phase of life than his new wife. Diana once referred to herself as immature, especially in terms of understanding her husband’s relationship with Camilla.

“I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way. And then someone in his office told me that my husband has had a bracelet made for her,” Diana once said in a recording, according to The Sun. The princess understood what was happening, but at such a young age, she had a lot to learn about marriage and life.  

Charles and Diana on their honeymoon cruise
Charles and Diana on their honeymoon cruise | Tim Graham/Getty Images

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Charles once reportedly referred to his wife as a ‘child’

It was apparently clear from the moment Charles started dating Diana that she was not his true love. Royal expert Sarah Bradford once said that the prince thought his wife was far too young to be the one for him. “She is exquisitely pretty, a perfect poppy. But she is a child,” the prince allegedly said. “She does not look old enough to be out of school, much less married.” Charles was technically right — Diana was not old enough to be out of school by the time the couple tied the knot.

Eventually, Charles went back to Camilla, and it was only a matter of time before Diana found out. Once the news of the affair broke, the two separated; they finalized their divorce four years later.