Why Princess Diana’s Divorce Wasn’t the End to Her ‘War With Charles’

Princess Diana’s marriage with Prince Charles wasn’t a happy one. Almost from the beginning, she was aware of his infamous affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, which she felt destroyed their marriage. When they finally did settle on divorce in 1996, it wasn’t the end of the war between the formerly married royal couple.

Princess Diana was at ‘war’ with Prince Charles

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Penny Junor, the author of The Firm and a royal expert, says Princess Diana undertook a “war” against her former husband. “It was the end of 15 years of marriage, but it was not the end of the war,” Junor wrote. “Diana was no happier outside the family she seemed to have hated so much than she was within it.”

The public appeared to be with Diana

According to Junor, Princess Diana was angry with Charles. The public seemed to follow suit. “She was still angry with Charles and determined to embarrass and upstage him at every opportunity,” Junor wrote. “And, according to the opinion polls, she took the majority of the country with her.”

The public didn’t seem to approve of Prince Charles’ infatuation with Camilla. “As the divorce became absolute, a statement was released saying that the Prince of Wales had no plans to remarry,” Junor wrote. “It was just as well; at a televised debate on the monarchy, run by Carlton Television with a randomly selected audience of three thousand, every time Camilla Parker Bowles names was mentioned it was drowned by boos and hisses.” It seemed like the people were with Princess Diana. “The public was not about to forgive Camilla any more than Diana was,” she wrote.

Princess Diana never even wanted a divorce

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

Princess Diana tried to make the marriage work and it failed. Her husband was carrying on a notorious affair and she was miserable. Even after things fell apart, it took her a while to reconcile what had happened. She had never wanted a divorce to begin with since she had come from a divorced household herself. She didn’t want to put her children through what she herself went through.

During the famous BBC’s Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, Princess Diana said she didn’t want a divorce and wanted to talk to her husband about things openly. “I don’t want a divorce, but obviously we need clarity on a situation that has been of enormous discussion over the last three years in particular,” Diana said. “So all I say to that is that I await my husband’s decision of which way we are all going to go.”

Diana was ‘torn’ in her marriage before they separated

During Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, she struggled to find happiness in a lonely marriage. Even before they separated, she felt alone and “torn.” According to Andrew Morton’s biography on Diana called Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, she was struggling to keep her head above water for years.

“She was tormented ever day in every way by the dilemma of her position, continually torn between her sense of duty to the Queen and nation and her desire to find the happiness she craved,” Morton wrote. “Yet it order to find happiness she felt she had to divorce; if she divorced she worried she would inevitably lose the children she lived for.”

After they finally divorced, Princess Diana struggled to find a sense of complacency in a life lived front and center in the spotlight. She continued to be the world’s most photographed woman until her tragic death in 1997.