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We all know the story. In 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer tied the knot but had a tumultuous marriage leading to a separation in 1992 and ultimately a divorce four years later. They weren’t faithful to one another while they were together and the prince’s years-long affair with Camilla Parker Bowles will always be seen as the main reason their marriage fell apart.

With all we know now, it seems that Charles and Princess Diana were never right for each other. This has left many wondering why the Prince of Wales ever married his first wife and what he saw in Camilla that he didn’t see in Diana. Now, many royal fans are weighing in with exactly why they think Charles loved Camilla but not Diana.

Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles | FIONA HANSEN/AFP/Getty Images

Charles was forced to marry Diana

Years before he met Diana, Charles dated Camilla. It’s believed that he always wanted to marry her but he knew that wasn’t possible. Camilla didn’t come from a sufficient aristocratic background which did not make her a proper suitor for the man who would one day be king. Also, back then, the royals wanted the future monarch to marry a virgin. 

Moreover, when Charles went away with the royal navy Camilla reconnected with and married her old flame, Andrew Parker Bowles. So when Charles returned home, he needed to find a suitable bride.

When he was 32, he was introduced to a then-19-year-old Diana. After meeting her just a few times, his father, Prince Philip, reportedly wrote a letter telling Charles that his only two options were to either “propose to her or release her.”

“He wasn’t in love, he wasn’t ready,” said Charles’ cousin, Pamela Hicks, who read the letter. “[Charles] saw it as a ghastly threat. Psychologically he assumed his father bullied him, so he read it as a bullying letter.” 

Fans debate reasons why Charles fell for Camilla, not Diana

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker-Bowles
Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker-Bowles | Express Newspapers/Archive Photos

On the online forum site Quora, fans have been going back and forth with their take on just what the prince loved about Camilla that Diana didn’t possess.

“Camilla seems to have a very steady disposition and a healthy lack of ego. Having had a nurturing, loving family background, she is less emotionally needy than either Charles or Diana … So, she was able to give Charles the kind of love and care he needs,” Quora user Margaret Shannon wrote.

Another user, Sallie Smythe, opined that Charles felt Camilla was a better fit for him because she didn’t threaten his popularity like Diana writing, “Diana captivated not only those of us here in the U.K. but also those across the globe. She was universally loved and became an icon to an entire generation … Charles cannot bear to be upstaged, even by his own family.”

User Deanna Eppers speculated that the Duke of Cornwall knew he was just an overall better match with his second wife because they have many of the same interests.

“They share a love of outdoor sports. Horses, polo, hunting, shooting, and generally tramping around the great outdoors,” Eppers said. “They are from the same generation, same taste in music, they ran around in the same crowd, and they fell in love back then.”

Prince Charles and Camilla were married on April 9, 2005.

Read more: What Mean Nickname Did Camilla Parker Bowles Call Princess Diana?