Was the Marriage Between Prince Charles and Princess Diana Arranged?

More than 22 years after Princess Diana’s tragic death and more than 23 years after the divorce that became tabloid fodder, the public is intrigued by the princess’ ill-fated marriage and what led to their disastrous couple connecting in the first place. By now, everyone knows that the prince still had feelings for Camila Parker Bowles on the day he walked down the aisle to marry Diana. By now, everyone knows the People’s Princess was well aware of the relationship during the marriage. What everyone is still hazy on is whether the marriage was actually arranged and if it was, who knew about it. 

Was Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage arranged?

Being born into the royal family ensures a certain level of luxury, but it also ensures that much of your life is predetermined. The moment Prince Charles was born, his path was determined. He would one day become king, and in becoming king, he would need an appropriate bride. While he dawdled through much of his 20s, it became clear he’d need a proper wife sooner rather than later. His lady friend, Camila Parker Bowles was not considered aristocratic enough. 

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles | Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage

When it became clear the then-young prince wasn’t making moves to find a partner he was introduced to Diana. From a noble family, she was young enough, virginal enough and aristocratic enough to be a suitable choice. The couple wasn’t precisely forced into an arranged marriage, but their courtship was sped forward, and engagement was highly encouraged. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Fatal Voyage, a podcast that focuses on the final days of Princess Diana’s life, suggests that Diana truly wanted to marry the prince. She was fond of him in a way he was not fond of her. She was enamored with the idea of becoming a princess, but what she didn’t bargain for was the fact that Prince Charles was all but forced into forming a relationship with her. 

Who forced the prince to marry Princess Diana?

While the marriage itself wasn’t exactly arranged, the prince did feel pressure to settle down. According to 12 News, a letter sent to Prince Charles from his father, Prince Phillip, seemingly forced his hand. In the letter, Prince Phillip informed the younger prince that he needed to either propose to or release the much younger Diana. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles And Princess Diana | Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In tapes obtained for a documentary, Princess Diana admits that she went to the queen for help. According to The Daily Express, a distressed Diana recalled the queen telling her that Prince Charles was “hopeless.” A discussion about how the marriage came to be seemingly never happened though. 

Regardless, the late princess must have known something was amiss. She once described her wedding day as the worst day of her life. She also admitted to having only met with the prince a handful of times before tying the knot and recalled how he only came looking for intimacy every few weeks. 

Camila Parker Bowles is the love of Prince Charles’ life

The marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana was doomed from the start. The pair, who were formally introduced in 1977 began dating in 1980, but only at the forced urging of the royal family. The prince’s heart was never in it. He was still pining for Camila, who had already married a decorated Navy officer. 

Prince Charles and Camila
Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Camila, Duchess of Cornwall (R), | Photo By: Leon Neal/ AFP / Getty Images

By the mid-1980s, the pair had resumed their love affair, regardless of their separate marriages, according to Good Housekeeping. By 1992, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, but not before private tapes were released. The tapes all but confirmed the affair

Princess Diana’s sudden and tragic death forced the couple’s romance onto the back burner once again, but by 1999 the couple appeared in public together for the first time. Their marriage followed several years later, likely one that should have happened more than 30 years ago, but Camila’s connection to the royal family remains tenuous at best.