What Prince Philip Told Princess Diana When He Found Out Prince Charles Wanted To Leave Her For Camilla

Prince Charles and Princess Diana captured the hearts of many around the globe when they tied the knot in a fairytale-like wedding ceremony in 1981. But their marriage didn’t resemble anything you find in a storybook.

Charles was in love with someone else and the princess didn’t know how to cope or where to turn when he went astray. Charles’ extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles was no secret to his wife or the rest of his family and one person who tried to intervene was his father, Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t shocked that his son was having an affair but he was taken aback that Charles wanted to leave Diana for Camilla. Read on to find out what Philip told the princess about that.

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

Prince Philip initially encouraged his son to have an affair

According to Princess Diana, it was actually Prince Philip who put the idea in his son’s head that it was OK to have an affair.

“My father-in-law said to my husband ‘if your marriage doesn’t work out, you can always go back to her after five years,’” Diana alleged in her recordings shown in the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words. “Which is exactly–I mean, for real I knew that it had happened after five [years]–I knew something was happening before that but the fifth year I had confirmation.”

What Philip told Princess Diana about Charles’ choice to leave her

Princess Diana and Prince Philip
Princess Diana and Prince Philip | Eric BOUVET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Although Philip may not have had a problem with Charles cheating on his wife, he certainly didn’t want his son leaving her for his mistress. When that possibility came about, the royal family patriarch began writing letters and corresponding back and forth with Diana.

“Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position,” the duke reportedly wrote to his then daughter-in-law. “We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her. I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla. Such a prospect never even entered our heads.”

Eventually though, it became clear that the future king and Diana weren’t going to reconcile and at that point Philip threw in the towel.

“If invited, I will always do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability. But I am quite ready to concede that I have no talent as a marriage counselor,” he said.

Philip was furious with Charles over his public announcement

Prince Charles and Prince Philip
Prince Charles and Prince Philip | Tim Graham/Getty Images

After the Prince and Princess of Wales separated, Charles infuriated his father and caused the family more embarrassment when he did a TV interview and admitted that he cheated on Diana during their marriage.

“Did you try to be faithful and honorable to your wife when you took the vow of marriage?” broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby asked the prince.

“Yes,” Charles responded before adding, “until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, one year before the princess died following a car crash in Paris. In 2005, the future king married Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Read more: Who Princess Diana Really Thought Prince Charles Wanted to Marry After They Divorced (It Wasn’t Camilla Parker Bowles)