Who Warned Prince Charles Not To Marry Princess Diana?

From the outside things seemed so perfect on that July day when a beautiful young woman married a prince in a lavish royal wedding. Everyone thought then that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were destined to live happily ever after but behind the palace walls things were nothing like they seemed.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage was a tumultuous time for both of them and after a few embarrassing scandals and extramarital affairs, they divorced in 1996. There have been reports that the pair never really wanted to get married in the first place and now, we’re learning that people close to Charles urged him not to go forward with marrying Diana. Here’s who told the future king not to marry his first wife and why.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles' Royal Wedding
Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ Royal Wedding | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Who told Charles he shouldn’t marry Diana?

According to two royal biographers, the prince’s cousin Norton Knatchbull, Lord Romsey, and his wife, Penelope, asked him not to wed Lady Diana Spencer. But why?

In her biography about the heir apparent titled Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Sally Bedell Smith claimed that Penelope warned Charles not to marry Diana because, given their 12-year age difference, she didn’t think they had anything in common.

Bedell Smith wrote that Penelope was concerned about Diana’s true intentions for marrying the royal as well and said she looked to be “auditioning for a central role in a costume drama.”

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

The Duchess: The Untold Story author Penny Junor also claimed that Penelope and her husband told Charles not to go through with his wedding, but he did anyway and years later told Diana what his cousin had said.

“The Romseys were among the last two to go even though the couple had stayed at their holiday home in Eleuthera when Diana was pregnant,” Junor said. “When the princess threw an ornament at him in the midst of yet another screaming match, the prince finally lost his cool and said, ‘I should have listened to Norton … He said I should never have married you.'”

According to the royal author, when the princess heard about this she banned the Knatchbulls from visiting their home ever again.

Who the queen and Prince Philip blame for Charles’ failed marriage?

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince Philip | MSI/ Mirrorpix/Getty Images

If Charles’ cousin and Penelope really did ask him not to marry Diana there could be a few reasons why the prince heeded their warnings. One is that his father, Prince Philip, was reportedly pressuring him to get hitched and even wrote a letter telling him that his only options were to either “propose to [Diana] or release her.”

However, when things turned out the way they did Philip and Queen Elizabeth II reportedly placed the blame on their son.

“[The queen] and her husband Prince Philip put more of the blame on Prince Charles,” said royal expert Robert Lacey, adding that the reason is because “Prince Charles of course, as we since discovered, was already committed emotionally to another woman.”

Read more: Was Princess Diana Expected To Marry Prince Andrew Instead of Prince Charles?