Why Did Prince Charles and Princess Diana Get Divorced?

Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Mega News via YouTube

The world watched in awe on July 29, 1981, as former kindergarten teacher, Princess Diana, married Prince Charles. At the time, few expected this royal wedding to lead to an unhappy ending. However, the fairy tale wedding later gave way to a marriage that proved unsatisfying for both Charles and Diana.

Here’s why Princess Diana and Prince Charles got divorced.

How they met

Princess Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, used to date Prince Charles back in 1977. However, the two broke up after Sarah gave an interview in which she said she had no plans to marry Charles. She also admitted to problems with alcoholism and anorexia. Sarah later introduced Charles and Diana. She said, “I introduced them, I’m Cupid,” reports The Guardian, after Charles and Diana’s engagement in 1981. Charles and Diana only went on 12 dates before getting engaged that February, according to the book Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, by author Sally Bedell Smith.

Why Prince Charles married Diana

Unfortunately, Prince Charles didn’t marry Princess Diana because he was head over heels in love.  In her book, Smith says Prince Charles felt his father, Philip, bullied him into marrying Princess Diana. “Philip wrote Charles a letter — because that is the ‘regrettable’ way they communicated, Smith writes — telling him it was unfair to Diana’s reputation to dawdle: Either propose or release her, he advised,” reports NBC’s News 12.

Prince Charles’ cousin, Pamela Hicks, told Smith she read the letter that Prince Charles’ father wrote to him. “He wasn’t in love, he wasn’t ready,” said Hicks. “He saw it as a ghastly threat. Psychologically he assumed his father bullied him, so he read it as a bullying letter.”

Their troubled marriage and what led to their divorce

Smith writes Prince Charles thought he could learn to love Diana. However, Charles still wasn’t over his ex-girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles. They also later discovered they were two very different people. In People magazine, Smith is reported as saying the couple’s marriage didn’t have much of a chance for survival:

I don’t see him as a cynical person; he thought he could learn to love Diana as his grandmother and grandfather learned to love each other and had a great marriage. But because of their fundamental incompatibility and the age gap and her emotional turmoil, it was doomed before they walked down the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral.

After Diana admitted during a television interview with journalist Martin Bashir that both she and Charles had cheated on each other, Queen Elizabeth ordered the couple to divorce. In December 1995, Buckingham Palace announced Queen Elizabeth wrote letters to Charles and Diana, ordering them to divorce immediately. “After considering the present situation, the queen wrote to both the prince and princess earlier this week and gave them her view, supported by the Duke of Edinburgh, that an early divorce is desirable,” said the statement.

She continued to wear her ring even after the separation

After four years of separation, the couple was officially divorced on August 28, 1996. Although Diana and Charles were going through a divorce, Diana tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for Prince Harry and Prince William. She continued to wear her engagement ring “out of respect for her sons,” reports the UK’s Mirror. Prince Charles married his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005.

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