The news of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s 1996 divorce did not come as a shock to most. By then, it was well known that the two were unhappy.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth II herself even encouraged the split between the two unhappy royals after both publicly admitted to infidelity in their marriage.
But before the turbulence began, the two were said to have been in love. The world was swept up in the romance of the royal engagement, and for a time, it seemed like a fairy tale.
A closer look into their relationship told through recordings from Princess Diana, however, reveals something much different.
The documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, details the life of the Princess through recordings of her voice, and includes her thoughts on the tumultuous marriage and its ending.
When they first met, Charles was 12 years her senior and dating Diana’s sister Sarah. But years down the road, an eventual romantic relationship began between them.
And after just 12 dates, Charles decided to pop the question. Diana’s first thought, however, was “This is a joke.”
She soon realized how serious he was. It was clear that Charles had begun to feel the pressure from his parents and his country to marry and have children after turning 30.
Diana decided to say yes to Charles, believing they were in love. Diana said that Charles then told her she’d be Queen one day.
Even so, something inside Diana told her that she wouldn’t really be Queen, but that she would have a tough role ahead of her.
With her acceptance of the proposal, Diana told Charles she loved him, to which he replied, “Whatever love means.”
In their first interview as an engaged couple, one of the most important questions the interviewer asked was if they were in love.
Diana confirmed that they were, while Charles repeated the same words he’d said to Diana at their engagement.
Throughout her life, Diana said she felt it was her duty to help people. She recalled that her marriage to Charles was a call to that duty.
Even so, after their fairy tale wedding and the births of both William and Harry, Diana had created her legacy as the “People’s Princess.”
She remained dedicated to her humanitarian work until her tragic passing in 1997. She and Charles had filed for their divorce just one year earlier.
Although Diana never got her happy ending, her legacy continues to live on as her sons step into new roles of royal leadership. And we know Prince William and Prince Harry are making her proud every day.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.