Photo: Reagan White House Photographs/White House Photographic Collection / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

Prince Charles And Princess Diana's 'Fairytale Romance' Was Less Lovely Than It Looked

The British royal family has had its fair share of public scandals, but perhaps none was as vicious or as shocking as Prince Charles (now King Charles III) and Princess Diana’s disastrous marriage. What exactly happened with Charles and Diana? Well, the publicized affairs – Charles with Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana with James Hewitt – were just the tip of the iceberg. The details of the actual affairs are sordid. After all, Charles actually said he wanted to be Camilla's tampon (no, really!). Alongside reports that Prince Charles cried the night before his wedding and questions of Prince Harry’s true parentage, the drama that ensued during Charles and Diana’s marriage was more soap opera than fairy tale.

It is because of this disastrous marriage that many question the strange circumstances surrounding Princess Diana’s death only one year after her divorce from Charles was official. Whether or not the royal family did have anything to do with Princess Diana’s death remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage sounds like an actual nightmare.

Photo: Reagan White House Photographs/White House Photographic Collection / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

  • When Asked If They Were In Love, Charles Quipped "Whatever ‘In Love’ Means"
    Video: YouTube

    When Asked If They Were In Love, Charles Quipped "Whatever ‘In Love’ Means"

    While most of the world thought the romance between Charles and Diana was a fairy tale, there were signs of their instability from the beginning. When the pair announced their engagement in 1981, a reporter asked if they were in love. Then-Lady Diana Spencer answered, “Of course.” But Charles added, “Whatever 'in love' means.” Some argue that Charles is known for ruminating on philosophical subjects and the meaning of life, so his answer was indicative of his particular mindset. Still, it seems like a dark answer to give post-engagement.

    It should also be noted that the pair had only met 13 times before they married, so they actually may not even have been very well acquainted during this interview.  

  • Charles Had An Affair With Camilla Parker Bowles, Resulting In A Very Steamy Phone Conversation Being Leaked

    While married to Diana, Charles had an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, and the whole world pretty much knew. The affair was confirmed publicly in 1992 through leaked phone conversations during which some of the transcript is rather steamy:

    Charles: Oh god. I'll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier!

    Camilla: [Laughs.] What are you going to turn into, a pair of knickers? [Both laugh.] Oh, you're going to come back as a pair of knickers.

    Charles: Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck! [Laughs.]

    Camilla: You are a complete idiot (Laughs) Oh, what a wonderful idea.

    Charles: My luck to be chucked down the lavatory and go on and on forever swirling round on the top, never going down.

    Camilla: (Laughing) Oh, Darling! Charles: Until the next one comes through.

    Camilla:  Oh, perhaps you could come back as a box.

    Charles: What sort of box?

    Camilla: A box of Tampax, so you could just keep going.

    Charles: That's true…

    After discussing the logistics of when they might talk again and see each other, the couple begins the lengthy process of saying goodbye and hanging up:

    Charles: Night darling, God bless.

    Camilla: I do love you and I'm so proud of you.

    Charles: Oh, I'm so proud of you.

    Camilla: Don't be silly. I've never achieved anything.

    Charles: Your greatest achievement is to love me.

    Camilla: Oh, darling easier than falling off a chair.

    Charles: You suffer all these indignities and tortures and calumnies.

    Camilla: Oh, darling don't be so silly I'd suffer anything for you. That's love. It's the strength of love. Night, night. 

    Though it was a brief moment in the conversation, the incident became known as "Tampongate." During the phone call, a tech enthusiast happened to be playing around with an electronic homing device and recognized the then-Prince's voice. He ended up selling the tape to the Mirror two years later for 30,000 pounds, after Diana's private phone calls were leaked and he realized he could make a profit. 

    At the time the takes were leaked, Charles was still married to Diana. Their intimate content was shocking at the time and public approval for Charles plummetted. Camilla faced public ridicule as well, she could hardly leave her home without people spitting on her or harassing her. Some even feared the tapes would mean the end of the monarchy.

  • Charles Actually Had An Enduring Romance With Camilla Parker Bowles Before Meeting Diana

    It seems that Camilla was also the third person in Charles and Diana’s marriage, even on their wedding day. It’s been reported that Charles cried the night before his wedding to Diana, as he was still in love with Camilla but felt pressure to go through with the ceremony.

    Charles and Camilla met in 1970 and dated, but she wasn’t considered "queen material" since she lacked an aristocratic bloodline and she wasn’t "virginal" enough. So, they broke up. Charles then joined the Navy and Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles. It’s reported that the two sparked up their romance again in the late 1970s, right before Charles would move on with Diana in 1981.

    In a 1995 interview, Diana acknowledged this odd love by saying, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

  • Diana Had An Affair With Her Riding Instructor, Who Just So Happens To Look A Lot Like Prince Harry

    Diana also reportedly engaged in infidelities of her own, which actually sent the royal family into crisis mode.

    Diana and her riding instructor James Hewitt struck up a five-year affair. Due to the proximity of their affair and the birth of Prince Harry, as well as the resemblance between Harry and Hewitt, many have theorized that Hewitt is Harry's biological father. Though everyone involved has denied this allegation, even simply the theory of an illegitimate child in line for the throne supposed sent the royal family into panic mode.

    Hewitt never married or had children of his own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s pining for his lost love. Hewitt exploited his relationship with Diana by writing a tell-all book and even auctioning off love letters she had written him. 

  • Charles’s Infidelity Contributed To Diana’s Battle With Bulimia
    Photo: Nick Parfjonov / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Charles’s Infidelity Contributed To Diana’s Battle With Bulimia

    Diana was very vocal about her struggle with bulimia, which she reportedly developed at the time she was pregnant with Prince William and found out about Charles and Camilla’s affair. It's also been noted that Diana's struggles with bulimia may also be due to her never feeling good enough for the royal family. But the royal family didn’t like that Diana openly talked about her struggle with bulimia and tried to blame the divorce on her struggles.

    When it came to the affair, Diana did confront Camilla, reportedly saying, “I know what's going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.” Camilla responded with, “You've got everything you ever wanted. You've got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you've got two beautiful children, what more do you want?”

    At which point Diana said, “I want my husband.”

  • Queen Elizabeth II Encouraged Charles And Diana To Divorce

    Following the scandal of both their affairs, Charles and Diana separated, but didn't plan to divorce. However, Queen Elizabeth II was totally set on them divorcing, likely due to the immense scandal their separation had caused. It's reported that Diana received a letter in which the queen wrote to her, “I have consulted with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with the prime minister and, of course, with Charles, and we have decided that the best course for you is divorce.” 

    Diana and Charles formally divorced in 1996, just one year before Diana passed.