Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage was everything but perfect, and it seems trouble sprung even before they got married when the prince reportedly scolded his fiancée for her fashion choice.
2021 would have marked Prince Charles and Princess Diana's 40th wedding anniversary should they have chosen not to separate. However, it seems their divorce was in the cards early on, as there were many times Diana noticed red flags.
In a recorded interview with Andrew Morton for her book "Princess Diana: Her True Story," she shared that Prince Charles had scolded her for wearing a black dress to their first royal engagement as an engaged couple.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana watching the Braemar Games in Scotland circa 1981 | Photo: Getty Images
THEIR FIRST ROYAL ENGAGEMENT
At the time, the couple attended a fundraising concert at Goldsmiths Hall in London for The Royal Opera House in 1981. Diana had decided to wear a black taffeta dress.
Unfortunately, the Royals have a serious dress code that is dependent on the type of event and who they would be addressing. Prince Charles had scolded Princess Diana as black is considered a mourning color.
Princess Diana in the black taffeta dress for her and Prince Charles'1 royal engagement. | Photo: Getty Images
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
Diana wore the dress simply because other people her age did as well. That occasion marked the first of many times that the princess pushed the boundaries of the royal rules. She shared to Morton about the experience:
"I thought it was okay because girls my age wore this dress. I hadn't appreciated that I was now seen as a royal lady."
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH CAMILLA
In the 1970s, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles dated. However, while he was deployed in the Navy, Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles, an Army cavalry officer.
The pair wed in 1973, but they remained good friends with Prince Charles through the years. In fact, he was named godfather of their first son.
MEETING THE SPENCERS
After his breakup, Prince Charles dated numerous women. One of them was Sarah Spencer, Diana's eldest sister. The pair were not meant to be, and Spencer was caught admitting that she did not see a future with the future king.
In 1978, Diana was introduced to the prince at a shooting party. During an interview, Prince Charles shared that his first impression of Diana was that she was "a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old."
Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles on June 29, 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Photo: Getty Images
THE START OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP
In 1980, Diana and Prince Charles met again. Their first couple of conversations happened over the phone, and they started dating. It took only 13 in-person meetings between both of them before they announced their engagement.
Diana married Prince Charles when she was 19, and he was 32. She quickly established herself as a fashion icon and is still admired for her fashion choices today.
Princess Diana in her wedding dress, in 1981, England. | Photo: Getty Images
A RED FLAG
While attending to the media during their engagement day, Diana revealed that a reporter asked: "Are you in love?" Diana quickly responded that they were, but Prince Charles turned around and said, "Whatever love means."
That early on, Diana was thrown off completely, thinking it was a strange answer. For years to come, the answer Prince Charles gave traumatized her.
THEIR ICONIC WEDDING
Her wedding dress, made from ivory taffeta, had a 25-ft-long train, had jaws dropping during her wedding in 1981. It was called the "wedding of the century," and over 750 million people in 74 countries tuned in, on top of 600,000 spectators in London.
Thanks to the wedding and Diana's growing celebrity status, the British royal family's popularity rose as well. However, while all seemed well, the princess later admitted that she believes the wedding was the "worst day" of her life.
Prince Diana wearing the "revenge dress" at Vanity Fair's annual fundraiser in 1994. | Photo:: Getty Images
FORESHADOWING THE FUTURE
During their honeymoon, they went on a 14-day cruise on the royal yacht, Britannia. Unfortunately, during that time, the prince called Camilla Parker Bowles daily and even received a gift from her.
Narrating the story, Diana shared how she gave him cufflinks with the Chanel logo of entwined Cs. She knew exactly what they meant, and it caused her to be completely jealous.
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in Paris, France in November 1988 | Photo: Getty Images
After Prince William's birth, Princess Diana's popularity quickly rose. She was always eager to meet with other people, even refusing to wear gloves which were often customary for royals.
While they appeared to have a happy marriage and the princess was praised for being a hands-on mother, she was actually in the worst shape. She was battling an eating disorder, mental health struggles, and marital troubles.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana on November 3, 1992 in South Korea | Photo: Getty Images
PUBLIC MARITAL ISSUES
In the late 1980s, Prince Charles and Camilla started dating again after years of a platonic friendship. Her then-husband, Andrew, allegedly knew about it and did little to stop it.
In 1989, Princess Diana confronted her husband's mistress about their affair. It was there that Camilla allegedly defended herself, saying that Diana had "all the men in the world," asking "what more could she want?" It was then that she replied: "I want my husband."
THE END FOR DIANA AND CHARLES
Unfortunately, by 1992, Charles' affair with Camilla leaked to the press. An intimate phone call transcript between the two from 1989 was leaked to the media, and it was both scandalous and sexual in nature.
A month later, it was confirmed that Diana and Charles had chosen to separate. They both continued with their royal duties separately.
LIFE AFTER MARRIAGE
In 1994, Diana wore her iconic "revenge dress." The short black off-the-shoulder dress featured a low neckline and was very figure-hugging. Anna Harvey, her former stylist, had shared: "She wanted to look a million dollars."
Diana had worn the headline-making dress to Vanity Fair's annual fundraising in 1994. On the same day, Prince Charles admitted that he had cheated on his wife on national TV.
MAKING A BOLD STATEMENT
Instead of hiding from the media and public, Diana stepped out in the black chiffon dress, designed and created by Greek fashion designer Christina Stambolian.
She had accessorized the outfit with a sapphire-and-pearl choker necklace. The sapphire jewel had been given to Diana as a brooch by Queen Elizabeth as a wedding gift.
TWISTING THE NARRATIVE
In 1995, Diana described her eating disorder, bulimia, as a "secret disease." She knew that it was a symptom of what was going on in her marriage. At the time, she didn't believe she was worthy or valuable. She said:
"I was crying out for help, but giving the wrong signals, and people were using my bulimia as a coat on a hanger: they decided that was the problem – Diana was unstable."
THE INFAMOUS INTERVIEW
That interview ended up being controversial for years to come. Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, claims Bashir showed Diana fake documents to try and get her to join the interview.
In May 2021, BBC issued an apology after finding out that "deceitful" tactics were used to get Diana to say yes to the interview, and Bashir resigned from his role on the BBC.
HER LAST FEW YEARS
The Prince and Princess of Wales filed for divorce in August 1996 after 15 years of marriage. Diana received a generous divorce settlement, which included using the title "Princess of Wales," while dropping "Her Royal Highness" and claim to the British throne.
A year later, Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were involved in a car accident that killed them in Paris, France. While Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul, died on impact, the princess died due to injuries a few hours later.
Prince Charles flew to France to bring Diana's body back to England. He also allegedly halted plans to officially announce Camilla as his partner. Millions from all over the world mourned her death, and she remains influential even today.