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Princess Diana Said She ‘Can’t Marry’ Charles after Her Humiliating Lunch with Camilla

Oyin Balogun
Feb 02, 2022
09:00 A.M.
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Princess Diana of Wales did not want to marry Prince Charles days before their wedding. However, she did marry him, but their years together were not blissful, and here is why.

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Whether it was for her love for sports, being a doting mother, or for her sweet nature, Princess Diana is one royal member who was always in the headlines even after her death. Another thing that kept the Princess in the spotlight was her marriage to Prince Charles.

However, before her devastating death in a car crash, the Princess of Wales was candid about her troubled marriage to Prince Charles. Charles had an uncomfortably close relationship with Camilla.

Despite giving her marriage her best shot and opening up about Charles's affair, Diana, Charles, and Camilla always seemed to be in a love triangle. Continue reading to know more about how their relationship eventually played out.

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HOW CHARLES AND CAMILLA'S ROADS DIVERGED AFTER THEIR MEETING 

Prince Charles and Camilla's relationship reportedly dates back to the 1970s. The two met at a polo match in 1972.

Princess Diana attending a Gala Evening in aid of Cancer Research at Bridgewater House In London | Photo: Getty Images

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But, according to Gyles Brandreth, the author of the biography "Charles and Camilla Portrait of a Love Affair," Charles and Camilla were introduced by their mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the former Chilean ambassador to London.

The two started dating after they met but broke up before Charles took off to serve in the Royal Navy. When Charles returned eight months later, Camilla was already engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles.

Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles In 1979 | Photo: Getty Images

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Bowles and Camilla married on July 4, 1973, and they had two children, Tom, born in 1974, and Laura in 1978. Although she was married to Bowles, Camilla and Charles remained close, and she named him Tom's godfather.

On the other hand, Charles, then-29, moved on and started dating 16-year-old Diana Spencer. The Prince of Wales introduced Diana to Bowles and Camilla, who approved of Diana. In fact, according to Royal biographer Penny Juror, Camilla found young Diana "sweet and cute."

Camilla Shand and Captain Andrew Parker Bowles outside the Guards' Chapel on their wedding day. | Photo: Getty Images

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HOW DIANA MET CAMILLA

Diana and Camilla initially got along well when they were introduced in the 1980s. At the time, Camilla and the Prince of Wales were yet to start an affair.

Once speaking on the early days of her relationship in the recordings for Andrew Morton's 1992 book, "Diana: In Her Own Words," the late Princess said:

"I met [Camilla] very early on. I was introduced to the circle, but I was a threat. I was a very young girl, but I was a threat."

Camilla Parker-Bowles (left) and Lady Diana Spencer (later the Princess of Wales) at Ludlow racecourse in which the Prince was competing. | Photo: Getty Images

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The pair were relatively close, and Diana was reportedly great with Camilla's kids. Charles would take Diana to the Bowles family home in Bolehyde, and soon Diana started to notice something was off about her fiance and Camilla's relationship.

She once said about their friendship: "I'd been staying at Bolehyde with the Parker Bowles' an awful lot, and I couldn't understand why she kept saying to me, 'Don't push him into doing this, don't do that.' She knew so much about what he was doing privately and about what we were doing privately."

Diana, Princess of Wales as she arrives at the Vatican to meet Pope Paul II in April 1985 and (right) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meeting Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Basilica on April 27, 2009 | Photo: Getty Images

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INSIDE CAMILLA AND DIANA'S LUNCH

Dating the heir apparent to the British throne allowed Diana and Camilla to remain near each other, but things took a different turn after Diana and Charles got engaged.  

According to Diana's story in the tapes for Morton, after Charles's proposal, the Princess claimed she received a letter from Camilla in her new home requesting they meet. 

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker-Bowles at Ludlow Races where Prince Charles is competing, 1980. | Photo: Getty Images

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Camilla's note gave the impression that she was happy Charles was engaged and invited Diana to have lunch when the Prince was away in Australia and New Zealand. The young and naive Diana organized lunch, and the meeting was unlike anything she would have imagined.

Diana described their lunch date as "very tricky." She also noted that she was not accustomed to the feeling of jealousy and was too immature to understand the message Camilla tried to pass during their date.

Camilla Parker-Bowles (left) and Lady Diana Spencer (later the Princess of Wales) at Ludlow racecourse in which the Prince was competing. | Photo: Getty Images

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CAMILLA WAS PALE AT CHARLES'S WEDDING; DIANA SOBBED DAYS BEFORE

Despite different heart-shattering discoveries, Diana went on with her marriage plans to Prince Charles. The late Princess of Wales once talked about how someone in Charles's office had told her about a gold bracelet he keeps in the office.

Diana recalled walking into Charles's office and requesting what was in the parcel he kept the bracelet. He tried getting her to ignore the item, but Diana went ahead to open the box.

In the parcel was a gold chain bracelet with a blue enamel disc. The bracelet had the letters G (Gladys), and F (Fred) entwined. Gladys and Fred were Camilla and Charles's nicknames. 

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Princess Diana at a welcome ceremony on 31st March 1983 | Photo: Getty Images

Diana made this discovery days before her wedding and confided in her sister about the situation. The late Princess didn't want to go ahead with her marriage; in the end, her sisters concluded that it was too late.

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Diana's discovery did not change Charles's decision. Once reflecting on the honeymoon, Diana said she saw two photos of Camilla in Charles's diary and cufflinks gifted to him with the lovers' initials "C" and "C."

Diana added that Camilla was a significant issue in her marriage to the Prince. According to the Princess of Wales, she once heard Charles on the phone with Camilla saying, "Whatever happens, I will always love you."

Princess Diana is wearing the Spencer family tiara and a dress by Bruce Oldfield on 30th March 1983 | Photo: Getty Images

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On the recordings for Morton, Diana shared details of one of her dreadful moments with Charles days before he went on tour to Australia and New Zealand and left her with wedding plans. 

She remembered a conversation with Charles, which abruptly ended when Camilla's call came in. Diana said it was a heartbreaking experience. She said:

"The most awful thing had happened before he left. I was in his study talking to him, when the telephone rang. It was Camilla."

Princess Diana and Prince Charles at Guards Polo Club at Smith's Lawn on July 24, 1983 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images

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It became even more heartbreaking when Diana spotted Camilla, her husband, and her sons on her wedding day. Speaking about the nuptials, Diana looked for Camilla among the crowd. According to her:

"So walking down the aisle, I spotted Camilla, pale gray, veiled pillbox hat, saw it all, her son Tom standing on a chair. To this day you know, vivid memory."

Diana Princess in November, 1988 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France | Photo: Getty Images

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HOW DIANA CONFRONTED CAMILLA ABOUT HER ROMANCE WITH CHARLES

Diana confronted Camilla about her relationship with Charles in the audiotape she made for Morton. Still, Camilla did not see the reason for Diana to be mad about the affair.

Camilla believed Diana should be grateful for all that she had with Charles. Although Diana stayed married to Charles despite his extramarital affair, the marriage eventually went down the drain. 

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles pictured at the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April, 2005, England. | Photo: Getty Images

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In a 1994 interview with his biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, the Prince of Wales said he was faithful to Diana until their marriage was broken. Diana and Charles separated in 1991 and finalized their divorced in 1996. 

However, despite Charles's claims that he was faithful during his marriage to Diana, an intimate conversation between him and Camilla was leaked in 1993 before their divorce was concluded.

Camilla would also end up divorcing her husband, Bowles. However, years after Charles and Diana's troubled marriage ended, Camilla rekindled her relationship with the Prince. The two got married in 2005 and remain together to date.

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