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The Unhappy Royal Couple – Charles and Diana’s Loveless Marriage

Ian Harvey
getty images
getty images

For a lot of people, the life of royalty, especially the English royalty, is what an ideal life looks like.

They inhabit beautiful mansions and wear the latest fashions, surrounded by courtiers and hangers-on.

After all, how often do you hear that a little girl wants to be a princess? But, it turns out there are a lot of problems associated with being one of the elite, and in the case of the English royalty, finding an appropriate partner can be put on that list.

Charles and Diana in Woombye, 1983. Photo by Queensland State Archives CC BY 4.0

Charles and Diana in Woombye, 1983. Photo by Queensland State Archives CC BY 4.0

During the late 1970s, Charles, Prince of Wales, was unmarried, having spent his early adulthood in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

As anyone who has spent a lot of time studying politics will tell you, being unmarried is something that is looked down upon for powerful figures in any country. So Prince Charles was in the position of having to find a suitable wife, and this is when he was reintroduced to Lady Diana Spencer.

Portrait of the Prince in Buckingham Palace, 1974, Photo by Allan Warren CC BY-SA 3.0

Portrait of the Prince in Buckingham Palace, 1974, Photo by Allan Warren CC BY-SA 3.0

He had met his future wife when her family had rented a property owned by Queen Elizabeth II, and she had played with his younger brothers while staying on the property.

If the phrase “played with his younger brothers” sounds odd, it’s because Lady Diana was 13 years his junior, though it didn’t matter in the end. Lady Diana was a perfect bride.

The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia, March 1983.

The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia, March 1983.

Her father was Edward John Spencer, the Earl of Spencer, which made her a noblewoman, and she was an appealing partner for the Prince.

She was his opposite in many ways, because as a public figure he had large amounts of media coverage, and the public considered him an aloof figure — definitely intelligent, but aloof and awkward.

Charles, Prince of Wales, with his wife, Princess Diana (1961 – 1997), on the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral during their marriage ceremony. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Charles, Prince of Wales, with his wife, Princess Diana (1961 – 1997), on the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral during their marriage ceremony. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After a short courtship, Prince Charles proposed to Lady Diana and she accepted. This wouldn’t be a happy marriage, however, because according to an article on Maire Clarie, “Prince Charles never really wanted to marry Diana in the first place.”

Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997), waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London after their wedding. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997), waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London after their wedding. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

This points to the real possible reason behind their marriage: convenience. Charles was 32 when the two were married, so it was already relatively late for his first relationship, and, while this can be excused by his time in the military, it still put him under a good deal of pressure.

Diana, Princess of Wales while at The Leonardo Prize ceremony in 1995.

Diana, Princess of Wales while at The Leonardo Prize ceremony in 1995.

So he married someone he thought the public would like, which brought him more in line with the ideals to which the public held the royal family.

The Prince and Princess of Wales after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986. Photo by Elke Wetzig (Elya) CC BY-SA 3.0

The Prince and Princess of Wales after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986. Photo by Elke Wetzig (Elya) CC BY-SA 3.0

Prince Charles had underestimated how much the people would be interested in their union. The public were fascinated with the couple. Biography.com states, “The public took a strong liking to his shy, former kindergarten teacher fiancée, finding her more accessible than the reserved prince.

They were married on July 29, 1981, in a lavish ceremony that was broadcast around the world and watched by millions of people.”

Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997), waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London after their wedding. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997), waving to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London after their wedding. Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

A year later, their first son was born, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, then two years later a second son followed, Prince Henry Charles Albert David.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana loved their children very much, but sadly, this wouldn’t be enough.

Amidst accusations of infidelity on both sides, they officially separated in 1992, and in 1996 they divorced. A year later, Lady Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris with her companion Dodi Fayed.

Read another story from us: Royal Love Triangle – Princess Diana’s Sister First Dated Prince Charles

After her death, and in spite of their differences, Prince Charles traveled to France with her sisters to bring her remains back home. During the funeral, he walked with his sons and, after the funeral, he asked the media to give them privacy in their time of grief. And thus the story of the royal couple came to a close.