Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married from 1981 until 1996, but their relationship was far from “happily ever after.” Charles still had eyes for his old flame, Camilla, and was unfaithful to his wife from the very beginning. On top of Charles’ affair, Diana was overwhelmed by the media frenzy that followed their lives. Her pregnancies only put more pressure on the young princess and it quickly became unbearable for her to manage. Although she signed an agreement not to discuss her marriage once the divorce was finalized, plenty of scandals slipped through the cracks. While Charles acted in his own best interest, Diana had plenty of secrets of her own, including the gender of her second child.
Diana Had a Difficult First Pregnancy, Mostly Due To The Press
In 1981, just months after their royal wedding, Princess Diana became pregnant with her first child. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy for the Princess, mostly due to the pressure of the news media and paparazzi following her everywhere she went. Things got so bad that the Queen even got involved, scolding British journalists for publishing photos of pregnant Diana in a bikini.
Diana found the last month of her pregnancy to be “unbearable” with the press constantly hounding her. In her book, Diana: Her True Story In Her Own Words she said she was waiting for “a date where Charles could get off his polo pony” so she could induce labor.
The Princess Became Pregnant Again in 1984
On June 21, 1982, Prince William was born and the couple continued their royal duties with baby William in tow. Not long after, Princess Diana became pregnant with the couple’s second child in early 1984. Prince Charles had voiced that he wanted to have two children, a boy and a girl.
Although it was completely out of her hands, Diana felt the pressure of her husband’s desire to have their second child be a baby girl. She even described Charles as having been desperate for a daughter. It was another difficult pregnancy for Diana as the media continued to hound her. She told them, “I don’t think I’m made for the production line.”
The Heir And The Spare
Unlike other families, the British royal family has many rules and protocols to follow, including being aware of the line to the throne. Prince Charles’ children are close in line to the throne, with his first child most likely becoming the heir.
The family also holds onto the importance of having another child behind the firstborn heir, in case something should happen to them. It was equally important for the royal couple to produce a ‘spare’ child in case something tragic should happen to Prince William.
Diana Knew Her Second Child Was A Boy, But Didn’t Tell Charles
Around the 16 to 20-week mark, expecting moms are able to tell the gender of their baby if the ultrasound technician is able to get a clear view. Princess Diana must have attended the appointment alone, without her husband, because she discovered that she was carrying a boy.
The pressure from the British media and the royal family was already overwhelming. Added to it was her husband “desperately” wanting a baby girl. Diana decided that she would keep the baby’s gender to herself until the child was born.
Diana Was In Labor For Nine Hours Without Meds
Princess Diana’s second pregnancy was just as difficult as her first. The pressure of marrying into the British royal family in her early twenties and giving birth with the world watching was pushing Diana to the edge.
After nine hours of labor, without any medication to ease the pain or induce, Princess Diana gave birth to Prince Harry. Of course, his full name is much longer: Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor.
While Diana knew that she was about to give birth to a baby boy, her husband was left in the dark. Overwhelmed with stress from the press, the British royal family, and her husband about to find out they were having another son, Harry’s birth was very difficult on the Princess.
After nine hours of labor, Harry was delivered. Diana said that Prince Charles looked at their newborn with “dismay” and commented, “Oh God, it’s a boy. And he’s even got red hair.” Red hair ran in Diana’s Spencer side of the family, with all of her siblings being redheads. Charles was not happy, and his comments broke Diana’s heart.
Prince Charles Didn’t Hide His Disappointment
While some fathers might have held back their true feelings about their new baby’s gender, Prince Charles was blunt and his comments were hurtful. In the months that followed Prince Harry’s birth, Charles was visibly bothered and told Diana’s mother, “We were so disappointed- we thought it would be a girl.”
Just like that, the couple’s marriage began to fall apart, as Prince Charles seemingly punished Diana for something that was out of her control. As the rift grew between them, Charles spent more time with a former love interest.
Charles Begins An Affair With An Old Flame
The tension between Princess Diana and Prince Charles grew by the day, and Diana felt herself closing off from her husband. While Diana settled into being a mother of two, Charles went astray and reconnected with an old flame who he had first met in 1970, Camilla Parker Bowles.
Charles and Camilla had an on-again-off-again romance that had been once again ended when Charles deployed with the Royal Navy. Camilla was married during that time, and Charles moved on to Diana. But, after his disappointment with a second son, Charles once again went back to Camilla. Diana later confessed, “I knew Charles had gone back to his lady.”
Diana Knew What Was Going On
Princess Diana was then put in an awkward position. She knew that her husband was having an affair, but they weren’t an ordinary couple– he was next in line to the throne. But news of Charles still being interested in Camilla wasn’t new to Diana. In fact, she came across photos of Camilla in Prince Charles’ journal on their honeymoon, no less.
In 1989, Diana had had enough, and confronted Camilla about the affair. She found Camilla at her sister’s birthday party and told her she knew everything.
She Confronted Camilla About The Affair
Diana recalled the confrontation, saying that although she was shaking with nerves as she approached Camilla, she knew that she had to do it to save her marriage. She told Camilla she knew about the affair.
Camilla didn’t deny it, and instead told Diana that plenty of men loved her and she had two beautiful sons with Charles – what more could she want? But Diana wasn’t about to back down. She replied, “My husband.”
Diana Wasn’t The First Woman To Find Out About Camilla
Princess Diana wasn’t the only woman who realized that Prince Charles was still stuck on Camilla. In the ’70s while Camilla and Charles were “off again,” Charles dated a woman named Anna Wallace. Wallace could have been the future Princess, as Charles reportedly proposed to her twice.
But, after Charles took Wallace to the ball where he ended up spending most of his time dancing with Camilla, she dumped him. Reportedly, she told the Prince, “No one treats me like that. Not even you.”
Charles And Camilla Have More In Common Than We Thought
Diana’s family runs in the same circle as the British royal family, but Camilla’s ties to Charles date even further back. As it turns out, Camilla’s great-grandmother had an affair with King Edward VII, a relative of Charles.
Camilla made sure that Charles knew that, teasing him, “I feel we have something in common.” Although Camilla was married she would often appear at polo matches where she would “run into” Charles and get him thinking about her again.
Were Charles And Camilla Meant To Be?
All affairs aside, were Prince Charles and Camilla meant to be together? The couple broke up when Charles was deployed overseas for the Royal Navy in the ’70s. When he returned, Camilla was married to British Army Officer Andrew Parker Bowles.
Reportedly, Camilla’s husband knew that she had resumed relations with Charles when he returned but didn’t care enough to do anything about it. After both their marriages and all of the scandal, they somehow ended up married in the end.
Charles Needed Some Encouragement To Propose To Diana
Camilla was married and the clock was ticking for Prince Charles to find a suitable wife, which included someone who would receive the Queen’s approval. After dating several women (including Diana’s older sister) Charles was advised to propose to Diana.
So who advised him, exactly? None other than Camilla and Lady Dale Tryon. Supposedly, he went to the two women because they were married and would provide good advice. Under the surface, there’s good reason to believe they also selected Diana because she was soft-spoken and wasn’t seen as a threat.
Being Engaged To A Prince Wasn’t Easy
Diana and Charles had only been dating for around three months when he proposed to her on February 6, 1981. This didn’t give her much time to prepare for the limelight, and once their engagement was officially announced on February 24th, Diana began feeling tremendous pressure.
Reportedly, Diana spent much of her time cooped up at Clarence House and Buckingham Palace, feeling overwhelmed by the media attention and hype around their engagement. In Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess Diana was quoted as saying, “I just couldn’t cope with it. I’m not so much bored as miserable.”
Grace Kelly Made Diana Feel Worse
A month after their engagement was officially announced, Diana made her first royal appearance at a gala in London. Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly approached Diana, sensing that she was feeling out of place and nervous.
Jokingly, she told Diana, “Don’t worry. It’ll get worse.” To make matters even more unpleasant, Charles set out on a five-week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Diana was photographed crying at the airport as she said her goodbyes to her new fiance. Things didn’t feel right.
Would Prince Andrew Have Been A Better Fit For Diana?
The Spencer family was close with the British royal family, and Diana and her older sister knew Prince Charles and Prince Andrew since they were young girls. Looking back, some followers of the royal family wonder if Prince Andrew would have been a better fit as a husband for Diana.
Reportedly, the two were close, and Diana had even said when she was a little girl that she would marry Andrew. Things would have ended up much differently, had Andrew and Diana gotten together instead. He wound up marrying (and later divorcing) Sarah Ferguson.
The Question Of Prince Harry’s Father
When Harry was born, Prince Charles’s first remarks included noting his son’s red hair. Followers of the royal family couldn’t help but point out that Prince Andrew had red hair, and speculated that Charles might not be Harry’s biological father after all.
Diana also had an affair with another redhead, Army Captain James Hewitt, who instructed Diana and her sons on horseback riding. But this was after Harry was already born, eliminating Hewitt as a possibility.
Since Charles Was With Camilla, Diana Turned To James
While Harry might not be the result of an affair, Diana certainly was having an affair with James Hewitt, beginning in 1986. She wasn’t getting the attention she wanted from her husband, as he was still hooked on Camilla. So Diana began directly her affection towards Hewitt.
Love letters between the two of them were uncovered in the mid-1990s and published in Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story. Meanwhile, recorded tapes of romantic exchanges between Prince Charles and Camilla were also coming to light. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were disappointed as Charles and Diana’s relationship blew up in the public eye.
Prince Harry Was Actually Diana’s Third Pregnancy
Around a year after Prince William was born, tabloids began speculating that Princess Diana was pregnant with her second child. The royal family never confirmed the rumors as the tabloids continued publishing headlines in a frenzy.
In September 1983, the British media was certain that she was in fact pregnant, when Diana returned to London early from a family vacation in Scotland. Further fueling the rumors, it was observed that the royal gynecologist, George Pinker, also cut his vacation short to return to London that day. No child came from the matter, and it was later reported that Diana had suffered a miscarriage.
Charles Continued Cracking Jokes at Diana’s Expense
Eventually, everyone knew about Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla, as Diana soldiered on, performing her royal duties. Charles could have chosen to break off, or at least downplay his affair and focus on his wife, but instead, he made jokes on the matter.
Twice, in front of a large crowd, Charles joked that he preferred to have two women to “cover both sides of the street,” leaving him to “direct the operation.” Everyone in the room already knew that he was being unfaithful, and all Diana could do was sit there.
Before The Divorce, Diana Said Her Piece
The couple would ultimately end up divorced in 1996. But before making it official, Diana was given the chance to tell her truth in an interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC show Panorama. The interview aired on November 20, 1995, and the public was shocked.
Diana revealed that both she and Charles were having extramarital affairs. When asked how Camilla contributed to their marriage falling apart, Diana replied, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Diana also confessed to struggling with depression, bulimia, and self-mutilation.
The Divorce Is Set In Motion As Diana Expresses Her Anger
After the interview aired, the Queen was furious. After two weeks of talks, she sent official letters from Buckingham Palace to Diana and Charles, strongly urging them to divorce. Her request was also backed by the Prime Minister and senior Privy Counsellors.
Princess Diana took two more stabs at Charles before she signed the terms and agreement of their divorce. She accused Charles’ personal assistant of aborting a pregnancy after an affair with the Prince, and issued her own announcement of the divorce before Buckingham Palace was able to inform the public.
Finally, The Divorce Settlement
After the divorce papers were signed, Diana received a lump sum settlement of £17 million and an annual payout of £400,000 each year. Both parties also signed an agreement to not discuss their marriage or divorce, as Charles and the British royal family were concerned about what else Diana might speak of.
Once it was official, Diana lost her title of “Her Royal Highness,” but still carried Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Charles Was Elated When Princess Charlotte Was Born
Princess Diana never did give birth to a baby girl, and by the time that Prince Charles married Camilla, it was too late for the couple to have children of their own. It wasn’t until Prince William and Duchess Kate had their second child, Princess Charlotte, that Prince Charles got his wish.
When Charlotte was born in 2015, Charles happily remarked, “I was hoping for a granddaughter. Someone to look after me when I am very old.”
Both William And Harry Have Put The Past Behind Them
Growing up in the limelight with high-profile parents whose rocky marriage was making headlines daily was rough on William and Harry. Adding the loss of their mother, the boys had a lot of heartbreak to manage from a young age.
Today, both William and Harry are happily married and have started families of their own. The royal family has appeared to have put the past behind them to move forward, focusing on the future and the new generation.