Signs King Charles And Princess Diana Weren't Going To Last

The following article references an eating disorder.

Some might say it was obvious that King Charles III and Princess Diana were destined to part ways. After all, Charles' affair with Camilla, Queen Consort, wasn't exactly a secret. Charles and Camilla first met at a polo match  long before Diana was in the picture. Camilla was dating her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, at the time. It seems that she somehow predicted she and Charles would go on to be more than friends because she supposedly made a questionable joke when they first met. "My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common," Camilla is said to have told Charles during their initial interaction, per People.

While Charles may have had his sights set on Camilla, the royal family apparently had other plans for the future king. There was an unspoken rule that suggested royal men were not to marry women with a romantic history. "I think it is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage," Charles' uncle, Lord Mountbatten, once penned in a letter, per Daily Star. Thus, Charles married Diana while his feelings for Camilla never faded.

The king's eventual affair with Camilla confirmed what we long suspected: Charles and Diana didn't exactly have a fairytale relationship. This was only one of the couple's many red flags. Here are the signs King Charles and Princess Diana weren't going to last.

Their relationship was 'like a business transaction'

If the rumors are to be believed, King Charles III and Princess Diana's marriage may have not started on the most romantic foot. As previously mentioned, the royal family's strict standards and expectations likely prevented Charles from being able to marry Camilla, Queen Consort, despite his feelings for her. With this in mind, it's perhaps no surprise that royal expert and "HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style" author Elizabeth Holmes claimed that Charles and Diana's marriage was not exactly rooted in true love. She told Us Weekly the relationship was "almost like a business transaction." "Diana just checked so many boxes and sort of slotted right in, and was clearly very eager and willing and wanting to please," the author claimed.

This might explain why Diana and Charles married so soon after they began dating. "It was so brief," Holmes said of their courtship. "That sort of speaks to how [Charles] was approaching this and the pressures that he was feeling. ... It was sort of like a formality, almost." What's more, in the documentary "Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview" (via People), former newspaper editor Sir Max Hastings claimed the princess wasn't so fond of her husband. "Yes, she did hate Charles," he claimed. "And when I said 'were there ever happy times?' she said 'no, the marriage was hell from day one."

Princess Diana and King Charles III's marriage was 'pretty much' arranged

By all accounts, Princess Diana and King Charles III were not completely wild about each other when they first got together. So, it is fair to wonder why they continued to pursue a romantic relationship, let alone a marriage. Turns out, their families apparently played a significant role in their courtship.

Filmmaker Jemima Khan, who was once friends with Diana, spoke to Sky News about the late royal's relationship with Charles. "Their marriage was essentially arranged," she claimed. "I know it can often seem like a really alien concept but most marriages even in the world today are arranged if you look at the global population. It wasn't so long ago that it was kind of the norm even in the UK."

Khan also spoke about Charles and Diana's marriage during an appearance on "Lorraine" (via Newsweek). When asked if the former couple was in fact arranged, she did not mince words. "Pretty much," Khan said. "I mean as close to arranged as you could get, in that it was an appropriate match chosen by the parents and a sort of committee of family members. The royal family used to pretty much always have arranged marriages. And it's still the majority in the world." If the royals' marriage really was arranged, it's perhaps no surprise that they ultimately went their separate ways.

King Charles III told Princess Diana he didn't love her

As previously mentioned, Princess Diana supposedly confessed she hated King Charles III. The feeling may have been mutual. Diana's astrologer, Penny Thornton, spoke about an eye-opening conversation she had with the princess in the documentary "The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess" (via People). "One of the most shocking things that Diana told me was that the night before the wedding, Charles told her that he didn't love her," Thornton said. "I think Charles didn't want to go into the wedding on a false premise. He wanted to square it with her, and it was devastating for Diana."

Thornton went on to suggest that Diana and King Charles III's wedding almost didn't happen. "She didn't want to go through with the wedding at that point; she thought about not attending the wedding," the astrologer continued. So, why didn't they call it off then and there? Supposedly, it wasn't their call to make. "[Charles] told some of his friends that he felt pressurized into marrying Diana because Philip said, 'You've either got to marry her or let her go. You can't string a ... young girl [along]," royal biographer Ingrid Seward told Us Weekly. "She's only 19. You can't string her along.'"

Princess Diana and King Charles III had a 12-year age gap

Princess Diana and King Charles III's 12-year gap likely made their relationship all the more difficult. Diana was only a teenager when she first met Charles, who was in his upper 20s at the time. The king recalled his first impression of his soon-to-be bride during their infamous engagement interview. "I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was," Charles said at the time. "I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything."

While Charles and Diana may have not started dating until Diana was 19, "The Diana Chronicles" author Tina Brown claimed they actually met many years before. Brown said the pair apparently first crossed paths when a 5-year-old Diana was playing with Prince Andrew. The couple's families had actually been intertwined for years before they began dating. In fact, Charles had a short-lived relationship with Diana's sister, Sarah Spencer.

However, he and the late princess did not begin dating until years after he and her sister split. Diana recalled the moment they reconnected in the documentary "Diana: In Her Own Words" (via Town & Country). "We were talking about Mountbatten and his girlfriend and I said, 'You must be so lonely,'" she revealed. Diana went on to share that Charles eventually kissed her. "And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, following me around like a puppy," she continued.

Their engagement interview revealed King Charles III's true feelings

By now you've probably concluded that King Charles III and Princess Diana's marriage was questionable very early on. They raised red flags even shortly after their engagement — and we mean right after the engagement. The couple met with the BBC at Buckingham Palace for an interview after Charles popped the question, and let's just say that the interaction was a tad uncomfortable. When the interviewer asked if the pair were in love, Diana responded, "Of course." Meanwhile, Charles said, "Whatever in love means."

As you might imagine, Diana wasn't happy with her then-fiancé's response. However, the princess kept her cool in the interview and we didn't learn of her true take until years later. "We had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement," the princess said in the documentary "Diana: In Her Own Words." "And this ridiculous [reporter] said, 'Are you in love?' I thought, what a thick question. So I said, 'Yes, of course, we are,' and Charles turned round and said, 'Whatever love means.' And that threw me completely. I thought, what a strange answer. It traumatized me."

Diana wasn't alone in her reaction to Charles' shocking statement. Viewers of the BBC interview, which has since been shared to YouTube, took to the comment section of the video to express their disappointment. "Even if he didn't love her, he didn't have to be so cruel to her. She seemed like such a kind soul," one user wrote in part.

Princess Diana slept through their honeymoon

In 1981, Princess Diana and King Charles went on a three-month long honeymoon during which time they traveled to Egypt, Greece, and Scotland. The tension that clouded the couple's marriage was palpable from the start, and one can't help but wonder if they actually enjoyed each other's company on the trip — or spent much time together, for that matter. "The honeymoon was a perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep," Diana wrote in a letter, per Vanity Fair.

The couple's "second honeymoon" was reportedly an even more significant source of controversy. Diana and Charles set out on what should have been a romantic trip through Italy in 1991. Unfortunately, it's believed that the couple spent much of the vacation arguing. This was depicted in Season 5 of "The Crown" in 2022. On the show, the couple enjoyed time on a boat and were accompanied by other couples as well as their sons, Prince Harry and Prince William. "The Crown" suggested that those who joined Diana and Charles on the boat made sure there was distance between them to avoid conflict. While, of course, this is a scripted series that takes significant creative liberties, it's believed that there is some truth to this depiction of the vacation. Outlets reported that the couple embarked on the trip in an attempt to save their marriage, but as we now know, their relationship would sink no matter what.

They both had affairs throughout their marriage

As previously mentioned, King Charles III had feelings for Camilla, Queen Consort, throughout his and Princess Diana's marriage. He even admitted to having an affair with Camilla during an interview with reporter Jonathan Dimbleby. When asked if he had been faithful to Diana, Charles responded, "Yes. Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried." Many had already gathered their own conclusions on the future king's infidelity at that point, but it was likely shocking to hear him outright admit to it nonetheless.

Diana was also unfaithful while married to Charles. She and army captain James Hewitt had a years-long affair. Hewitt penned a memoir about his secret romance with the princess titled "Love and War," so many of the details of the affair are now public. The book reportedly brought Hewitt millions, but it also harmed his reputation; a number of critics took issue with his willingness to profit off of the scandal. That doesn't stop the retired army officer from speaking about Diana in interviews, though.

Hewitt even spoke to Entertainment Tonight in 2011 about how the late princess might have reacted to Prince William and Princess Catherine's wedding. He speculated that she would have been "very proud and bubbly and jumping about on Friday – if she were here – and she would be very supportive, loving and proud. And she would probably put a joke in somewhere – a practical joke certainly." He also spoke about Diana's infidelity. "If Charles hadn't cheated, Diana wouldn't have," Hewitt quipped.

Even Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce

There was so much tension in King Charles III and Princess Diana's relationship prior to their split that Queen Elizabeth II had to get involved. The late monarch reportedly penned a letter asking Diana to move forward with a divorce. "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," she wrote, per Mirror. Diana reportedly wasn't happy about the queen's letter. According to Mirror, she told her butler, "That's rich! They get to decide whether I divorce!"

Diana and Charles later finalized their divorce in 1996. It seems that everyone was on board with the split – including Queen Elizabeth II herself. However, Diana's feelings about the divorce were a bit more complicated. According to Sally Bedell Smith's "Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess," the princess said, "The pressure was for us to sort ourselves out in some way. ... We could see what the public were requiring. They wanted clarity of a situation that was obviously becoming intolerable." She went on to reveal that Charles initiated the divorce. Looking back on the end of their marriage, she told Martin Bashir (via Los Angeles Times), "I felt a deep, deep, profound sadness."

King Charles III apparently wasn't a fan of Princess Diana's love of fashion

With their large age gap and contrasting personalities, King Charles III and Princess Diana really didn't have a lot in common. It perhaps should come as no surprise that Charles was said to have taken issue with Diana's style choices. The princess was known for her eye-catching looks — many of which are still being revisited decades later. Who could forget the iconic "revenge dress" the people's princess wore for a gala at the Serpentine Gallery the night Charles admitted to having an affair with Camilla, Queen Consort? 

"Of course, Diana knew that all eyes were going to be on her," Deputy Style Director Brittany Talarico told People. "She didn't have to say anything with words. It was a fashion response — that dress became her clear message to Charles and the world." Diana's bold sartorial statement becomes even more fascinating when you consider the fact that many believe Charles didn't care about her passion for fashion. "For Charles, you can tell in his public remarks, fashion is one of the things he sought to use against her," fashion journalist Elizabeth Holmes said in a separate People interview. "[He used Diana's] interest in fashion, and the interest in her fashion, to paint her as shallow or frivolous."

King Charles III made comments about Princess Diana's weight

Princess Diana was open about her struggle with bulimia. This level of transparency was unheard of for a royal at the time. Diana shared the details of her experience with the eating disorder during her bombshell BBC interview with Martin Bashir in 1995. "I had bulimia for a number of years," the princess said. "And that's like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don't think you're worthy or valuable."

It seems that Diana sadly couldn't turn to King Charles III for support. According to the late princess, he made insensitive comments about her body. "The bulimia started the week after we got engaged," the princess revealed in Andrew Morton's "Diana: Her True Story." "My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: 'Oh, a bit chubby here, aren't we?' and that triggered off something in me. And the Camilla thing. I was desperate, desperate." Diana went on to share that her wedding dress fitting revealed the extent of her eating disorder. "I had shrunk into nothing from February to July." she said.

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).