How Prince Charles' Life Changed After Divorcing Diana

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth's eldest child, was born in 1948. His mother was crowned queen in 1952, making him the heir apparent and arguably the most visible child in the country. It seemed as though all eyes were on Charles throughout his early childhood and teenage years, so when he was well into his 20s, it's no wonder that questions about his marital status started to circulate. He was, after all, Britain's most eligible bachelor (via Biography).

Cue Camilla Parker Bowles, the woman who had stolen Charles' heart, but was by no means the royal family's interpretation of a proper lady. She had already been married, she was older than Charles, and the family didn't think that the British public would support such a union. So what did they do? They found an innocent, angelic teenager for Charles to sweep off her feet — as such, the world was introduced to then-19-year-old Diana Spencer. In hindsight, the age gap and the fact that they had only met about a dozen times before getting married are massive red flags, but at the time, Diana and Charles were seen as the fairytale. Of course, their marriage crumbled, and the two got divorced in 1996. So how did Charles' life change after his separation from Diana?

After his divorce, Prince Charles was no longer financially tied to Princess Diana

We all know that the royal family's lifestyle is largely paid for by British taxpayers, but Prince Charles' financial life was significantly altered after his divorce from Princess Diana was finalized. As reported by The New York Times at the time of the divorce announcement, Charles "formally declared" that he would not be subsidizing his ex-wife's living expenses anymore, and that it would be up to her to pay her own way out of the settlement money she received from their separation. 

Eric Golding, the administrator who oversaw the couple's settlement, even went as far as saying that Diana would be receiving bills from the 40 stores that she frequented, as Charles was officially cutting her off. That sounds a bit harsh when you remember that Diana was just 20 years old when they got married, and it's not like she knew a different way of life. "With effect from 2 September 1996, any expenditure incurred by or on behalf of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales ... should be invoiced directly to the Princess of Wales's Office," the letter read. And that was that.

Prince Charles' relationship with his father was strained after his divorce

Taking sides is, sadly, a pretty big part of any divorce — and it seems as though Prince Charles' life changed quite a bit when he divorced Princess Diana, partly because his father, Prince Philip, took Diana's side. According to the book "Prince Philip Revealed" by Ingrid Seward, letters that came to light in 2003 showed that Philip was firmly on Diana's team, as he wrote a letter to her describing his feelings about the separation between her and Charles. "Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position," Philip wrote to Diana. "I cannot imagine anyone in their right minds leaving you for Camilla. Such a prospect never even entered our heads." To make matters even more alarming (especially if you're Charles in this situation), the letter was concluded with the following: "With fondest love, Pa." Yes, we promise we're not kidding. 

Of course, it wouldn't be the royal family if something wasn't a little off, and Philip did say to Diana that he wouldn't support her in any kind of new relationship. However, we're certainly not jealous of the situation that Charles was in with his father at the time.

Prince Charles didn't have tons of adoring fans once he divorced Princess Diana

If you watched Season 4 of "The Crown," you know that crowd size was a sore spot for Prince Charles, and while "The Crown" is a dramatized account, it doesn't appear to be too far off. As noted by The New York Times, Prince Charles attended a solo event in March 1997 (so about half a year after his divorce) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and this is where we should insert the cricket noises. 

Ok, there were some cameras, but as The New York Times put it, "Prince Charles' arrival ... generated nothing like the mass hysteria with which fashion royalty greeted the Princess of Wales." What's more, "you could count the paparazzi on the fingers of two hands" that showed up for Charles, according to The Times. Ouch, talk about a kick to the ego. 

So what was it about Princess Diana that attracted so many people? Stephen Bates, the former royal correspondent for the Guardian, told Time that, "People invested a lot of emotional intensity in her," but Charles was not afforded the same type of adoration. If anything, he experienced a dwindled amount of support in the time following his divorce.

The public had this opinion about Prince Charles after he divorced Princess Diana

Ahh the coveted opinion poll — the life or death of any politician or public figure, and in Prince Charles' case, he's a little bit of both. And after his divorce from Princess Diana was announced, Charles was not welcomed with positive numbers from the British public. 

According to The New York Times, Gallup conducted a poll shortly after it the public learned Charles and Diana were officially getting divorced. The poll surveyed 1,000 churchgoers and church officials, and asked questions about Charles and the possibility of him getting remarried (to Camilla Parker Bowles, no less). The results were ... just yikes. "Whatever the Prince does, he had better think carefully," The New York Times reported, as more than half of the people surveyed thought that he shouldn't be allowed to become king or the leader of the Church of England should he get remarried. And that's not to mention that fact that Camilla's popularity in Britain was just down the drain. Charles maintained that he had "no intention of remarrying," and that the survey was "purely hypothetical." But still, not the best look.

Prince Charles hosted this high profile event just weeks before Princess Diana died

Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles was the worst kept secret, and as time went on after his separation from Princess Diana, Charles made it clear that he was moving on. As noted by The New Yorker, Charles hosted a party at his Highgrove country property for Camilla's 50th birthday just a month before Diana died; if anything, the party was a symbol of Charles' "Miss Movin' On" moment. Of course, the party sparked speculation as to the future of Charles and Camilla's relationship, and if they were going to "face the world as a couple." And as The New Yorker put it, the party "set off a frenzy of speculation." 

The party, which took place in July 1997, now serves as an eerie reminder of what Charles thought life would look like after divorcing Diana — he thought he could host celebrations, enjoy Camilla's company, and move on with the person he'd been in love with since the start. Of course, everything would change just a month later due to Diana's tragic death. But at the time of the 50th birthday bash, Charles and Camilla were reportedly "just happy to breathe the same air."

Prince Charles made his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles more obvious after his divorce

Pretty much everyone knew that Prince Charles was in a long-term relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. He even confirmed that he had been unfaithful to Princess Diana during a 1994 sit-down interview, saying that he had been devoted to Diana, "until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried," (via The New York Times). But it seemed like as soon as his divorce from Diana was made public, Charles became pretty cavalier with his connection to Camilla. 

The New York Times reported that on the weekend that the news broke about his divorce, Charles spent the days with Camilla in Wales. The two stayed at a mutual friend's house, and were even photographed together chatting with their fellow vacationers. As you may have guessed, Charles' newfound freedom was not well celebrated, and the photos were viewed by many Britons as evidence that "Charles had continued his reported affair with Mrs. Parker Bowles, whom many Britons blame ... for the demise of the royal marriage." 

So it's safe to say that while his divorce gave him new opportunities, Charles was very much still under the public's watch.

How was Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth's relationship after his divorce?

Divorce can be tough on not just the people involved in the marriage, but on the extended family as well. That was certainly the case for Prince Charles, as the strain that his divorce took on his relationship with his mother, Queen Elizabeth, most likely was more pronounced than people in similar situations. According to the Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth wrote to Charles and told him to get divorced — yes, wrote, not an in person conversation, but a LETTER. 

As the Times put it, "The queen's command came in separate letters to Charles and Diana earlier this week," and what did Charles do? He wrote a letter back, agreeing to the queen's terms. We honestly can't imagine conversing like this with family, because this is truly some wild tension. 

A royal reporter at the time, Simon McCoy of Sky TV, dished about the tension that was brewing as a result of the divorce. "One cannot underestimate how angry the queen has been. At the palace there's a huge sigh of relief. The queen has decided that enough is enough," McCoy revealed. Yikes, talk about a damaged familial relationship.

Prince Charles' relationship with Princess Diana improved slightly after they get divorced

It might come as a shock to some to learn that Prince Charles' life changed in some ways for the better after he divorced Princess Diana, largely due to the fact that his dynamic with his ex-wife significantly improved after they went their separate ways. Tina Brown, the former editor of The New Yorker, met with Diana for lunch after the divorce had settled, and dished about the sit down to The Telegraph. Brown revealed that "[Diana] and Charles were on the best terms they'd been for a very long time," and assigned responsibility to two aspects: one, their divorce had died down in the headlines, and two, their boys were growing up. 

Brown shared that Charles and Diana "talked about their philanthropies," and Diana had finally come to terms about Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. "Charles got into the habit of dropping in on her at Kensington Palace and they would have tea and a sort of rueful exchange. They even had some laughs together," Brown shared, a much improved dynamic than the couple shared while they were married.

Prince Charles survived claims against him from Princess Diana after his divorce

As aforementioned, Prince Charles and Princess Diana learned to get along, but things still weren't so easy for Charles. During the period of time in which he was separated from Diana, Charles was the subject of a note penned by Diana, who claimed that he was "planning 'an accident' in [Diana's] car, brake failure and serious head injury." The note was written in 1995, and needless to say, it did not go over with Charles well. Diana's words — that became eerily accurate in the aftermath of her death — became public in 2003, significantly altering Charles' life and public perception. 

As per the Daily Mail, Charles was questioned by Britain's police in 2005, and became a witness in a probe about Diana's death. John Stevens, the former head of Scotland Yard, told the outlet that he questioned Charles about the note extensively, but the heir to the throne played it cool. "I did not know anything about [the note] until it was published in the media," Charles reportedly said about Diana's words. When asked if he had discussed the note with Diana, Charles denied ever knowing about it or Diana's concerns. Talk about a life-altering experience.

Prince Charles' life drastically changed when Princess Diana died a year after their divorce

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were officially divorced on August 29, 1996, as noted by The New York Times. No one thought that a year later, Diana would be dead; she died after suffering injuries in a car accident on August 31, 1997, and while his life was already altered given that he was no longer married to Diana, Charles' life changed drastically after she died. 

According to Penny Junor, a royal biographer who wrote the 2005 book "The Firm," Charles' reaction to Diana's death painted a grave picture of his future. "'They're all going to blame me, aren't they?' was the first question the prince asked when he heard that she had been killed," Junor wrote (via Express). Junor went on to include that Charles said that, "The world's going to go completely mad, isn't it?" before asking his private secretary, Stephen Lamport, if Diana's death would "destroy the monarchy." Lamport said yes, before adding that Diana's death would have a profound impact on Queen Elizabeth, too.

Prince Charles' dynamic with Princess Diana's family changed after his divorce and her death

Maintaining a good relationship with the in-laws can be pretty tough, but add a divorce and things can get even worse. Factor in a tragic death, and you've got the perfect storm. According to Page Six, things went downhill for Prince Charles after his divorce from Princess Diana and her untimely death, when it came to his interactions with her family members. 

It was just days after Diana's death when her ex-husband and her brother got into a massive fight over the phone. In his book, "Battle of Brothers," royal historian Robert Lacey wrote that Diana's brother was in opposition to the idea of Prince William and Prince Harry walking behind their mother's casket at her funeral — and things with the heir to the throne went south quickly. "Spencer felt quite sure that Diana would have been horrified at the idea of her sons having to endure such an ordeal," Lacey wrote. "He had already told Charles as much." Apparently, in a conversation with Diana's brother, Charles made "a particularly offensive comment" about his ex-wife, which all but sealed the ill-fated label on his relationship with the Spencers.

Prince Charles introduced Camilla Parker Bowles to his sons in 1998

Perhaps the most profound way that Prince Charles' life changed after he divorced Princess Diana was that he could publicly pursue his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. Their affair was the worst kept secret in Britain, but after he became a single man, Charles went ahead with his new(ish) partnership. Furthermore, he took the steps to introduce his children to Camilla in 1998, less than a year after Diana died. 

As per The Guardian in July 1998, Charles introduced Prince William to Camilla for the very first time. It was reported that William and Camilla met for about a half hour at St. James' Palace, and Charles was with them for the interaction. However, the introduction wasn't at all planned. William just happened to stop by the palace when Camilla was there visiting with Charles, as she was "a regular visitor." Talk about a potentially very awkward greeting. 

The Guardian reported that William and Camilla met two more times after their first encounter, and Charles was putting plans in place for his longtime mistress to meet his youngest son, Prince Harry. Talk about a lifestyle shift.

After his divorce, Prince Charles finally got his happily ever after

Prince Charles' life drastically changed when he divorced Princess Diana in 1996, but he endured far more than he most likely suspected when Diana tragically died a year later. At the time of their divorce, Charles was working on a "transparent campaign to 'introduce'" Camilla Parker Bowles to the British public, as noted by The Guardian. But after Diana died, his efforts halted and Camilla wasn't seen publicly with the heir to the throne until 1999. 

According to Harper's Bazaar, two years passed and Charles was once again willing to push Camilla (ever so gently) into the public eye. The two were spotted leaving the Ritz in London following Camilla's sister's birthday party. Dynamics were altered for Charles yet again in 2000, when Queen Elizabeth finally agreed to meet Camilla for the first time. As reported by the BBC, "Charles, Camilla and the Queen are believed to have sat at the same table and so ended a much-publicized stand-off since the prince divorced his wife, the late Diana, Princess of Wales." 

Calling her a "dark figure on the royal scene," the BBC reported that Charles' romantic life was finally starting to change in his favor.