The Real Reason Prince Charles Married Diana Instead Of Camilla

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After Netflix's hit show "The Crown” aired its fourth season at the end of 2020, fans of the show focused on one specific detail above all else: Why did Prince Charles choose to marry Princess Diana when he clearly had passionate feelings for Camilla Parker Bowles?

According to The Independent, "The Crown" shows that the prince and Camilla had a passionate relationship prior to his wedding to Princess Diana. Their relationship is described as a "whirlwind romance" where feelings were high. In the end, Prince Charles married Diana, once Camilla had already married Andrew Parker Bowles, per Town & Country.

When Prince Charles met Camilla in 1970, they were smitten right away. Journalist Jonathan Dimbleby even shared that, per Town & Country, "[Charles] lost his heart to her almost immediately." It sounds like they were a match made in heaven — and they eventually tied the knot in 2005. But why didn't Charles propose to Camilla when they first met? There are a few reasons why royal experts believe Prince Charles chose to marry Diana rather than Camilla at the time.

Camilla was already married

When Prince Charles first met Camilla at a party, it is said that Camilla joked about their great-grandparents having an affair. "My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common," Camilla reportedly teased, per People. Apparently that worked to win over Prince Charles. 

While Charles and Camilla seemed to be a perfect match right off the bat, some things were not in order. Camilla was already involved with Andrew Parker Bowles, who would eventually become her first husband. While their relationship was on-again, off-again, she made her decision. Plus, it didn't help that Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy. It is also said that Queen Elizabeth did not approve of Camilla, per Biography

Given that he couldn't have Camilla at the time, Prince Charles felt pressured by his father to propose to someone, and he chose Lady Diana Spencer, per royal expert Robert Jobson in his book, "Charles at 70: Thoughts, Hopes, and Dreams" (via Reader's Digest). Camilla had gotten married in 1973, so she was officially off the market. Lady Diana was almost a last resort, and Diana herself allegedly called the proposal from Prince Charles "hysterical." Prince Charles eventually began an affair with Camilla, and the two would wed in 2005, eight years after the death of Diana

Both Prince Charles and Camilla's families did not approve

It wasn't just the Queen of England who had concerns about the couple walking down the aisle together. According to Express, even Prince Charles' extended family was not keen on the idea. A spokesperson told the publication, "They had a little fling in 1972, but Lord Mountbatten advised Charles: 'lovely for you two to have a fling, but this absolutely cannot end in marriage.'" It seems as though the whole Royal Family was against the union and demanded that Prince Charles keep it only a fling, never anything serious.

It wasn't just the Royal Family who were against the couple tying the knot, however. Camilla's family was also hopeful she would pursue a relationship with Andrew rather than Charles. Allegedly, Camilla's father put a fake ad in the newspaper announcing Camilla and Andrew's engagement (via Reader's Digest). The announcement was an attempt to force Andrew to propose to his daughter and it seemed like it worked! The pair were married.

However, the relationship between Prince Charles and Lady Diana, as well as the union between Camilla and Andrew, would come to a close and the pair would finally get that wedding they were open to back in the 1970s.

Charles and Camilla had an affair while he was still married to Diana

Prince Charles couldn't quit Camilla, and though he was married to Princess Diana, he continued to see her behind his wife's back (via Oprah Daily). Diana said in an interview, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

When asked about his affair, Charles brushed it off. In an interview from 1994, he said, "Mrs. Parker Bowles is a great friend of mine. I have a large number of friends. I'm terribly lucky to have so many friends who I think are wonderful and make the whole difference to my life, which would become intolerable otherwise," he said. "She has been a friend for a very long time, along with a lot of other friends, and will continue to be a friend for a very long time."

Prince Charles and Camilla would eventually tie the knot in 2005. However, it wasn't met with support from his family. According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, the Queen of England did not attend her son's second wedding. While she did give permission for the nuptials, she did not go to the wedding due to her role as the head of the Church of England. She felt it would have been inappropriate.