Did This Insensitive Joke Drive A Deeper Wedge Between Charles And Diana?

In 1986, Prince Charles and Princess Diana were at a world fair, Expo '86, in Vancouver, Canada, when Diana passed out (via Newsweek). 

"We'd been walking around for four hours, we hadn't had any food, and presumably, I hadn't eaten for days beforehand. When I say that, I mean food staying down. I remember walking around feeling really ghastly," Diana told "Diana: Her True Story" author Andrew Morton. "I put my arm on my husband's shoulder and said, 'Darling, I think I'm about to disappear,' and slid down the side of him."

Despite her fainting, she had to go to a reception that night, as well, with her then-husband saying, "She must go out tonight, otherwise there's going to be a sense of terrific drama, and they are going to think there's something really awful wrong with her."

In fact, there was something wrong with her: Princess Diana suffered from bulimia nervosa "for a number of years," according to Elle.

If you are struggling 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).

After Princess Diana fainted, Prince Charles made a joke about her being pregnant

The night of the world fair, in order to brush off what happened to Princess Diana and get on with attending the reception, Charles said, "My wife is feeling much better now than she was earlier in the afternoon, and it's entirely due to the extremely advantageous conditions that pertain in British Columbia: the weather and the general fertile conditions, which have ensured she's about to have sextuplets, which is really why she fainted. It's not actually true."

The couple's press secretary reported she was not actually pregnant, and in the new CNN docuseries, "Diana," experts discussed Prince Charles' joke about his wife's bulimia.

"It was a very different era, where people didn't understand eating disorders very well at all, but he actually went one further than that. He made cruel jokes," stated broadcaster Bidisha Mamata. "He showed a lack of sympathy. It was an indication that he didn't care as much, that something had gone out of the marriage," added royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith (via Newsweek).

This royal couple had a rocky relationship

Of course, the troubles between Princes Charles and Princess Diana went beyond this one incident. She was 19 when she married the 30-year-old prince, a prince she did not know that well and who was in love with someone else. After Charles and Diana were engaged, they were asked in an interview if they were in love. Her response was "Of course." He answered, "Whatever love means." Diana said that answer "absolutely traumatized" her, as reported by Showbiz Cheat Sheet. "That threw me completely. I thought, 'what a strange answer,'" she later wrote.

Over the years, Diana attempted suicide, harmed herself, and suffered from depression and anxiety, in addition to the bulimia, as stated by History. She was also paranoid that the Palace was attempting to control her and even, reportedly, feared for her life. "One day, I'm going to go up in a helicopter, and it'll just blow up. The MI6 will do away with me," she reportedly once said, according to The Sun.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

After Diana's death, Charles asked, 'They're all going to blame me, aren't they?'

In August of 1996, the couple's divorce was finalized, nearly four years after news of their separation was shared. A year earlier, Diana gave an explosive interview with Martin Bashir of the BBC. When asked if Camilla Parker Bowles contributed to the end of her relationship with Charles, Diana told Bashir, "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." As reported by The Independent, Prince Charles started up his affair with Bowles in 1986, she divorced her previous husband in 1995, and she married Charles in 2005.

And in 1997, when the people's princess died in a car crash, Prince Charles broke the news to his heartbroken sons. Later, he's said to have worried aloud, "They're all going to blame me, aren't they?" (via History).

He was questioned by the police during the investigation into Diana's death, as she wrote a note in 1995, which said the following: "This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. My husband is planning an accident in my car. Brake failure and serious head injury..." (via The Guardian). However, the police never considered Charles a suspect in the case.