Although Prince Charles’ marriage to Diana seemed like a fairytale, the world is now only too aware of the truth.
In a new book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, author Sally Bedell Smith details exactly why the royal couple’s marriage was doomed before it even started.
Charles expressed a desire to be married at 30; the exact age he was when he first met Diana. After a whirlwind romance, he proposed after believing he could “learn to love” Diana.
In July 1981, the couple married after barely a year of knowing each other. The author was shocked to find out that they had only been on 12 dates before their engagement, telling PEOPLE: “[Charles] was obviously anguished and he said [Diana] was someone he could learn to love. He looked to his grandparents, which wasn’t a love match at the outset, and thought if they can do it and build a good marriage, then I can do it too.”
However, a 20-year-old Diana found it hard to adjust to royal life especially since Charles went away for six weeks immediately after their wedding day. “He was dutifully plunging ahead with his schedule and she wanted him to be around and available to support her,” Bedell Smith commented.
“[Diana] couldn’t have accomplished what she did without becoming a princess, but becoming a princess and world celebrity was one of the worst things for her personally,” she added, revealing that the pair’s “fundamental incompatibility, age gap and [Diana’s] emotional turmoil” were the reasons behind the marriage failing, leading to a divorce in 1996.
The author believes that the Duchess of Cambridge was better prepared for life as a member of the royal family. After all, Kate did date William for a number of years before marrying.
“If [Diana] had Kate’s confidence, solid upbringing, nurturing family and academic success,” it could have been an entirely different story.
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