A young Prince Charles had some very specific views on love, relationships, and marriage. In 1975, well before he got married, he expressed them in an interview with The Evening Standard. His views on love weren’t revolutionary. He said that hard work and friendship were the cornerstones of a solid marriage. Added with common interests and understanding of the world, he felt he’d have the perfect relationship. He said back then that falling in love with someone and barreling headfirst into a commitment wasn’t the foundation on which to build a successful marriage.
They were wise words eloquently expressed. But was he able to follow his own advice about relationships and marriage?
Fast forward a few years. Prince Charles was standing at the altar of Westminster Abbey, waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle. She was a naïve 19-year-old. Diana was a beautiful blushing bride with the right pedigree. On paper, it was a match made in heaven. In reality, it would turn into a nightmare.
There was a third party in their marriage virtually right from the outset. She was Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Andrew Parker-Bowles. They were good friends of Prince Charles. He was very much taken with her, but she was married and now so was he.
His talk of common interests, hard work, and friendship seemed to fall by the wayside when he married Diana. They were unsuited to each other. It’s unlikely they could ever have made each other happy. They were two such different people. They say opposites attract, but for how long?
Looking back on it now, it’s easy to see that the marriage between the Prince and Princess of Wales couldn’t have lasted. Both made an effort. They tried to present a united front in public. They had two sons together. Princess Diana soon eclipsed Prince Charles as she became the beloved ‘People’s Princess.’ Behind the scenes, neither was happy. They couldn’t give one another what they needed. As the years passed, the couple became more bitter, and conflict was always bubbling on the surface.
Camilla Parker-Bowles had remained married in the intervening years, having a son and daughter with her husband, Andrew.
For both couples, the elephant in the room was the love Camilla, and Prince Charles had for each other. It had not abated despite the passing of time. Eventually, it led to both couples getting divorced.
Charles had made some pointed remarks over the years. He never said it in so many words, but it was clear Diana was not the wife he’d hoped she’d be. To be fair, it would’ve been impossible to be the perfect wife to Charles when his heart lay with another woman.
At the time, Camilla was painted as the villain who had ruined Charles and Diana’s marriage. Objectively, however, neither the prince nor the princess could lay the blame at the other’s feet.
After the divorce, the tension between the couple began to ease. They’d never be the best of friends, but they were happier now that the façade was no longer necessary.
Their newfound freedom came to a crashing halt when Diana was killed in a horrific car accident in Paris in 1997. A nation mourned the woman who had remained part of the fabric of the royal family even after her divorce.
Charles and Camilla married in 2005. Looking at them today, it’s easy to see how their relationship is what Charles described back in 1975. They are happier than ever and have made a success of what was at the time a controversial marriage. Camilla became the Duchess of Cornwall. She had some big shoes to fill. All credit to her for not even trying to do so. Instead, she’s remained true to herself, in this way endearing herself to the public.