There were multiple red flags in front of Princess Diana before her wedding but she still trusted Prince Charles, who assured her that Camilla was only a friend.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 23, 2020. It has since been updated.
Princess Diana came face-to-face with skeletons in Prince Charles' closet before her wedding and realized that her marriage may not be a smooth one. Heartbroken by Charles because of the company he kept, she found herself to be the interloper in her own marriage.
She was only 20 years old when she married the future king who was 12 years her senior and had had many romantic adventures in his past. Unfortunately, he carried one of them into the future as well.
Early into her relationship with Charles, Diana started getting suspicious about Camilla Parker Bowles' relationship with her fiance. Diana's wedding may have been a fairy tale but what was happening behind the scenes was far from ideal. Camilla’s biographer, Penny Junor, revealed in her book that after Diana's engagement, she and her fiance would often visit Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles. Diana and Camilla got along and one day, Camilla wrote a note to her.
In the documentary Charles and Di: The Truth Behind Their Wedding, the narrator claimed, "Diana had found a surprise on her bed. It was a letter from Camilla inviting her to lunch at a private London restaurant," according to CheatSheet.
Camilla wanted to check Diana's reaction when she told her that she "was still hoping to spend time with Charles when he went hunting." Perhaps, the now Duchess of Cornwall wanted Diana to believe that hunting was the only reason she would spend time with Charles. However, the comment left her suspicious.
"Diana later realized that Camilla saw Charles’s love of hunting as a conduit to maintaining her own relationship with him," wrote Andrew Morton in Diana's biography, according to CheatSheet.
In the course of time, her doubts became certainties. Diana heard them conversing before the wedding, which led her to believe that there was more than what met the eye. In one incident, when she was talking with Charles in his study in Buckingham Palace, his phone rang and it turned out to be Camilla.
"Diana wondered whether to sit there or leave and let them make their farewells in private," Morton wrote in Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words. "She left her fiancé alone but told friends afterward that the episode broke her heart," wrote Morton, who had Diana's recorded tapes.
She was so deeply affected by what was going on in front of her eyes that she asked Charles about his relationship with Camilla. According to History Extra, Charles told her that they had once been intimate friends but "there was, and there would be, no other woman in his life" since he was marrying her.
Even on her wedding day, she was tortured by Camilla's presence at the event. "Diana later said she had been so fixated on Camilla that as her father walked slowly up the aisle at St. Paul's, she raked the congregation until her eyes settled on her nemesis, with her 'pale grey, veiled pillbox hat,'" wrote Sally Bedell Smith, according to MSN.
Diana thought that she had found respite from her during her honeymoon but instead, two photos of Camilla dropped out of Charles' diary when they were comparing itineraries. He seemed to further taunt her by wearing cufflinks given to him by his amour on their honeymoon and the accessories were inscribed with two letter C’s.
In 1989, the Princess of Wales confronted her husband's mistress. She showed up to a party unannounced and had a one-on-one confrontation with Camilla. "I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that," she told her.
Camilla responded, "You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?" The princess shot back, "I want my husband!" according to CheatSheet.
Later, when she was questioned about her knowledge about the affair, as per CheatSheet, Diana said, "Oh, a woman’s instinct is a very good one. Well, I had, obviously, I had knowledge of it."
The constant pressure of keeping up pretenses in front of the media and public, being followed around, and of her failing marriage took a terrible toll on her mental health. "Pretty devastating. Rampant bulimia, if you can have rampant bulimia, and just a feeling of being no good at anything and being useless and hopeless and failed in every direction," Diana revealed, during the BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir.
Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Steve Wood (R) Victoria Jones