- The Crown -Charles & Diana's Relationship Timeline For Your 'Crown' Season 4 Marathon
The third episode of The Crown's fourth season is called "Fairytale," implying that the whirlwind romance that Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles find themselves in early on in their courtship is that of magic. Throughout the 10-episode season, viewers learn (and know, historically) that Princess Diana and Princes Charles' relationship was anything but.
Part of an aristocratic family, Lady Diana Spencer was born into wealth at the same time Prince Charles was preparing to turn 13 years old. She grew up playing with Prince Charles' siblings and inherited the title of "Lady" when she was 13 years old, after her grandfather died and her dad, John Spencer, became the eighth Earl Spencer.
It wasn't until Diana was 16 and Charles was 29 that the two even met. Their relationship didn't start immediately, as Diana's sister, Sarah, was initially connected to Charles. But after a hiccup with the press (saying she'd never marry Charles "if he were the dustman or the King of England"), Sarah didn't stand a chance. According to the book Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II, author Robert Lacey writes:
"My sister Sarah spoke to the press," Diana later told Mary Robertson, the American ilving in London who had employed her as a childminder for a time. "Frankly... that was the end of her."
But as one door closes, another opens, Diana learned, with her sister soon playing cupid for her and Charles. Let's take a look at what happened after that...
1980: The Two Reconnect
After meeting each other a few years earlier, Charles and Diana reconnected in 1980, this time romantically, while at a mutual acquaintances house in Sussex.
According to Marie Claire, Diana went on record saying in the documentary Diana in Her Own Words, "'He'd just broken up with his girlfriend and his friend Mountbatten had just been killed. I said it would be nice to see him.'"
February 1981: The Engagement
According to the Daily Mail, Charles and Diana only went on 12 dates before getting engaged. Prince Philip, an ally to Diana within the Establishment, reportedly encouraged Charles to propose, according to royal biographer Ingrid Seward.
“He told some of his friends that he felt pressurized into marrying Diana because Philip said, ‘You’ve either got to marry her or let her go. You can’t string a … young girl [along]. She’s only 19. You can’t string her along,’” Seward told Us Weekly recently this year. The biographer said that the message "pushed" him into marrying Diana, despite it not being what he truly wanted.
The two went on to share their engagement news with world. During a now infamous interview about their relationship, proposal, and upcoming nuptials, a reporter asked if the two were in love. Diana responded, "Of course," while Charles responded with, "Whatever love means." According to The Mirror, the response "traumatized" the 19-year-old soon-to-be princess.
July 1981: The Royal Wedding
All eyes were on the seemingly happy couple on July 29, 1981. Their ceremony, which took place at St. Paul's Cathedral, welcomed in new titles, Diana becoming the Princess of Wales. According to BBC, over 750 million people from 74 countries tuned in to watch the wedding. Over half a million people showed up to cheer on the bride and groom throughout London.
According to Town & Country, the two sailed the Mediterranean seas aboard the Britannia yacht for their honeymoon.
Nov. 1981: Diana Is Expecting
Per New York Times, a palace spokesperson shared the following on Nov. 6, 1981.
"The Prince and Princess of Wales, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and members of both families are delighted by the news. The Princess is in excellent health. The Princess hopes to continue to undertake some public engagements but regrets any disappointment which may be caused by any curtailment in her planned program."
June 1982: Prince William Is Born
On June 22, 1982, Diana gave birth to Prince William at St. Mary's Hospital Paddington. According to The Guardian's archives from the day, Diana gave "birth to a healthy, blue-eyed son last night after more than 13 hours of labour."
Charles was present for William's birth. He was born at 9:03 p.m., according to The Guardian, and weighed 7.5 lbs. In the original announcement, they did not give a name to the press.
March 1983: The Australia Tour
With 9-month-old William in tow, Diana and Charles set out on a 6-week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Unwilling to leave William behind, Diana insisted on bringing him along, marking his first trip overseas.
Feb. 1984: Diana Is Pregnant, Again
Buckingham Palace announced in February that Diana and Charles were expecting their second child in September of the same year.
Sept. 1984: Prince Harry Is Born
On Sept. 16, 1984, Diana gave birth to Prince Harry at St. Mary's Hospital Paddington, the same location where William was born.
According to the New York Times, Harry was just under 7 lbs. Prince Charles told reporters at the time, "My wife is very well. The delivery couldn't have been better. It was much quicker this time than last time."
1986: Diana Meets James Hewitt
Despite many tabloids hypothesizing that Prince Harry was actually not Prince Charles' son but Hewitts, James Hewitt and Diana did not meet until two years after Harry's birth.
In 1986, Hewitt began working as Diana's horseback riding instructor. In a 2017 interview, Hewitt said of their then-blossoming relationship, "It's a gradual period and then, you know, suddenly you can't get enough of each other or see each other as much as you want."
Hewitt has repeatedly denied being Harry's father over the years, as recently as 2017, according to E! Online.
Winter 1989: Diana Confronts Camilla
According to CBS News, Diana decided to confront Camilla Parker Bowles, who Prince Charles had met in the 70s, about their continuing affair at a birthday party she wasn't invited to. Talk about a power move.
In her own words, through audiotapes made for her book, Diana showed up to the birthday party of Camilla's sister and found her husband and Camilla, and requested a word with Camilla. According to CBS News, Diana recalled telling Camilla, "I know what's going on between you and Charles, and I just want you to know that."
As Diana remembered it at the time, Camilla reportedly responded by saying, "You've got everything you ever wanted. You've got all the men in the world (to) fall in love with you and you've got two beautiful children, what more do you want?"
Diana's response? "I want my husband."
Early 1992: Diana, Her True Story Is Released
Royal reporter Andrew Morton publishes Diana, Her True Story, which is an earth-shattering look at not only Diana and Charles' crumbling marriage, but also the British monarchy. The access and detail the author had within the pages brought a lot of speculation as to who his sources were. Following her death in 1997, Morton confirmed his source to be Princess Diana herself and released an updated version of his best-seller titled, Diana, Her True Story In Her Own Words.
Dec. 1992: Diana And Charles Officially Separate
At 44 and 31 years old, respectively, Charles and Diana separation is announced to the public. Prime Minister John Major delivered the news to the public, stating at the time, "This decision has been reached amicably and they will both continue to participate fully in the upbringing of their children."
For her part, Diana didn't walk away with nothing. According to History.com, "In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of 'Princess of Wales,' Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne."
Jan. 1993: Camillagate
In early 1993, a private phone conversation between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles that occurred in 1989 was leaked by The Mirror. It became known to the public as "Camillagate," or "Tampongate," where Prince Charles said he would want to come back as a Tampax tampon for Camilla.
The, clearly, humiliating personal conversation reportedly "delighted" Diana, according to The Independent.
June 1994: Charles Admits To Cheating
In a TV special, Prince Charles appealed to the public through humility and admits to not being faithful to Diana during their marriage, according to the New York Times. In the interview, Charles maintained that he and Diana tried to remain committed to each other, "Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried."
Nov. 1995: Diana Is Interviewed By Martin Bashir
In what is often called a "bombshell" interview with journalist Martin Bashir, Diana spoke of her "crowded" marriage, her eating disorder, and her own affair with Hewitt.
Today, the interview and the access in which Bashir was able to get to Diana has come into question. As of this article, The Guardian has reported that the BBC has found a note that "clears" Basir of any coercion.
August 1997: Princess Diana Dies
On August 31, 1997, Diana and her rumored boyfriend Dodi Fayed died in a car accident in Paris, France. The driver of the car, Henri Paul, also died in the accident.
Paul and Fayed reportedly died at the scene of the accident, while Diana was rushed to the hospital and died around 5 a.m. from internal bleeding.
Per Oprah Magazine, the French authorities released a statement that Paul's blood exceeded the legal blood-alcohol limit at the time of the crash. It's been widely reported that Diana and Fayed were being pursued by paparazzi at the time of the crash, and after the crash those present at the scene took photos instead of helping the dying princess.
Diana's funeral took place on Sept. 6, 1997 in London.
April 2005: Prince Charles Marries Again
Eight years after Diana's death, Charles weds again. Unsurprisingly, he marries Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip did not attend, but they did hold a reception for the couple after the ceremony.
Upon her marriage to Charles, Camilla assumed the title Duchess of Cornwall.