One of the most famous of “celebrity divorces” actually changed the destiny of not only a famous couple, but also a royal lineage and an entire nation. The fairy tale wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana ended in anything but storybook fashion amidst allegations of infidelity by both husband and wife.
As the countdown to the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a car accident grows closer to August 31, the spotlight is returning to her and her now grown children. The commemoration will also revisit the circumstances surrounding the high-profile royal divorce finalized one year before the infamous car accident.
The public eye in the early eighties was trained on the two who seemed head over heels in love from the moment they were engaged. However, the devotion in their eyes during their highly publicized 1981 wedding seemed to fade as fast as it started.
The pressures of public attention were mounting.
Four years later, prominent magazines started publishing articles about trouble in palace paradise. In spite of the rumors of discord, the couple stayed together, maintaining a facade of adoration if only to fool the media and their adoring public.
By 1992, Diana and Charles formally separated and began living second lives. According to Diana, her husband made the decision. The then Princess of Wales already came from a divorced background and did not want to repeat the experience.
Soon after their separation, Diana revealed the anxiety from putting on the façade was a factor in her bulimia. In an interview, she also admitted that the pre-wedding interview was a harbinger of things to come. When asked if they were in love, Diana quickly responded, “Of course.” Charles’ answer?
“Whatever ‘in love’ means.”
By the time Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles began their affair, Diana felt isolated not only in a marriage now composed of three people, but also within the entire royal family. She responded in kind and began an affair with James Hewitt.
After the finalization of t heir divorce in 1996, life went on for everyone. However, life for Diana would be cut short on August 31, 1997 in a Paris tunnel, three days past one year following the formal end of her marriage.