Prince Charles and Princess Diana certainly didn’t have a fairy tale ending, and now, it seems they never even had a fairy tale beginning.
In her new biography, “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life” author Sally Bedell Smith claims that Prince Charles thought he would “learn to love” Diana.
According to Bedell Smith, Charles and Diana had approximately 12 dates between the summer of 1980 and their engagement in February 1981. Prince Charles was reportedly surprised Diana immediately accepted the proposal and thought the two could learn to make it work.
“He was obviously anguished, and he said, ‘She was someone I could learn to love,’” Bedell Smith told PEOPLE. “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.’”
Bedell Smith believes that Diana didn’t have time to really get to know her future husband in that time.
“I was stunned when I combed over the chronology they had only been together 12 times [before their engagement],” Bedell Smith said. “After they got engaged, he went away for six weeks. He was dutifully plunging ahead with his schedule, and she wanted him to be around and available and support her.”
Diana’s past also may have haunted her as she ascended into a celebrity status.
“I learned how traumatic her childhood was and how scarred she was by her parents’ divorce,” Bedell Smith said. “Her bulimic episodes began when she was a teenager and under stress.”
The author continued, “She 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.”
Bedell Smith revealed that she believes Prince William’s wife, Duchess Catherine, has been better prepared for her role as princess.
“If she had had Kate’s confidence and solid upbringing and nurturing family and academic success – all the things that have helped Kate integrate so seamlessly,” she said.