It seems that the pressure was too much for Prince Charles the night before his 1981 wedding to the late Princess Diana.
According to a new book, “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life,” Charles felt immense pressure to marry Diana and was torn about his feelings for former girlfriend (then-mistress) Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Camilla and Prince Charles dated after being introduced in 1971. According to the author, Sally Bedell Smith, Charles and Camilla shared the same since of humor and he was drawn to her love of the countryside and down-to-earth nature.
The happy relationship later ended after Charles was stationed overseas with the Royal Navy in 1973. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend (and eventual husband) Andrew Parker-Bowles was reportedly among the “obvious problems” between the pair.
Charles was only 24 when they split and reportedly wasn’t ready to settle down. Camilla later reconciled with Andrew Parker-Bowles and they wed in 1973. He later ignored the fact that his wife and Prince Charles were engaged in an affair.
In 1980, the pressure for Charles to marry his then-girlfriend Diana ratcheted up after the press went wild with rumors that they had spent two nights together. Diana denied those claims.
Bedell Smith claims Prince Philip wrote a letter to Charles saying that he needed to make a decision about the relationship, as Diana’s reputation was on the line. According to the author, Charles interpreted his father’s letter as an order to marry her despite the fact that he wasn’t in love and wasn’t ready.
“Psychologically, he assumed his father bullied him, so he read it as a bullying letter,” she wrote. They were engaged in February 1981 and wed that July.
“Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life” was released April 4. August 31, 2017, will be the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.