What was once considered the “wedding of the century” has over the years been revealed as one of the most tense and dark moments in the relationship between the late Queen Elizabeth II and her late sister-in-law Diana, the princess of Wel. It was July 29, 1981, and the eyes of the world were on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the place where the heir to the throne, then Prince Charles, would marry the aristocratic Lady Diana Spencer.
At 32 years old and with a reputation as a lover – at best – or a womanizer – by those who call him more harshly, the current King Carlos III married a girl who was 12 years his junior. This was Lady Dee, as her followers would call her. For many, including the Queen, the political-social event meant a rebirth of the Windsor family. a new golden age. Time showed that the brief 13 times they saw each other before Carlos proposed to her was not enough to solidify the relationship.
On that July day when the wedding took place, television and radio stations from all over the world were closely following every move. More than 1,000 million people heard “yes I do” starting one of the most famous and dramatic relationships in modern history. The moment when the strained relationship between the queen and her daughter-in-law would begin.
The monarch and her late husband, Felipe, were among the great promoters of the relationship. With more than 30 years, Carlos had to quickly find a wife who met the royal standards, and Diana fully met them. Well educated and young, married despite the fact that the current king came from a bad relationship of more than 10 years with Camilla Parker Bowles, the monarch’s current wife and henceforth queen consort.
According to Kathryn Meyer, Time magazine journalist and author of the biography Charles: Heart of a King, Carlos was about to cancel the wedding the day before it was to take place. “I can’t go through with this,” he confessed to a close friend. His relationship with Camilla still weighed on the then prince’s mind, despite the fact that she tried to rebuild her life by marrying Andrew Parker Bowles, a friend of the royal family. History will show that he never abandoned her. They continued their extramarital relationship and in 2005, eight years after the tragic death of Princess Diana, they would marry.
The pair’s differences quickly came to light. Coming from a highly traditional family like the Windsors, he enjoyed outdoor and field events such as hunting and polo. She, who had just emerged from her adolescence, saw in the city, popular music and dance her escapes day by day. Added to the increasingly obvious extramarital affairs of then-Prince Charles, Diana suffered from bulimia and began to self-harm, as she would reveal years later.
In the book The Queen’s Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own WordsIngrid Seward stated that “the queen could see that the woman in front of her, much younger than her, was troubled, but she was unaware of her emotional problems or knew about issues like bulimia, the eating disorder that would haunt Diana for years.”
For the 90s when King Carlos’s deceptions went overboard, the press made public highly erotic phone calls between Carlos and Camilla while the marriage to Diana still existed, at least legally. And the yellow press feasts on the information.
“Well, there were three of us in my marriage. And it’s a crowd,” Diana said of Camilla’s figure while revealing her infidelity with her riding instructor James Hewitt. According to Biography, people with knowledge of what was happening in the palace assured that the princess sought guidance and support from Queen Elizabeth II. At least initially, the monarch certainly sympathized with his daughter-in-law, as she had also gone through difficult marital times.
However, the vast emotional gulf that separated them, Biographia assured, made it impossible to reconcile the two points of view. Duty and service, ideals that the late monarch championed throughout her reign, did not fit the overflowing stream of emotions that Diana displayed in public..
Back in 1992, the couple announced their verbal separation, which wasn’t officially finalized until four years later, in 1996. Months before that, Lady Di revealed in an interview with the BBC that she also cheated on Carlos, in addition to her medical and emotional problems. However, the bombshell came when he claimed he had never been supported by the royal family, causing the monarchy’s popularity to plummet. Her close relationship with the people, which earned her the title of “The People’s Princess,” struck a chord with the royals in their dealings with British citizens.
Just as millions of eyes saw the historic marriage, a year after the separation they looked on in wonder the death of Diana Spencer on August 31, 1997 in a traffic accident in Paris. The fact shocked not only Great Britain, but the whole world.
The event marked one of the darkest moments in the Queen’s 70-year reign.. The late response to the death of his son’s ex-wife, where he showed, at least in the early days, no gesture of condolence for what happened, was interpreted by much of the British as a lack of interest.
Just five days after the incident, Queen Elizabeth II addressed her nation to address the tragedy. Seward specified that “many people publicly condemned the royal family for staying at Balmoral instead of returning to London, and also for refusing to fly a flag over Buckingham Palace. Finally, and with great social pressure, the monarch broke with tradition and permitted the measure at the royal palace on the day of the funeral, September 6, 1997.
For Seward, they were simply too “different and the queen has never met anyone who expresses her emotions like diana. He didn’t know how to deal with it and he thought everything would be fine in the end, but it wasn’t.”