Here's How Charles Reportedly Faced The Aftermath Of Diana's Death
It was an "enormous burden," one royal expert said.
Anyone who’s seen The Crown, Spencer, or any of the other fictionalized stories about Princess Diana’s time in the Royal Family (or, you know, lived through the ‘80s and ‘90s) understands that the People’s Princess had a fraught relationship with Prince Charles. Aaccording to royal expert Matt Robins, who worked on CNN’s six-part docu-series Diana, Charles had some complicated feelings about Diana’s untimely death in 1997. “I think by the end of Diana’s journey, I see [Charles] as grief-stricken,” he told Us Weekly on Nov. 18.
“I see him as somebody who carried an enormous burden through her death and her funeral, somebody [who] has to make impossible decisions,” Robin continued, adding that he has “empathy” for the royal.
Diana died in a car crash a year after she and Charles divorced. He’s kept his thoughts about her death pretty private, but the loss did take a toll on him: Decades later, in June 2021, an insider told the U.K. Times that he would not be attending a ceremony in honor of what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday. “He does find it terribly difficult,” the source said. “These moments have the potential to resurface old wounds, and it brings back memories for him; happy, sad, regretful. Since Diana’s death, he has felt it’s best to keep those memories to himself and leave his sons to it.”
A lot has also been said about his emotional reaction to the news of Diana’s death. “He was absolutely distraught. He fell apart,” royal expert Tina Brown said in the 2017 documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors. “He knew, instantly, that this was going to be a terrible thing, that he will be blamed, that [the Royal Family] will be blamed, for the death of Diana.”
It isn’t exactly a romantic reaction, but it speaks to the way Diana’s death impacted the family. This is a theme the Diana docu-series will explore, Robins added. “I think [how they handled her death] does change everything,” he told Us. “I think [the family] probably learned for the first time just how emotionally connected people are to them. They feel that surge of emotion, you know… And it would be impossible not to be affected by that as a human being.”
Today, Charles is famously married to Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom he met in 1970, a decade prior to the beginning of his relationship with Diana. Although he made it no secret he loved Camilla all along, some insiders maintain the importance of the prince’s relationship with his first wife. “I don’t think he realized how much he loved Diana until she was gone,” Simone Simmons, a psychic and close friend of Diana’s, told the Daily Mail in 2019. “She was the first person who showed him real love.”