Prince Charles Reportedly Proposed To Amanda Knatchbull Before Princess Diana
Want to hear some tea The Crown left out of Season 4? Prince Charles reportedly proposed to Amanda Knatchbull first before he popped the question to Princess Diana. Who's Amanda Knatchbull, you ask? Oh, you know. His literal cousin. His second cousin — but still.
Amanda was the granddaughter of Charles' great-uncle (and surrogate father) Lord Mountbatten, also known as Dickie. According to royal author Robert Lacey's book Battle of Brothers, per The Express, it was Amanda's grandpa Lord Mountbatten who reportedly tried to convince the future king to settle down with her. Charles was apparently not opposed. By Robert's account, Charles was reportedly "very fond" of his second cousin.
But as you probably figured, Amanda was not interested. "When the prince finally made his proposal in the summer of 1979 — shortly before Lord Mountbatten's assassination by the IRA — the independent-minded Amanda politely turned him down," Lacey reportedly wrote, per The Express.
Surprisingly, it apparently wasn't even the whole "being related" thing that made Amanda hesitant to marry the future king. No, it was actually (ironically) his family.
"'The surrender of self to a system,' she explained, was so absolute when joining the royal family, it involved a loss of independence 'far greater than matrimony usually invites,'" Robert recounted of Amanda's reported reasoning for turning down Charles' hand in marriage, per The Express.
So, the marriage thing reportedly didn't pan out for these two. But, according to Roberts, "Over the years the two cousins did grow close, developing a mutual respect and friendship that has lasted to the present day."
Per The Express, royal author Jonathan Dimbleby wrote that the reported rejection from Amanda apparently confirmed Charles' “own belief that to marry into the House of Windsor was a sacrifice that no-one should be expected to make."
He did, of course, eventually ask a young Diana Spencer to make such a sacrifice when he asked her to marry him in 1981. Diana later recalled his proposal for Andrew Morton, who documented her words in his book Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words:
He said: 'Will you marry me?' and I laughed. I remember thinking, 'This is a joke,' and I said: 'Yeah, OK,' and laughed. He was deadly serious. He said: 'You do realize that one day you will be queen.' And a voice said to me inside: 'You won't be queen but you'll have a tough role.' So I thought 'OK,' so I said: 'Yes.' I said: 'I love you so much, I love you so much.' He said: 'Whatever love means.'
The two separated in 1992 and officially divorced in 1996. A year later, Diana died in a fatal car crash. Charles went on to marry his first love, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005.