Princess Diana was one of the most glamorous royals of all time, dazzling the British people with her style and sincerity. We would’ve assumed that Lady Di would have more than her fair share of suitors, but it seems her husband-to-be (who was also the king-to-be, to be fair) needed a fair bit of convincing to get down on one knee — to the extent where one royal biographer suggests this was the royal family’s version of arranged marriage. Ingrid Seward, royal expert and author of Prince Philip Revealed confirms that Philip pressured his son Prince Charles into proposing to Diana once their courtship had begun. Sadly, the timing wasn’t a question of romance, but of the royal family getting fidgety at the idea of Charles further stringing along the now-beloved Diana and risking the ire of the British people.
Seward opened up further about the exchange between Philip and Charles back in 1981, emphasizing the pressure from the media to keep Diana out of harm’s way.
“[Charles] told some of his friends that he felt pressurized into marrying Diana because Philip said, ‘You’ve either got to marry her or let her go. You can’t string a … young girl [along]. She’s only 19. You can’t string her along,'” Seward told Us Weekly. “And all the press is saying, ‘Oh, this is going to be the next queen.’ You’ve got to take a stand and say that this is not going to work, or you marry her.”
Prince Harry was bound to leave the #RoyalFamily, even if he didn't marry Meghan Markle. “They say the life of a spare is very cruel. They start off as costars,” royal author @robertlacey_com tells SheKnows exclusively. https://t.co/HiDPseLslG
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) October 28, 2020
Robert Lacey, author of royal biography Battle of Brothers, wrote the same about Charles’ proposal, and Philip’s particular concern that Diana not be sacrificed in his quest for a wife.
“As the press coverage intensified, Prince Philip told his son in a blunt intervention that Charles must either propose to the girl or walk away ‘immediately’ for the sake of her good name,” Lacey writes. “That is how marriages get ‘arranged’ in the age of mass media scrutiny. Charles bowed to his father’s ‘advice’ and proposed to Diana at the beginning of February 1981.”
Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends. Both go on to have affairs, separate, and ultimately divorce in a very public, very messy fashion — no doubt, much to Philip’s dismay.
Before you go, click here to find out which tell-all books expose major royal family secrets.
Launch Gallery: All the Best Photos of the Royal Family From the Past 20 Years
More from SheKnows
Best of SheKnows