Diana and Charles were famously mismatched, but, despite constant rows and fallouts, the couple remained married for 15 years. The Prince of Wales was 12 years older than Diana and had only been dating her for a few months when he popped the question. Once she said yes, Diana was plucked from relative obscurity and thrust into the global spotlight — an adjustment she struggled to cope with throughout her time on the royal frontline.
Although the pair did not separate until 1992, their marriage appeared to crumble from the very beginning.
Diana hated many of the traditions the Royal Family had which Charles loved, such as their regular trips to the Scottish estate of Balmoral.
The Princess of Wales preferred to be in London where she was closer to her friends, instead of being in the cold countryside, where most royals spent the days shooting or horse riding.
Shortly after their wedding, Diana was “angry” and “in floods of tears” protesting against “her absent husband, his family, the boredom, Balmoral and the weather”, according to royal biographer Howard Hodgson.
Writing in his 2007 book, ‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’, Mr Hodgson explained how Diana and Charles took to confiding in the Prince of Wales’ aide, Michael Colborne, early on in their marriage.
He wrote that on the journey from London to Balmoral, Diana “poured out her complaints” to Mr Colborne in distress just two months after her wedding.
Then, when they arrived in Scotland, Charles turned to Mr Colborne for support too.
Mr Hodgson said: “Later that day, and after they had witnessed another slanging match, the Prince tossed Diana’s wedding ring at Colborne in the dark drive as he prepared to leave for London with the Prince.
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Charles reportedly “didn’t draw breath for over an hour”.
The personal secretary was then left exhausted and upset.
In one day, he had witnessed Diana — whom he liked — “disintegrating into a mental wreck”, while the Prince — to whom all his loyalties lay — “turned on him over some minor point that hadn’t even been his fault”.
However, Charles soon calmed down and sought advice from his loyal member of staff.
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Mr Colborne and Charles discussed the royal marriage, and reportedly the Prince of Wales said that he was “at a loss” to know why it was going so wrong, or how to correct their relationship.
Their relationship continued to flounder for years after this incident, and both Charles and Diana eventually found solace in extra-marital affairs.
Mr Colborne resigned in 1984, three years into Charles’ marriage, after supposedly being caught between the warring Wales’ on too many occasions.
‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’ by Howard Hodgson was published by John Blake in 2007, and is available here.