How the royal couple really got to know each other

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The fourth season of “The Crown” starts today on Netflix. Something special for Royal fans, as the TV version of Princess Diana is arriving. GALA shows how Charles and Lady Di met in real life.

The first meeting of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles takes place in November 1977 at the Spencer family home. Charles is 29 years old and the best marriage age. The pressure on the heir to the throne to find a suitable wife increases continuously.

1977: Princess Diana and Prince Charles get to know each other

“He came to visit Althorp. He had his Labrador with him. My sister approached him right away. I just thought he would hate that. I preferred to avoid him. I was chubby, without make-up and not elegant. But I was loud and he probably liked that “, describes Diana the first meeting with Charles on tapes. These are recorded at Kensington Palace in 1992 and 1993 with Diana’s consent from Peter Settelen, an actor and language trainer.

After dinner, the Prince asks Diana to show him the gallery of the estate. “For me at 16 it was inconceivable. How can someone like him be interested in me?” says Diana on the tapes.

Princess as a bridesmaid in 1978 at a wedding between her sister Lady Jane Spencer and Robert Fellowes.

Finally, the prince gets involved with Diana’s older sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. But the relationship is unstable. When Sarah tells a reporter from “The Mirror” that she will not marry Charles, whether he is a garbage collector or the King of England, it’s over. “You did something very stupid,” Charles is said to have judged about her unwanted talkativeness.

Prince Charles has fun with Diana's sister, Sarah Spencer, at a polo match in Windsor Great Park in 1977.
Prince Charles has fun with Diana’s sister, Sarah Spencer, at a polo match in Windsor Great Park in 1977.

1980: At a party with friends it sparks

Charles remains loosely friends with the Spencer sisters and, among other things, invites them to Buckingham Palace in 1978 to celebrate his 30th birthday. In July 1980 – Charles is 31 and Diana 19 – both are guests at a party held by their mutual friend Philip de Pass.

“I was asked to come to some friends in Sussex and they said, ‘Oh the Prince of Wales is here too’ and I thought, ‘I haven’t seen him in ages’, says Diana on the tapes. Charles has had a difficult year. His foster father, Louis Mountbatten, was killed in an IRA bomb attack in August 1979. Besides, his girlfriend left him. Diana tells her friends it’s nice to see Charles again. But internally, according to her own statements, she is “unimpressed.” That changes when she sees Charles again at the friends house: “I was sitting there and this man came in and thought, ‘Well, I’m pretty impressed this time.’ I had changed. ‘”BS – The exciting stories behind these 15 royal photos

The first kiss occurs, but …

Charles is impressed by Diana, who is 12 years his junior. It is not for nothing that the press calls him “Playboy Prince”. During a one-to-one conversation, the young royal can no longer contain himself. Diana recalls: “We got over Mountbatten and his [Charles Ex-]Girlfriend and I said, ‘You must be so lonely. (…) It is unfortunate to see how you walked along the nave behind the coffin of Mountbatten. Horrible. You need someone by your side. ‘ Then he jumped on me and started kissing me and I thought, ‘Urgh, you don’t do that.’ And he was around me for the rest of the evening, followed me like a puppy. “

Diana takes a liking to Charles more and more. But it does not succeed in breaking out of its behavioral pattern. Diana: “He called me every day for a week and then didn’t speak to me for three weeks. Very weird. I thought, ‘Good. Well. He knows where I am when he wants me.’ The thrill when he called was so big and intense. “

The world finds out about Prince Charles’ new girlfriend

The turning point comes when Diana spends a weekend at Balmoral Castle in Scotland as a guest of Prince Charles. Arthur Edwards, who works as a photographer for the tabloid “The Sun”, got a tip – and luck. He spots Charles fishing on the River Dee. With him: Lady Diana. She notices Edwards and takes refuge in a grove. But the cat is out of the bag. On September 8, 1980, “The Sun” headlined the Queen’s son: “He’s in love again”.

Princess Diana is photographed in London in November 1980, about two months after the first romance headlines. The press is crazy about the kindergarten teacher.
Princess Diana is photographed in London in November 1980, about two months after the first romance headlines. The press is crazy about the kindergarten teacher.

Ten days later, the sheet prints one of Diana’s most legendary photos. It shows her with two children in her arms while working in a kindergarten in the Pimlico district of London. Arthur Edwards fired it again, but this time with Diana’s approval. “Just when I wanted to take the picture, the sun came out – and you could see her legs. That was Charles’ girl, a real splash picture,” said Edwards in an interview with “Der Spiegel” in 2018. “The Sun” was the headline for the photo in 1980: “Charlie’s Girl”. The people are happy: Perhaps the line of succession with Lady Di has finally found its queen of hearts.

Princess Diana with kindergarten children
Princess Diana with kindergarten children

1981: Charles and Diana get married

Only seven months later, on February 24, 1981, the Royal announced his engagement to the kindergarten teacher. The wedding took place on July 29, 1980 in front of the world’s eyes in St. Paul’s Chathedral in London. Prince Charles and Princess Diana have reportedly only seen each other 13 times by then.

Read here why Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage failed and Camilla Parker-Bowles was only one of five reasons for separation.

Sources used: BBC, Der Spiegel, Tatler, “Diana – In Her Own Words” (first broadcast in 2017 on Channel 4, currently available on Netflix)


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