When Lady Diana Spencer was just 19 years old and getting ready to marry Prince Charles back in 1981, she was already well-aware that her future husband was having an affair. In a newly-surfaced interview with the late Princess Diana, she reveals the moment she found out that Prince Charles was cheating, and it broke her heart.
National Geographic released the interview tapes to mark the 21st anniversary of Diana’s death, and in one clip she talks about the exact moment she discovered the affair. She said that it was right before Charles left on a five-week tour of the U.K. without her.
— Harper's Bazaar (@harpersbazaarus) September 9, 2018
“You may recall seeing a picture of me sobbing in a red coat when he went off on his airplane,” she says in the heartbreaking interview. “That had nothing to do with him going. The most awful thing had happened before he went. I was in his study talking to him about his trip. The telephone rang, it was Camilla. Just before he was going for five weeks.”
Everything went through Diana’s mind — sadness, anger, betrayal — but she could not confront Charles. She decided to be nice and “she left them to it,” but she added, “it just broke my heart.”
In a different recording, Diana reveals how she discovered a secret gift that Charles had bought Camilla. She says she was too immature to understand everything she was seeing, but then someone in Charles’ office told her he had a bracelet made for his mistress.
Diana says she walked into the office and she asked what was in the package, and the man replied that she shouldn’t look at it. But, she opened it anyway, and she saw the bracelet. Diana said she was devastated and full of rage.
All of this almost led to Diana calling off the wedding, and she said that it was as if Charles had made the decision it wasn’t going to work. He had found “the virgin, the sacrificial lamb,” and in a way, he was obsessed. But, it was hot and cold, and you never knew what mood he was going to be in.
Diana was tired of Charles’ lies, and she turned to her family for advice. But, they told her it was too late to back out because her face was already “on the tea towel.”
— Mirror Royal (@MirrorRoyal) September 10, 2018
After fifteen years of marriage, Charles and Diana finally divorced on August 28, 1996, but they had been estranged for years. He eventually married Camilla years after Diana tragically died in a car crash.
Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana’s chief of staff and private secretary from 1988 to 1996, says he isn’t surprised that the late royal continues to captivate the world more than two decades after her death. He says that Diana continues to be the lens in which we view everything to do with the Windsor family, and one of the reasons she is still alive in our memories is because she is a reference point for the contemporary royal scene. Princess Diana humanized the royal family and the crown, and she did it better than anyone else.