In this blog post, we’ll explore the question of whether or not Princess Diana and Prince Charles were forced to marry. We’ll look at the historical context surrounding their relationship and marriage, and try to come to a conclusion based on the evidence.
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The Royal Family
The royal family has been in the news a lot lately with the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But, back in 1981, it was his father Prince Charles and Diana Spencer who had the world waiting with baited breath for their own fairy tale wedding. However, according to some reports, their marriage may not have been the love story we all thought it was.
It’s no secret that Charles and Diana’s marriage was turbulent, to say the least. The pair reportedly had a string of infidelities throughout their marriage, which eventually led to their divorce in 1996. What many people don’t know, however, is that there were rumors that the royal family actually forced Charles to marry Diana.
Some have speculated that the reason behind this was because Diana was “suitable” for Charles, meaning she came from a wealthy and well-connected family. In contrast, Charles’ former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles (who he later married in 2005) was seen as being “unsuitable” for him because her great-great-grandfather was a Hungarian Jew who later changed his name to avoid anti-Semitism.
Interestingly enough, when Charles and Diana announced their engagement, Queen Elizabeth is said to have spoken to her new granddaughter-in-law about her Jewish roots and advised her not to discuss them publicly as it could damage the monarchy’s image.
Of course, these are all just rumors and we’ll never know for sure what truly went on behind closed doors within the royal family. But one thing is for certain – Charles and Diana’s marriage captivated the world and changed the monarchy forever.
The British Monarchy
Under the scanning electron microscope, different objects can have very different appearances. The British monarchy is one such example – to the naked eye, it may seem like a fairytale, complete with luxurious lifestyles, palaces and expensive clothes. But when you take a closer look, there is a lot more to this institution than meets the eye.
The British monarchy is actually a very old institution, dating back over 1,000 years. In that time, it has undergone many changes – some good, some bad. But one constant has been the pressure on royal couples to marry for political reasons, rather than love.
This was certainly the case for Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Their marriage was arranged by their families in an attempt to strengthen relations between the British and the Saudis. But unfortunately, it was not a happy union – and eventually led to their divorce.
So while the British monarchy may appear to be nothing more than a fairytale on the surface, there is often a much darker reality hiding underneath.
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was held on Wednesday, 29 July 1981, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, United Kingdom. The ceremony was conducted by the Most Reverend Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury. The marriage took place six months after the engagement announcement on 24 February 1981. The bride wore a gown of ivory silk taffeta and an antique lace and pearl necklace lent to her by Queen Elizabeth II. Nearly 3,500 guests attended the wedding ceremony, while 600 million people around the world watched it on television.
The Royal Marriage
On July 29, 1981, Charles, Prince of Wales, married Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The world watched as the young couple kissed on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. It was a fairy-tale wedding. But was it a happy marriage?
Forced marriage was not an uncommon event in royal history. Royal fathers wanted to consolidate power by cementing alliances with other royal houses. It was not uncommon for royal brides to be much younger than their grooms, and many royal brides were pregnant on their wedding day.
Although Diana was only 20 years old when she married Charles, who was 32, she was not forced into the marriage. However, there has been speculation that Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, may have pressured her into marrying Charles in order to gain favor with the royals.
The press coverage of the royal couple’s marriage was intense. The public followed every detail of their lives, and there was intense scrutiny of their every move. This may have contributed to the strains in their relationship that eventually led to their divorce.
The Royal Family Tree
The British royal family tree is full of intrigue, with plenty of branches containing some very famous (and occasionally infamous) members. One such branch is that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, whose marriage was the subject of much public scrutiny and speculation.
For many years, it was widely believed that Charles and Diana were forced into marriage by their respective families. However, in recent years, this theory has been largely debunked by royal commentators and historians.
It is now generally accepted that Charles and Diana were not forced to marry each other, but they did face considerable pressure to do so from their families and the British government.
The Succession to the British Throne
The Succession to the British Throne is the order in which members of the Royal Family would ascend to the throne if the reigning monarch died or otherwise ceased to reign. The rules for succession are governed by the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701, as well as by Crown, Parliamentary and Church action.
Under the rules set out in these Acts, male heirs inherit before their female siblings; descendants of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, inherit before other more distant relations; and Catholic heirs are excluded from inheriting altogether. These rules can be modified by Parliament—the last occasion was when the Parliament Act 1911 limited the veto power of hereditary peers in relation to Primary Legislation.
If there are no eligible heirs, the throne could pass to The Crown’s next Protestant relativein line (currently William Dummer Powell), or lapse permanently to The Crown.
The Heir to the British Throne
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are not the only royal couple to have faced rumors of a forced marriage. Prince Charles and Princess Diana also faced speculation that their 1981 nuptials were not entirely voluntary.
The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was 32 years old when he married Lady Diana Spencer, who was just 20. Prior to their marriage, the pair had only met 12 times.
It was widely speculated that the British government pressured Prince Charles into marrying Diana in order to boost public morale after a series of divorces and an extra-marital affair threatened to damage the reputation of the royal family.
There was also speculation that Diana herself was pressured into going through with the marriage by her own family. Her father, Earl Spencer, is said to have told her: “You realize that if you don’t marry him, he’ll find someone else and then you’ll be left on your own.”
While it’s difficult to know for sure whether or not Prince Charles and Princess Diana were forced into their marriage, it’s clear that they both faced a great deal of pressure from their families and from the British government at the time.
The Commonwealth Realms
The Commonwealth Realms are a group of 16 sovereign states, all of which are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. These states share the same person as their Monarch and Head of State, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The States are: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom and several other island nations in the Caribbean.
The UK government insisted that any future sovereign of the United Kingdom and its Dominions (now called Realms) would have to be in agreement with the Statute of Westminster 1931. The Statute lays down strict rules about how the Monarch must be consulted on governmental matters and gives Parliament the power to limit the Monarch’s role in government if it wishes to do so.
The Queen agreed to abide by the Statute when she succeeded her father as Monarch in 1952. This meant that she was no longer able to pass down her throne to her eldest son, Prince Charles, as her predecessor King George VI had done. Instead, Parliament passed an Act of Settlement 1701 which meant that Prince Charles would only succeed his mother if he married a Protestant.
The British Empire
The British Empire was in decline by the time Princess Diana and Prince Charles wed in 1981. Some have speculated that the royal family chose to marry the pair off in an effort to revive public interest in the monarchy.
Charles and Diana’s marriage was not a happy one, and they ultimately divorced in 1996. Diana died just a year later, in a car accident in Paris.
The United Kingdom
When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981, the world watched in fascination. It was a fairytale story come true – a beautiful young woman from an aristocratic family marrying the heir to the throne. But there were rumors even then that all was not well within the royal couple’s relationship. And, as we now know, those rumors were true.
It has been widely reported that Diana and Charles were forced into marriage by their respective families. Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, is said to have been keen for his daughters to make advantageous matches, and he saw the union with Prince Charles as a perfect opportunity. For his part, Charles is thought to have felt duty-bound to marry and provide an heir to the throne, and Diana was seen as an suitable bride.
Of course, we will never know for sure whether Diana and Charles would have married if left to their own devices. But it seems likely that they would not have chosen each other without outside pressure. And, sadly, their marriage was not a happy one.