The year was 1996 and Prince Charles and Princess Diana had been keeping up appearances and attending to their royal duties as best they could despite being separated for four years under the relentless spotlight of the media.
But on August 28, 1996, the couple was formally divorced. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of “Princess of Wales,” Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne.
This article from The Independent – at the time – describes the tension and pressure that gripped the royal family in the four years preceding the official divorce.
In 1993, Diana and Charles were living separate lives, despite attending occasional functions together. By the end of the year, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life and asked to be allowed to live away from the media spotlight. Six months later, Prince Charles admitted he had been unfaithful, The shock had barely worn off before Diana’s affair with James Hewitt was revealed.
No one can deny that the whole situation was a right royal mess, but it took another few years before the couple could bring some closure to their lives.
In 1995, Princess Diana gave the famous television interview in which she vowed she would not “go quietly”.
“That’s the problem. I’ll fight to the end, because I believe that I have a role to fulfil, and I’ve got two children to bring up,” she said.
Palace officials were reportedly angered by Diana’s decision not to inform them about the interview until shortly before it was broadcast. In the aftermath, the Queen wrote to both her son and estranged daughter-in-law urging them to speed up the process and seek a divorce.
Can you imagine how Charles and Diana must have felt on this day 18 years ago? Relief? Grief? Joy?
Do you remember the day Prince Charles and Princess Diana finally parted ways? How did it make you feel?