Heritage

Prince Charles Called His Marriage to Diana a "Greek Tragedy" in Letters to Nancy Reagan

"It all keeps getting worse and worse," he admitted.
IMAGE GETTY / DON RYPKA
Comments

Princess Diana famously described their marriage as "crowded," but Prince Charles characterized the ill-fated relationship as a "Greek tragedy" in a 1992 letter just made public for the first time. The surprising trove of correspondence reveals the royal's innermost thoughts as he poured his heart out to an equally famous friend: Nancy Reagan.

Bonded by their respective roles in the public eye, the pen pals traded letters for decades until the former First Lady passed away last year. The private notes then became part of the public archive at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in California. Now, the world catches a glimpse of a close friendship — and hears the royal's unfiltered perspective.

"No one can really understand what it all means until it happens to you, which is why it all keeps getting worse and worse," he wrote of Diana on June 21, 1992—just after an unflattering biography accused him of acting cold and callous. "One day I will tell you the whole story. It is a kind of Greek tragedy and would certainly make a very good play!"

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Prince of Wales previously sympathized with Nancy Reagan when her own disparaging book came out the year before. He slammed Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, telling his friend, "I know exactly the methods these dreadful people employ to create the maximum amount of controversy and conflict by making the wildest allegations so as to make the maximum amount of money."

The former actress first met the royal in 1974, when her husband was Governor of California. The two became close over the years, with Prince Charles officially visiting in 1981 and again four years later with Diana by his side.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

"President and Mrs. Reagan really valued their friendship with the royal family, especially the Prince of Wales," Joanne Drake of the Reagan Presidential Foundation told the Daily Mail. "They shared the ups and downs of their lives and always wrote the other with strong words of personal support, especially if the situation had become public."

In one especially-touching letter, Prince Charles consoled the First Lady after her husband died in 2004. "I so wanted to write to say how much my heart goes out to you," he offered. "I have minded so much for you ever since your husband became ill with that beastly Alzheimer's as I can well imagine how soul-destroying it must be to be unable to do anything to help as the illness gradually drags your loved one into a separate world from which you are barred."

The Prince's poignant concern for his dear friend offers a peek at their long-lasting connection. Even in 1981, he told Ronald Reagan that Nancy's charm made him "a devoted admirer for life!" That sentiment certainly held true for many years—all the way up until her passing at age 94 last March.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Comments
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Caroline Picard
View Other Articles From Caroline Picard
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
From its initial agribusiness to its current diverse portfolio, these are some of the corporation’s milestones across 185 years.
 
Share
P100 for 5 and Love Food Give Food are projects of global organization Action Against Hunger.
 
Share
 
Share
Their original purpose was to find an aristocratic young lady a worthy match.
 
Share
Because it never hurts to know what should be on your wishlist.
 
Share
The must-read novels, compelling memoirs, and diverting histories that are captivating us in 2019 (so far).
 
Share
 
Share
The young restaurateur tackles a cuisine closely associated with the family business but sets himself apart by showcasing each of Italy's regional specialties.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US