The 15 Most Memorable Moments from Charles and Diana's Marriage
Even before the season one premiere of FX's new drama series Feud, the network had already ordered a second season. And while this year, producer Ryan Murphy is taking on Hollywood rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, next season he’ll focus on one of the most tumultuous tabloid relationships ever: Charles and Diana.
FX and Murphy aren’t the only ones bringing the life, death, and turbulent marriage of Lady Di to TV — Netflix hit The Crown will reportedly also touch on the captivating life and tragic death of The People’s Princess—but Feud will focus on the notorious conflict in Kensington and tell the story from Diana’s point of view.
From marriage to motherhood to becoming the most photographed woman in the world, Diana was a style icon, humanitarian, royal rebel, and fierce protector of her children. Here, we recall 15 moments from her life and marriage to Charles which Feud should definitely tackle.
1. The first time Diana met Charles.
Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer while dating her sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, in 1977.
2. Diana leaving her job at the nursery school.
Before becoming The People’s Princess, Diana was a kindergarten assistant at Young England Nursery School. Much attention was paid to the fact that she was the first bride to earn an income working (including as a house cleaner and babysitter) before marrying into the royal family.
3. Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding.
The drama surrounding Diana’s wedding to Charles in 1981 could easily fill two episodes. From her top-secret dress to the fanfare around the procession and the 750 Million viewers who tuned in to watch it all on TV, their wedding went down in history as one of the most famous of all-time. Even before they were officially betrothed, a critical eye was cast upon to Diana for mistakenly referring to her groom as "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of "Charles Philip Arthur George.” The princess later said she felt like “a lamb to the slaughter” marrying into the Royal family.
4. Her tumble down the stairs during her first pregnancy.
When she was two months pregnant with William, Diana took a fall down a flight of stairs. While some close to her say it was accidental, many reports recall Diana “threw herself down the stairs.” The latter version is something Lady Di herself helped solidify when she later recalled the fall while discussing her struggles with severe depression and her unhappy marriage in a BCC interview with Martin Bashir.
5. The birth of William and Harry.
With the birth of her two sons, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis and Prince Henry (Harry) Charles Albert David, Diana found a new purpose. Her modern approach to motherhood included bringing the boys with her on tours of Royal duty and often taking them to school. “I live for my sons,” the Princess said. “I would be lost without them.”
6. Diana's dance with John Travolta.
For Di’s first trip to the United States in 1985, The Royal Couple visited The White House. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan hosted a black-tie, star-studded gala, which drew international attention. Perhaps the most famous photo from the evening is of Diana (clad in a stunning velvet, a midnight blue gown designed by Victor Edelstein and a sparkling diamond choker) getting a twirl on the dancefloor from John Travolta.
7. Charles’ affair with Camilla.
Though Prince Charles and his former flame Camilla Parker Bowles were reportedly in contact within weeks of his wedding to Diana, the married exes rekindled their affair in 1986. In 1992, intimate tapes of Charles and Camilla were released to the British press. A year later, Diana began an affair with her children’s riding instructor James Hewitt.
8. Throwing herself into charity work.
As someone who loved to be around children, Diana used her public platform to draw attention to a range of humanitarian work, including children’s charities. She’s most remembered for her work with those afflicted with AIDS and Leprosy and for fighting to eliminate the use of landmines.
9. The release of Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story.
This explosive 1992 biography — which revealed the extramarital affairs of both Charles and Diana as well as Diana’s deep unhappiness in her marriage — was attributed to anonymous royal sources. After her death in 1997, Morton revealed Diana herself gave him much of the information.
10. Paparazzi mayhem.
Around this time, the paparazzi frenzy around Diana also reached a fever pitch. The Royal Family sued The Daily Mirror in 1993 after photos of her working out in a leotard and shorts at the gym were taken through a window.
11. The Martin Bashir interview.
Perhaps the most explosive moment of Diana’s life was the 1995 BBC interview she gave to journalist Martin Bashir. In the interview, Diana stated that suffered from depression, rampant bulimia (which she said began right after her marriage to Charles when he grabbed her around the waist and said “oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we.") But the most embarrassing and infuriating to the Queen, was when Diana said she did not believe Charles would make a good King.
12. Divorcing royalty.
After the Bashir interview, Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter urging the couple to get “an early divorce.” On Aug. 28, 1996, the split was official with Diana keeping her apartment at Kensington Palace.
13. Her St. Tropez stay.
In July 1997, Paris Ritz owner Mohammad Al-Fayed invited Diana and her sons to vacation at his compound in St. Tropez. When she accepted, Al-Fayed bought the Jonikal, a $20 Million yacht on which to entertain them. It was there that Diana met Dodi Al-Fayed. One month later she returned to spend time with Dodi while William and Harry were at Balmoral Castle with Charles and The Queen.
14. The tragic crash.
Sadly, one of the things people will always remember most about Diana is the way she died. A paparazzi chase turned deadly when Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedez-Benz carrying Diana, Dodi, and their bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, crashed into the 13th pillar of the Ponte de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. Only Rees-Jones survived. Fayed and Paul were pronounced dead at the scene while Diana was rushed to hospital La Pitie-Salpetriere; she was pronounced dead at 4:57 am on August 31, 1997. She was 36. When the world awoke to the news, there as an outpouring of grief for the young Princess who had publicly suffered so much. The greatest tragedy of all
15. A funeral for the People's Princess.
Officially laid to rest as Her Royal Highness Princess of Wales, the royal ceremonial funeral for Lady Diana took place in Westminster Abbey on September 6, 1997. Her coffin was draped with the royal standard with an ermine border and made a public procession from Kensington Palace to St. James Place. Two billion people worldwide viewed the procession and the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, making it one of the most watched events in history. During her funeral service, Elton John performed a revised version of "Candle in the Wind" which had been re-written for the Princess. It is the only time the song has been performed live and all proceeds from the song, which was released as a single in 1997, have gone to Diana's charities. Lady Di, The People’s Princess, was buried that day in Althorp Park, the Spencer Family Home.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.