Sunday, September 2, 2012

Princess Diana's Divorce

Diana and Charles' marriage ended in the early 1990s. They had already been seeing less and less of each other for years, changing back and forth between two royal residences, Kensington Palace in London and their country home in Highgrove.  


They kept the marital problems private at first, but after the media discovered their issues, it became a national scandal. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly told the press through friends, each accusing the other for the marriage's termination. 


One may wonder what was the reason they put an end to their marriage. Well, Princess Diana found him unsupportive and insensitive to her needs. On the other hand, Prince Charles considered she was needy and emotionally unstable. It has to be noted that Diana's bulimia began as early as the first year into the marriage.  And of course, there were the affairs...

Charles resumed his old, pre-marital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana revealed this occurred as early as 1984, just three years after their marriage, while Charles later admitted to resuming it around 1986. "Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," Diana stated during a television interview with BBC's Panorama.  The Camillagate tapes recorded in 1989 revealed Charles and Camilla's sexual relationship.

While Diana blamed Camilla for her marital troubles, at some point Diana started to believe Charles had other affairs as well. To be more specific, in October 1993 Diana wrote to a pal that she believed her husband was now in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her. It has to be mentioned that Legge-Bourke had been hired by Prince Charles as a young companion for his sons while they were in his care and Diana was undeniably resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes.

Diana was honest enough to confirm her own extramarital affair with horse riding instructor James Hewitt . Hewitt had initially been summoned to instruct William and Harry, but as the relationship ensued, Diana herself found the courage to overcome her childhood fear of riding. 


The affair with Hewitt began in 1987 and lasted 5 years. It started cooling when Hewitt was dispatched to Germany in 1989 and served in the Gulf War in 1991. Contrary to rumours, he denies being Prince Harry's real father.  Harry was already a toddler when they first met. After Diana passed away, Hewitt published books revealing details about their sexual relationship and expressed intention to sell her love letters. 
Although her affair with Hewitt was the longest of her affairs, Diana also had relationships with other men. Prior to Hewitt, she allegedly hooked up with bodyguard Barry Mannakee.  Charles had him removed from royal duties in 1986 and he died in a motorcycle accident in 1987. A recorded phone conversation also hinted on a sexual affair with James Gilbey around 1989, although Diana claimed he's "only a good friend." He called her Squidgy, hence the Squidgygate tapes.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were separated on 9 December 1992. On 3 December 1993, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life.



In December 1995, triggered by the Panorama interview, the Queen asked Charles and Diana to divorce. While Charles agreed right away, it took Diana till February 1996 to agree, negotiating the divorce terms along the way. The divorce was finalised on August 28 , 1996
in the High Court- the day Diana told her friend was the "saddest day of my life".

Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million and kept her jewelry. She was no longer to be addressed as "Royal Highness," but was allowed to keep her title as "Princess of Wales." As William and Harry's mother, who they've made the decision to raise jointly, she was also allowed to live in Kensington Palace until they came of age. According to the contract she had to have the agreement of the Queen for every activity which was in the public eye. 


She was not allowed to move abroad. She had to have the acceptance of the Queen and the government for all trips, even those with charitable purposes. She was not allowed to represent England abroad any more. She didn't receive public money for her work any more. She had to clear her desk in St. James' Palace. And on events of national importance she would only be able to take part with the express invitation of the Palace.

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