Shortly following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Netflix announced the release date for Season 5 of The Crown, which will be coming out on November 9 of this year. The last season, which is set during Margaret Thatcher’s run as prime minister (1979-1990), closely follows the budding relationship and early marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales.
Actress Emma Corrin as Diana captivated younger audiences who had heard of the princess but never got the opportunity to experience her charm. “The people’s princess” enchanted a whole new generation who did not know her tragic tale of love, loss, and scandal. Here’s a quick summary of the royal love affair to all who are new to this club:
Let’s start from the very beginning, in 1970 when Charles and Camilla Shand met for the first time at a polo match. Some say the thing that made them click was a joke by Camilla about how her great-grandmother had an affair with the late King Edward VII.
Shortly after this encounter, Charles followed in his father’s footsteps serving in the Royal Navy for eight months. When he returned, however, Camilla was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles. Andrew had previously dated Charles’ sister, Princess Anne, not too long before the engagement. They wed in 1973.
In 1980, Charles was introduced to Lady Diana Spencer after having been introduced by her sister, Sarah. Charles was 31 at the time and Diana was just 18.
Just a year later, in February 1981, Charles proposed to Diana. They were married in July at St. Paul’s Cathedral where there were an estimated 750 million people watching around the world. Camilla Parker Bowles was also in attendance.
Charles and Diana had two sons, Prince William (born in 1982) and Prince Harry (born in 1984). According to a later interview with Charles, he allegedly began his extramarital affair with Camilla in 1986.
By 1992 it was world news.
In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced that Charles and Diana were separated.
1993: Camillagate. A rather spicy conversation was phone tapped between Prince Charles and Camilla, who both were legally still married at the time. While the full recording was published in Australian and German tabloids, the British media omitted some of the most explicit parts.
Diana was glorified in the public eye not only for being the victim of a brutal affair but also for her humanitarian efforts. After her separation, she began to strike back against the royal family, giving Charles an even worse reputation. Ever the fashion icon, in June 1994 Diana makes probably her biggest statement with “the revenge dress,” which was devoured by the media.
That same year, Charles allowed a film crew to follow him for a documentary in hopes of salvaging his reputation in the public eye.
In 1995 Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles announced their divorce. Only a year after that, the divorce between Charles and Diana was also made official.
Skipping forward two years to 1997, Diana dies tragically in a car accident with her new lover, Dodi Fayed, at the Pont d’le Alma tunnel in Paris, France. Her driver, Henri Paul, had allegedly been under the influence going nearly twice the posted speed limit. Both Fayed and Paul were pronounced dead on the scene but Diana was transported and died at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital just five hours later.
At the funeral, Charles decided to take the opportunity to bring the public eye to his relationship with Camilla by beginning public appearances together. The Queen refused to be seen in public with the two of them, refraining from attending any events with them until 2000 when she attended a party at Charles’ home in Highgrove to celebrate the birthday of the King of Greece. The couple moved into Clarence House (the official royal residence) in 2003. The royal family made a public statement that taxpayer money would not be used to decorate Camilla’s room. The couple married in 2005. The Queen was not present for the ceremony but was present for the reception, wearing white.
Charles and Camilla, now king and queen consort, have been brought into the public eye once again. I await the new season of The Crown eagerly to see what else is brought to light from this couple’s story.