The Crown’s claim: Prince Charles phoned Camilla Parker-Bowles to discuss Diana and confessed to Princess Anne he felt like he ‘didn’t know her’ (1980)
Confidante: Prince Charles phones Camilla (Emerald Fennell) even after his family say he should marry Lady Diana
Heart-to-heart: Princess Anne urges Charles to marry ‘perfect’ Diana in a conversation that is unlikely to have happened
Shortly after Diana leaves Balmoral, Prince Charles picks up the phone to Camilla Parker-Bowles to tell her what a success it has been.
The conversation is tinged with sadness on both parts, with Charles apparently coming to terms with the inevitability that he will one day marry Diana now that his family has approved of the match.
Camilla is taken aback, despite admitting she ‘knew it would happen one day’. Earlier in the episode she had instructed Charles to find a young woman who was ready to ‘give up everything’ for him. Charles replied saying he just wanted Camilla, by then a married mother, to be ‘jealous’.
Later in the episode, Charles and Anne have a conversation during which his sister urges him to marry Diana and ‘close the chapter’ on Camilla Parker-Bowles. She says of young Lady Diana: ‘She’s perfect… it must be written in the stars’.
However Charles responds by saying he ‘doesn’t know her’ and appears reluctant to commit.
The facts: Camilla was a close friend of Charles and one of his confidantes, so it is quite possible the two would have spoken about Diana.
However the royal family is unlikely to have pressured Prince Charles into marrying Diana. ‘I’ve never heard any suggestion the royal family at that time was telling Charles “come on, Diana is great, you must marry her”,’ Penny Junor told HistoryExtra.
‘They certainly liked her, and they might have said she was lovely, but remember, the royal family are not that communicative – I’d be really surprised if they had all openly encouraged Charles to marry her.’
One element of truth is how little time Prince Charles and Lady Diana had spent together before their engagement in February 1981.
Diana claimed they had only met each other on 13 occasions before their engagement, and most of those times there had been someone else present. An example of this is seen when Charles invites Diana to the opera in The Crown.
VERDICT: MOSTLY TRUE
The Crown’s claim: Charles was cold and cruel to Diana, cheated with Camilla before the wedding and there was never any break in their relationship
After receiving a card from Camilla Parker Bowles, the two women meet for lunch at Ménage a trois at The Wolseley. It’s an awkward encounter, with Camilla showing off how much she knows about the Prince of Wales’ character and quirks
Camilla reveals she and the prince call each other Fred and Gladys; Diana then later finds drawings of a bracelet Charles is having made, with the initials F and G engraved
Prior to flying off on his royal tour for six weeks before their wedding, Charles bids a rather short farewell to his fiancée at a rainy Heathrow airport, telling her casually the time will ‘fly by’ – though she is not so sure. He then pecks her on the cheek before boarding.
Diana later calls her friends in anguish, telling them she hasn’t heard from him in three weeks.
After receiving a card from Camilla Parker Bowles, the two women meet for lunch at Ménage a trois at The Wolseley. It’s an awkward encounter, with Camilla showing off how much she knows about the Prince of Wales’ character and quirks, such as the fact he doesn’t eat lunch or garlic, has a soft boiled egg with everything and loves the colour green – all of which Diana has no idea about.
Camilla reveals she and the prince call each other Fred and Gladys; Diana then later finds drawings of a bracelet Charles is having made, with the initials F and G engraved.
When Charles arrives home from the tour he doesn’t come straight home to his bride-to-be; instead he drives to Gloucestershire, where he spends the night with Camilla before travelling to St Paul’s Cathedral for his wedding rehearsal. There he reunites with a furious Diana.
He tells her it’s ‘over’ between him and Camilla, that the bracelet was a ‘souvenir’, and presents her with a signet ring engraved with the Prince of Wales insignia – for ‘the future Princess of Wales’.
The facts: Charles and Camilla’s relationship was friendly but he did not sleep with her the night before the wedding
The Prince of Wales did go on a tour of the US, Venezuela, New Zealand and Australia before the wedding, but not until a month after their engagement – and it only lasted five weeks.
Their farewell at the airport was reportedly ‘tender and tearful’, according to press reports, and Junor believes the suggestion Charles didn’t call his bride-to-be was a dramatic device to highlight how busy he was – something Diana ‘resented’ because she ‘hated being alone’ and couldn’t understand why his work took precedence.
Diana and Camilla did go for lunch together, and as far as Camilla was concerned it was ‘friendly’ and a genuine attempt to strike up a rapport, Junor said.
However, Diana’s account of the meeting in Diana: Her True Story is less favourable, believing Camilla used it as an opportunity to scope out the competition and ask leading questions that might help her continue to see Charles.
According to Junor, Charles did give Camilla a bracelet with their nicknames inscribed during a final lunch with his ex. Diana reportedly found the actual bracelet itself in Michael Colborne’s office, along with a load of other jewellery Charles had ordered as presents for a collection of women with whom he’d enjoyed dalliances, to thank them for their companionship over the years.
‘All the jewellery had been delivered to the office that Diana was sharing with Colborne and put on his desk,’ Junor told History Extra. ‘Colborne was called away to a meeting down the corridor. He left the package of jewellery on his desk and when he came back he met Diana storming out of the office. He quickly realised she had unpacked the boxes, discovered the bracelet and flown into a jealous rage.’
Junor refutes the suggestion that Charles and Camilla spent the night together before his wedding, or that the pair never stopped seeing each other, claiming it’s ‘highly unlikely’ because Camilla had already stepped ‘right back’, so he wouldn’t have needed to end it face to face.
‘I think it is absolutely untrue that she and Charles slept together just before the wedding. They are both decent, honourable people,’ she said.
Royal photographer Arthur Edwards also refuted the suggestion that Charles was cruel to Diana and strayed the night before his wedding. Writing in The Sun, he said: ‘That he made love to Camilla on the night before his wedding to Diana — absolutely not true. He said privately, ‘What sort of a man do you think I am?’
‘I don’t believe Charles phoned Camilla while his wife waited on the Tarmac to see him off on a foreign engagement. The Prince is not a cruel man.’
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE
The Crown’s claims: Prince Charles verbally abused a heavily pregnant Diana and called her ‘pathetic’ before complaining about her to the Queen
Retreating to her room: When the Queen comes to Highgrove to visit, Prince Charles is seen banging on the door of Princess Diana’s bedroom. Inside a pregnant Princess Diana could be seen laying on her bed while watching television, and turns the volume up on the screen as Prince Charles shouts through the door that she is ‘pathetic’
When the Queen comes to Highgrove to visit, Prince Charles is seen banging on the door of Princess Diana’s bedroom.
He shouts at her: ‘Might I remind you she is not just your mother-in-law, but also the Queen of this country.’
Inside a pregnant Princess Diana could be seen laying on her bed while watching television, and turns the volume up on the screen as Prince Charles shouts through the door that she is ‘pathetic’.
He later tells the Queen Diana is ‘not having an easy time of it’ and adds: ‘You’re two very different women.’
He describes Diana as ‘intellectually incurious’ and bemoans the fact she has been ‘withdrawing again, locking herself in her room watching endless hours of television’.
Prince Charles said: ‘I tried to give her tutorials on Shakespeare and poetry…she shows no interest. Just talks endlessly about missing London.’
The Queen tells him to ‘worry less about his own happiness and more about the wellbeing of the mother of your future child.’
The facts: The couple had difficulties, but it’s unlikely Charles turned to the Queen
Diana’s first pregnancy was a challenging time for the couple and the expectant mother was deeply unhappy.
In Andrew Morton’s 1992 biography, the princess said: ‘I had told Charles I felt so desperate and I was crying my eyes out. ‘He said I was crying wolf. ‘I’m not going to listen,’ he said. ‘You’re always doing this to me. I’m going riding now.’
Penny Junor wrote: ‘Apart from being in charge of decorating Highgrove and later their apartment at Kensington Palace, there wasn’t much left for Diana to do to feel part of it all.’
Yet it seems highly unlikely that Charles confided in his mother that Princess Diana was so unhappy.
As Junor writes in her biography of Camilla Parker Bowles: ‘Not even after the Queen found Diana at the bottom of the stairs after her fall, mercifully unharmed, did he take the opportunity to confide in his mother.’
Meanwhile Bedell Smith, in her biography of the prince, said the Queen would not interfere with her children’s marriages, writing: ‘The Queen’s natural reticence and sense of propriety prevented her from intervening to correct Diana, much less to ask her, or Charles for that matter, about the princess’s upset.’
THE VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE
The Crown’s claims: Prince Charles regularly called Camilla during the early years of his marriage to Diana
Still in contact: While enjoying lunch with the Queen, Prince Charles speaks with her about his relationship with Camilla. The Queen challenges Prince Charles on his choice of Gloucester because his home is ‘only a 15 minute drive from Camilla’. He insists he ‘just hunts with Camilla and talk on the telephone…when I need cheering up’
While enjoying lunch with the Queen, Prince Charles speaks with her about his relationship with Camilla.
The Queen challenges Prince Charles on his choice of Gloucester because his home is ‘only a 15 minute drive from Camilla’. He insists he ‘just hunts with Camilla and talk on the telephone…when I need cheering up.’
The facts: Prince Charles had almost no contact with Camilla at all for the first five years, with the resumption of contact believed to have been in 1986.
The Crown’s claim: Charles was angry about Diana bringing baby William on tour – and she threw a tantrum about their plans being changed
When the couple depart for Australia, Charles appears scornful of the fact they’re accompanied by their young son, who cries all the way onto the plane.
Once on board he tells Diana their plans have changed, meaning they’ll be separated from William for two weeks – which doesn’t go down well.
The princess throws a tantrum and looks decidedly miserable until she eventually gets her way and is reunited with William – which requires them to fly ‘to the other side of the country’.
The facts: William did not disrupt their tour schedule and Charles enjoyed spending time with his son
While it was a novel idea for the Waleses to bring their son on tour because Diana didn’t want to be separated from him, the tour schedule did not change as a result.
Australia’s outgoing prime minister Malcolm Fraser arranged for the family to stay at a sheep farm in Woomargama, close to Albury airport, meaning the couple could return to their son every night.
The fact they brought William with them went down well with the Australians.
Jane Connors, author of Royal Visits to Australia, said: ‘Bringing William was what made it really different.
‘There was a huge amount made of Diana being a breath of fresh air and [so] modern. It was enormous.’
Charles also spoke of enjoying the time with William, who was then nine-months-old.
When the couple depart for Australia, Charles appears scornful of the fact they’re accompanied by their young son, who cries all the way onto the plane
The Crown’s claim: Charles is still infatuated with Camilla and brands Diana ‘pathetic’
Throughout the early days of the tour there is obvious tension between Charles and Diana; during a visit to Ayres Rock, a photographer asks them to get closer, at which point Charles simply places a hand on his wife’s shoulder.
The couple then climb the landmark, but Diana struggles with the heat and calls out to her husband complaining she feels dizzy. Charles is unsympathetic, telling his wife: ‘Can’t you pull yourself together?’
He’s then seen on a phone call to Camilla Parker Bowles complaining about how ‘pathetic’ she is, moaning: ‘It’s so critical we get this tour absolutely right, and yet she’s so weak and fragile. One can’t rely on her for the simplest thing, letting the side down wherever she goes. How do I get through the next six weeks without you?’
Camilla tells him to ring her every day and massages his ego, to which Charles replies: ‘God I miss you my darling, your adulthood; if Diana had an ounce of the strength of character that you seem to display at every turn then perhaps we could rescue it.’
The facts: Diana ‘fared well’ on the tour and Charles and Camilla were ‘purely platonic’ at this point
When Charles and Diana appeared distant early on, royal press officers assured the Australian media it was due to jet-lag and adapting to the heat.
In truth the tour was a difficult time for Diana, who battled with postpartum depression after William was born, and was still struggling with her eating disorder.
She did find the Ayres Rock climb hard, however that was down to her outfit – an elegant white dress and flats – more than fatigue. According to local media she ‘fared well’ in general in the first few days of the trip, with the Morning Herald declaring: ‘She might be made of tougher stuff than many think.’
At this point in time, Charles and Camilla have insisted they were merely friends and remained platonic until the Waleses’ marriage had ‘irrevocably broken down’.
David Dimbleby’s 1997 biography backs up the claim, stating there was ‘virtually no contact’ between Charles and Camilla between 1981 and 1986, although they did continue to mix in the same social circles.
The Crown’s claim: Prince Charles ‘proposed’ to Camilla over the phone as his marriage to Diana fell apart
In the series, the Prince of Wales can be seen speaking to Camilla on the phone and saying: ‘In the moment the avalanche was bearing down on me, and in that ghastly moment I thought for sure I was going to die, I had a realisation.
My marriage, this whole thing, the whole charade is just madness. I only want to be with you. Fully, completely, as my wife.’
The facts: Royal biographer Penny Junor contests the idea that Charles would’ve suggested Camilla be his wife.
Penny Junor claimed that Prince Charles and Diana’s marriage was ‘very broken and they were leading largely separate lives’ at the time of the avalanche, but that she doubts he would’ve suggested Camilla be his wife.
‘I don’t think he thought he could marry Camilla, even if he’d been divorced from Diana,’ she said, speaking to History Extra. ‘Camilla was still married to someone else; it would be pretty unheard of for the future supreme governor of the Church of England to marry a divorcee as a divorced man himself.
‘He may have wanted to spend the rest of his life with Camilla, but I’d be very surprised if he said, ‘I want to marry you and do this properly.”
VERDICT: PROBABLY FALSE
The Crown’s claim: Charles and Camilla were frequently meeting at Highgrove by 1988
Throughout the episode, Prince Charles can be seeing on the phone to Camilla or sitting beside her, discussing his feelings.
In one scene, when they’re side by side in a car, he asks Camilla whether she has feelings for her husband Prince Andrew.
In another, following his discussion with his mother, the Queen, about his marriage with Diana, Prince Charles visits Camilla and tells her of his plans to get protection officers to inform him if they catch Diana messing around.
The facts: According to royal historians, they were meeting each other again by around 1986
Series four of The Crown implies that Prince Charles and Camilla were in touch throughout his marriage to Princess Diana, but according to royal historians, Charles and Camilla were seeing each other again by 1986.
‘It was just a very tragic mismatch… I really do not think that Charles used Diana or intended to use Diana, but once he was inside that marriage life was utterly unbearable for both of them,’ said Penny Junor, speaking to History Extra.
Meanwhile, in a documentary last week, Paul Burrell claimed he knew Charles was having an affair while staying away from Diana.
The Crown’s claims: Prince Charles was verbally abusive to Diana about her solo trip to New York in 1989
During the episode, Diana and Prince Charles can be seen arguing about her solo trip to New York, with the Prince of Wales telling her: ‘Every time we do talk it ends in an argument, I say silence is preferable.’
He calls her plans to travel to New York alone ‘an ugly piece of self-advancement.’
Prince Charles slams her as ‘barely in a fit state psychologically to see the hairdresser, let alone represent the crown’.
Later, they come together for a meeting alongside their advisers, with Prince Charles team telling Diana the schedule appeared ‘challenging, with several appointments each day.’
And when her team attempt to assure that she is ‘an exemplar of health’, Charles team point to her ‘mental health.’
They go on to criticise whether she will be able to cope with what is required of her, as well as being away from her children for an extended period.
Princess Diana’s solo trip to New York was documented in the final episode, where she is seen hugging a young boy who has HIV in a visit to a Harlem hospital
The late princess was left petrified of travelling, and breaks down over her fears about the ‘failure’ of a trip, saying: ‘I’m in hell. He hates me and just wants me to fail. He tells everyone I’m mad. They treat me like I’m mad. And I’m starting to feel mad. Why did I agree to this trip? I’m going to fall flat on my face.’
Yet Diana is met with adoring cheering crowds at the airport, with people lining the streets to applaud the princess wherever she goes.
Her trip, which lasts three days, includes a visit to the Henry Street Settlement [a not-for-profit social service agency in the Lower East Side neighbourhood of Manhattan] and a charity gala at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
She takes the highly unusual step of hugging a young boy with AIDS while visiting a hospital in Harlem.
Meanwhile the press praise her as reaching new heights without her husband Prince Charles.
When they are united after her trip, Prince Charles tells her that her ‘capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me.’
He continues: ‘We are all glad you are back where you belong without too much damage being done.’
He tells her she is ‘selfish’ and she spend the trip ‘grandstanding’.
Prince Charles goes on to bellow at Princess Diana that ‘he cares about Camilla’ and accuses her ‘of hurting her’, saying: ‘If you hurt her, you hurt me.
‘Camilla is who I want. That is who I want. That is who my priority is.’
After shouting into the royal’s face, Prince Charles tells her: ‘If you have a complaint about this marriage, I suggest you take it up with the people who arranged it.’
The facts: Princess Diana went on a hugely successful solo trip to New York, but Prince Charles’ reaction is unknown
In 1989, Princess Diana embarked on her first solo trip, travelling to New York for several days.
A three-day stay saw the princess combine glamour with her humanitarian ambitions, as she visited the opera in Brooklyn, the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side, and a children’s HIV unit in Harlem.
With her marriage likely already in trouble, Princess Diana seemed to lap up the attention afforded her during a high society night at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, where she attend a Welsh National Opera Gala production of Falstaff.
The evening was a charity gala held entirely in her honour, which drew a black-tie crowd of 860 guests, among them scores of high-flying New Yorkers. Diana wore that famous champagne-coloured dress with gold beading by Victor Edelstein, one of her favourite designers.
The princess sat in the royal box, which the New York Times wrote at the time ‘was bedecked with swags of purple and red satin and greenery’.
During the same visit, the royal made a high-profile appearance at the pediatric AIDS unit at Harlem Hospital, and then at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side.
Surrounded by security, the princess wore a pink and black suit by Catherine Walker. Shortly after the visit, she jetted back home to the UK.
The trip was widely regarded as a roaring success, although it is unknown whether the royal couple argued about it.
Penny Junor said: ‘It was a very successful trip from her point of view. She did what she did best, which was being the caring, compassionate princess.’
However, it is unknown if Prince Charles would have reacted in such a way portrayed in the show and royal experts have refuted claims that the royal would ever have spoken in such an aggressive way to his wife.
According to Junor, Charles did become increasingly frustrated by what he saw as Diana being ‘in competition’ with him.
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE