Prince Charles's affair disrupted his marriage with Diana. The princess tried to make it work but it was broken beyond repair.
Prince Charles and Diana tied the knot on 9 July 1981. Millions around the world viewed their lavish wedding, and the public was blown away by the charming and breathtakingly beautiful princess. At first, the couple enjoyed a smooth relationship in the public's eye. But as the years went by, cracks in their relationship were hard to miss.
Following their many differences and scandals, the couple separated in 1992. However, a short while after, a tape between Prince Charles and his then-lover, Camilla Parker was leaked. Their explicit conversation shocked and disgusted many, including Diana.
According to Express UK, a secret recording of Prince Charles flirting with Camilla in December 1989 (when Diana and Charles were still married) emerged in 1993. When the conversation took place the Prince was married to Diana for almost eight years. In the tapes, Prince Charles is heard saying, "I want to feel my way along you, all over you, and up and down you." He then goes to say that he needs her “several times a week”.
Camilla, then married to Andrew Parker-Bowles too expressed her desire to be with the prince. "I need you all the week. All the time," said Camilla. At one point, the prince even jokes about becoming his lover's Tampax, giving the tape one of its infamous names, "tampongate". They also planned to meet secretly during the six-minute conversation.
News of the tapes spread like wildfire and it became one of the biggest scandals involving the British Royal family. Diana, on the other hand, was disgusted. A memoir by Diana's former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe revealed that she was astonished by the tape.
"She told me that she had been genuinely shocked by some of the baser comments, particularly the Prince's tampon reference. 'It's just sick,' she said repeatedly," according to the Independent. Wharfe also added that it gave Diana the confidence to start rebuilding her life after her separation. "'Game, set and match,' she said, clutching to her a copy of the Daily Mirror," wrote Wharfe, according to the Independent.
Meanwhile, their affair was known to the princess even before the leaked tapes. Just a year after her wedding, the princess attempted suicide over her suspicions about Charles’ relationship with Camilla, according to Time. Soon after, she even caught him red-handed during one of his flirtatious conversations with Camilla.
According to Express UK, while they were married, she heard her husband flirt with Camilla over the phone. “I once heard him on the telephone in his bath on his hand-held set, saying: ‘Whatever happens, I will always love you'," stated the princess. Her husband's words broke her heart and Diana boldly confronted him. However, it ended up in an argument.
"I told him afterward that I had listened at the door, and we had a filthy row. Somebody in his office told me that my husband had had a bracelet made for her, which she wears to this day. It’s a gold chain bracelet with a blue enamel disc. It’s got ‘G and F’ entwined in it, ‘Gladys’ and ‘Fred’," said Diana, according to Express UK.
The princess even confronted Camilla about the affair. According to Reader's Digest, she made it known to Camilla that she knew everything happening behind her back. But Camilla did not apologize or act as if she knew anything about it.
Instead, she told the princess that she had “everything she could ever want” and “all the men in the world.” She further asked Diana what more she wanted. "I want my husband," replied the princess, according to Reader's Digest. She added, "Don’t treat me like an idiot."
In spite of the princess's efforts, the couple continued their relationship. And by the early 1990s, the couple was already living their separate lives. In 1994, Charles publicly admitted his infidelity.
The following year, Diana sat down with BBC journalist, Martin Bashir to reveal the struggles and tensions of her married life. She stated, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," according to Time.
Ten years later after the princess died, Prince Charles married Camilla in 2005.