Most watching season 4 of The Crown wouldn’t argue that the show is overly flattering of Prince Charles, who marries young ingénue Diana Spencer despite his ongoing love for Camilla Parker Bowles under pressure from his father. In fact, some royal experts have argued the opposite, claiming that Diana’s faults and part in ending the marriage have been glossed over in favor of placing the blame squarely on Charles and Camilla. But The Crown did offer the king-to-be one small mercy: not showing his and Diana’s honeymoon, a trip plagued with constant, painful reminders to his young bride that he wasn’t over childhood love Camilla. More than a little of their honeymoon, which included taking a yacht through the Mediterranean and visiting Balmoral Castle, was taken up fighting over Camilla — or in Diana’s case, crying and having nightmares about Camilla.
In royal biography Battle of Brothers, historian Robert Lacey details how Diana’s cautious optimism for her marriage was cut down swiftly into their honeymoon.
“A few days into their honeymoon on the Royal Yacht Britannia, they opened their diaries to discuss their next engagements, when out of Charles’s dropped not one, but two photos of Camilla,” Lacey recounts. “Diana chose not to spoil the moment. She had already worked out the truth about Mrs. Parker Bowles.”
As shown in The Crown, Diana finds out before her wedding that Charles is having a custom bracelet made for Camilla and gets cold feet about the whole thing (in reality, she finds the bracelet itself.) But that isn’t the only bit of monogrammed jewelry Charles and Camilla exchanged for these difficult times ahead.
“Getting ready while on honeymoon in Egypt for a white-tie dinner with President Anwar Sadat, Diana noticed that her husband’s cufflinks were engraved with two intertwined letter Cs,” writes Lacey, per Diana’s own account of the exchange to author Andrew Morton.
“‘Camilla gave you those, didn’t she?’” the princess asked.
“‘Yes,’ replied Charles defensively. ‘So what’s wrong? They’re a present from a friend.’”
Lacey notes that Diana adds her own commentary years later: “‘Boy, did we have a row. Jealousy, total jealousy…I felt I was a lamb to the slaughter.’”
So, not the magical royal honeymoon one might have hoped for, and not particularly encouraging for those who believe Charles’ claim that he was totally faithful to wife Diana for years before straying. When it came to Camilla, it seems Charles never could fully let go.
Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.
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