A royal divorce is no less tragic than a commoner’s divorce – but it might be a little more complicated.
The world was shocked and saddened on that day in August 1996 when Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially divorced. Yes, things had been rocky for years, and they’d been separated for a long time before. But the official divorce decree made it all official. The fairytale was over.
Still, just because Diana was divorcing a royal family member it doesn’t mean she got shafted in the divorce. There were plenty of items she had to give back when she got divorced. But there were quite a few she got to keep, too.
Princess Diana | John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images
1. Her Kensington Palace apartment
There are more than a dozen royal family members living in Kensington Palace right now, including Princess Diana’s oldest son and eventual heir to the throne Prince William and his family. When Prince Charles and Diana split, she got to keep apartments 8 and 9 at the palace. It was a spacious three level home with an entire floor that served as a nursery for her sons.
Kensington Palace and gardens | Pat_Hastings/iStock/Getty Images
2. An income
Inheriting items is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like getting cash in a divorce settlement. The details of the deal brokered between Diana and Charles were never publicized, but the New York Times reported that she received a lump sum of $22 million and an extra $600,000 per year.
3. Private jets
Flying commercial? Please. While some royal family members these days do fly commercial airlines to save money, Princess Diana retained access to the private royal jets if she needed to travel.
4. An office
It would have been awkward for Diana to keep her office at St. James Place since it was adjacent to her ex-husband Prince Charles. She was permitted to move her office, however, to Kensington Palace and was granted space there for her business affairs.
Princess Diana | Kevin Larkin/AFP/Getty Images
5. Room to entertain
Princess Diana was permitted to use the apartments at St. James Place for hosting soirees as long as she got permission first.
6. Her title
Rumor has it that the Queen would have let Diana keep her title, but Prince Charles insisted that she lose the “Her Royal Highness” preceding her name, meaning she had to curtsy to her own sons. Charles won that fight, but even post-divorce she was still called Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince William made the sweet promise to reinstate her title when he became king, but sadly never got the chance.
7. Royal bling
Princess Diana’s engagement ring on Kate Middleton | Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Princess Diana was permitted to keep all of the jewelry she accumulated during her short marriage, including her engagement ring – the same one that Kate Middleton now wears on her finger. The only thing she had to return? The Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara that Queen Elizabeth gave her as a wedding present. That piece remains in the royal jewelry collection.
8. A-list status
Just because Diana got divorced from Prince Charles it doesn’t mean she was ostracized from the royal family. She still got invited to royal events even after the divorce, which was apparently something most members insisted upon.
9. Some of her staff
She had to give up many members of her staff after getting divorced, but Princess Diana was permitted to keep her chef, cleaner, and dresser.
10. Her children
Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William | Johnny Eggitt/AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps most importantly, Princess Diana received joint custody of her beloved sons, William and Harry. They were at boarding school most of the time, but whenever they were home they split time between their mother and father.
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