Princess Diana was well-aware of Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles when the two were set to marry—and it broke her heart.
In a newly-resurfaced interview, the late royal reveals the moment she realized her groom-to-be was cheating on her. Sadness, anger, betrayal all went through her mind—but confrontation, under the circumstances, was not an option.
National Geographic exposed the tapes this week to mark the 21st anniversary of the royal’s tragic death.
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One clip exposes the exact moment 19-year-old Diana discovered the affair. At the time, Charles was getting ready to go on a five-week tour of the U.K. without her.
“You may recall seeing a picture of me sobbing in a red coat when he went off on his airplane,” she says in the heartbreaking interview. “That had nothing to do with him going. The most awful thing had happened before he went. I was in his study talking to him about his trip. The telephone rang, it was Camilla. Just before he was going for five weeks.”
“So I thought, ‘Shall I be nice or shall I just sit here?’” Diana explains. “So I thought I’d be nice, so I left them to it and it just broke my heart.”
In another recording, Diana tells how she discovered a secret present Charles bought for Camilla.
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“I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way. And then someone in his office told me that my husband has had a bracelet made for her,” Diana says in a heart-wrenching recording.
“I walked into this man’s office one day and I said, ‘Ooh, what’s in that parcel?’ He said ‘Oh, you shouldn’t look at that.’ So I opened it and there was the bracelet. I was devastated, and I said ‘Well, he’s going to give it to her tonight,’” she continues.
“So rage, rage, rage. You know, ‘Why can’t you be honest with me?’ But no, absolutely cut me dead.”
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The series of events almost led to Diana calling off the wedding altogether, with the tragic royal admitting: “It was as if he’d made his decision, and if it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to work. He’d found the virgin, the sacrificial lamb—and in a way, he was obsessed with me, but it was hot and cold, hot and cold, you never knew what mood it was going to be, up and down, up and down.”
Sick and tired of Charles’ ongoing lies, Diana asked her family for advice.
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“I went upstairs, had lunch with my sisters who were there. And I said, ‘I can’t marry him, I can’t do this, this is absolutely unbelievable.’ They were wonderful and said, ‘Well, bad luck, Duch, your face is on the tea towel… so you are too late to chicken out,’” she recalled.
Charles and Princess Diana finally divorced after years or rows and estrangement on August 28, 1996. He eventually married Camilla.
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