Sunday 24 September 2017

'I can't go through with it' - Prince Charles 'almost called off his wedding to Diana'

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing an Emanuel wedding dress, leaves St. Paul's Cathedral with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales following their wedding on 29 July, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing an Emanuel wedding dress, leaves St. Paul's Cathedral with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales following their wedding on 29 July, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince William sit on a bench in the gardens of Kensington Palace on December 14, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Prince William on his first day at nursery school on September 24, 1985. He arrived with Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales for his first day at Mrs. Mynor's Nursery school in Notting Hill, London, England.(Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales play with their baby son Prince William in the grounds of Government House on April 23, 1983 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Diana and Prince Charles look on lovingly at baby Prince William on the day of his Christening at Buckingham Palace in 1982.
The family arrive in Australia on an official visit in 1983 in Australia. William was just 9-months old.
LONDON - JUNE 22: (FILE PHOTO) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St Mary's Hospital with baby Prince William on June 22, 1982 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Gordon Rayner

Britain's Prince Charles was wracked with such doubts about his doomed marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales that he told an aide on the eve of his wedding: “I can’t go through with it,” a new biography reveals.

Both the Prince and his young bride-to-be entertained thoughts of calling off the wedding because each knew that their relationship was deeply flawed.

While the then Lady Diana Spencer knew the Prince held a candle for Camilla Parker Bowles, her groom panicked that he was rushing into marriage with a girl he hardly knew.

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Catherine Mayer, whose unauthorised biography Charles: Heart of a King is published on Thursday, quotes a member of the Prince’s inner circle as saying that on the eve of the wedding in 1981 the Prince “was desperate”.

The future Princess, to whom he had been engaged for five months after a brief courtship, was “not the jolly country girl he had assumed”, but instead a vulnerable, complicated woman already suffering from an eating disorder.

He is said to have told his confidant: “I can’t go through with it…I can’t do it.”

The same friend is quoted as saying that: “I always told him afterwards that if it had been a Catholic marriage, it could have been declared null. Because he wasn’t really [committed], because she started with the bulimia and everything before the wedding.”

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St Mary's Hospital with baby Prince William on June 22, 1982 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St Mary's Hospital with baby Prince William on June 22, 1982 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

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Lady Diana, meanwhile, had found a bracelet intended for Camilla Parker Bowles which had the letters “GF” engraved on it.

She believed they stood for “Gladys” and “Fred”, the pet names the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles had given each other, though an alternative suggestion was that they stood for “Girl Friday”, another nickname the Prince had given her.

Lady Diana later told her own biographer Andrew Morton that she confided in her sisters, telling them: “I can’t marry him, I can’t do this, this is absolutely unbelievable.”

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince William sit on a bench in the gardens of Kensington Palace on December 14, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince William sit on a bench in the gardens of Kensington Palace on December 14, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

They told her it was too late to pull out because “your face is [already] on the tea towels”.

But, says Mayer: “She had no idea her bridegroom also had to be coaxed to the altar.”

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A mutual friend of the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall debunks the myth that they met at a polo match, and instead reveals that she introduced the two over a drink at her flat in 1971, certain that they would make a good match.

Diana and Prince Charles look on lovingly at baby Prince William on the day of his Christening at Buckingham Palace in 1982.
Diana and Prince Charles look on lovingly at baby Prince William on the day of his Christening at Buckingham Palace in 1982.

The biography has already caused controversy over its depictions of the Prince’s court as a modern-day “Wolf Hall” riven with backstabbing and rivalry, and Clarence House has responded to the book by claiming Mayer overstated the exclusive access she was given to the Prince, which amounted to a nine-minute conversation, according to an aide.

Yesterday Mayer hit back, telling the BBC: “I had some help from Clarence House to not only attend events that press could accredit for, but also to talk to members of his inner circle and his friends.”

The book also contains fresh evidence about the extent to which the Prince of Wales trusted Jimmy Savile, later unmasked as one of the worst predatory paedophiles the country has ever known, even asking him to read his speeches for him to give him his thoughts.

Telegraph.co.uk

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