She was a fairytale princess in her puffy white dress at their July 29, 1981 wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Princess Diana, 20, was 13 years younger than her single fiancé. Millions of people around the world watched the royal vows, but one guest inside the cathedral was particularly noteworthy: Charles’ longtime love, ex-girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles.
Shortly after the nuptials, Diana realized that Charles still had feelings for Camilla. “There were three of us in this wedding, so it was a bit crowded,” she later said. Ultimately, the two were unfaithful during the 14-year marriage which brought them two sons, William and Harry – “an heir and a successor” – but they stayed together because, according to Diana, they “didn’t want to disappoint the public”.
They finally separated in 1992, after Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip failed to broker a reconciliation during a secret meeting at the palace. After their divorce in 1996, Diana focused on her charity work, but died a year later in a tragic car accident in Paris. Charles, free to marry his longtime love, married Camilla in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005. His parents did not attend.