When he reached his thirties, Charles was under high pressure to settle down as the royals feared he would not find a suitable bride. The Prince previously dated long-term love Camilla Parker Bowles in the early 1970s. Prince Charles had known Lady Diana Spencer for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980.
Despite Charles’ doubts about the proposal, fuelled by his love for Camilla, the Prince announced his engagement to Diana on February 24, 1981.
According to 2018 documentary “The Story of the Royals”, it was during their televised announcement that Prince Charles revealed he was not in love with Diana.
When the interviewer asked the couple if they were in love, Charles turned to Diana as if to see what she would say.
She replied “of course” before glancing away and Charles then said: “Well, whatever in love means.”
Royal observer Sarah Gristwood noted: “’Whatever in love means?’
“This is not exactly ringing endorsement.”
Historical Consultant for the Crown Robert Lacey also said: “I mean, what sort of person says that to their partner?
“Let alone to to the world as a whole?”
Author Andrew Morton noted: “At the time, it was like, oh he’s so befuddled with love he doesn’t even know what to say.
“It was not seen as being the run moment that it would later be seen as.”
Charles and Diana went on to split in 1992 after 11 years of marriage.
The Prince admitted he was not faithful to Diana in a documentary aired in 1994, while the Princess discussed their unhappy marriage in an explosive interview with Panorama a year later.
The couple divorced in 1996 at the request of the Queen.