Saturday, March 6, 2010
History Saturday - Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Who doesn't love a fairytale come to life? In today's world, when Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, the world thought fairytales did come to life.
It's not my intent to cast the royal couple in a poor light here, but take a look at the romance that led up to their marriage.
Diana Frances Spencer was born in July 1961. Her father was the 8th Earl Spencer. She was his youngest daughter born to Frances Spencer. After her, a son was born in 1964. Her brother's name was Charles.
Diana had quite an interesting pedigree. She was related to Charles II through four of his illegimate sons.
Her parents divorced when she was young. Before meeting Charles "romantically," she received a standard edcuation and in London she took an advanced cooking course at her mother's suggestion, although she never became an adroit cook, and worked first as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then got a job as a playgroup (pre-preschool) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties. It was now 1979.
Prince Charles was born on 14 NOV 1948, the eldest child to Queen Elizabeth. He went to Trinity College and served in the Royal British Navy in the mid 1970's. He was quite the bachelor in the 1970's and was linked romantically to several young ladies.
Charles didn't have it easy growing up. His father was very tough on him. In that regard, his "Uncle Dickie," really played a formative role in his life as a male role model. Unfortunately, he lost his Uncle Dickie in August 1979 when his boat was bombed.
Charles, the Prince of Wales made a dashing figure in his youth. In 1980 though, he was 30 and under pressure to marry. Under the Royal Marriages Act 1772, his marriage required the Queen's formal consent. Under the Act of Settlement 1701, royals must marry within the Church of England or foreit their place in the order of succession to the throne. Diana's aristocratic descent, Church of England faith, presumed virginity and native Englishness appeared to render her a suitable royal bride.
In way, I think these requirements are outdated for modern ways of thinking. I do understand wanting to marry a woman who shares the same faith as you. That's important. But really - did she have to be a virgin? And just how royal did she have to be? What about love? Isn't that important? I think these qualifications will certainlly be relaxed should Prince William propose to Kate Middleton, but I digress.
Prince Charles had known Diana for several years, (he first met her in 1977) but he first took a serious interest in her as a romantic interest, during the summer of 1980, when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. Diana gave him comfort regarding his Uncle's death and I think that made a very important impression on him. The relationship developed as he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes, aboard the royal yacht Britannia, followed by an invitation to Balmoral Castle, the Windsor family's Scottish home, to meet his family.
PRINCE CHARLES AT HIS INVESTITURE
Diana was well received at Balmoral by Queen Elizabeth II, by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen Mother. The couple then courted in London. The prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks. They were married on 29 July 1981. Talk about a whirlwind romance. I watched the wedding on TV. It was pretty cool.
We all know married life was no picnic for the Wales. In the 1990's they would divorced and Diana's story ended in sadness when she died in 1997.
In 1982, a movie was made about the Romance of Charles and Diana. You can find excerpts on You Tube. And just for a small time, Charles and Diana made the world believe that fairytales do come true. It was a heartwarming time to believe.
References for this blog: