If there’s one message the UK tabloids wanted to hone in one during the 90s, it’s that Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage was far from perfect.
But aside from being a best-selling cover line, it was also a little bit true.
Yes, 13 times.
As in, less times than the number of times some people will spend talking to a builder while planning their renovations. Or meet their dry cleaner. Or have a conversation with their coffee guy. Or say hello to their bus driver. Or see that person you always see near where you live, who you always recognise and show a faint expression of recognition towards, but who you literally never speak to, even though it’s kind of comforting to see them everyday.
Less times that you’ve probably met your workmates spouse.
Less times you’ve definitely had a bit of banter with the barman at your local, whose name you get wrong every time.
You get the picture.
Listen: The Princess Myth is BS. If Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry, will she rescue us from the ivory anti-feminist Princess tower? (Post continues after audio.)
The documentary – based on a series of video interviews recorded by her speech coach Peter Settelen in the early 1990s – touches on the fact that the first of these meetings was when Diana was 16 years old and the prince was dating her older sister Sarah.
In that instance, she wasn’t overly impressed by the prince. However, when she met him at a barbecue in Sussex in 1979 – when she was 18 – things were a little different.
“I sat there and this man walked in and I thought, ‘Well I am quite impressed this time round.’ I was different and everything else,” Diana says in one of the tapes.
The then-30-year-old was also quite keen on the Lady Spencer, with Diana describing him as being unable to keep away, but not necessarily being that romantic.
“He chatted me up – like a bad rash, he was all over me.”
She says that when she shared her sympathies over the recent death and funeral of his great uncle and mentor Lord Louis Mountbatten, he chose this as the moment to make his move.
“Whereupon he leapt upon me and started kissing me and everything – this is not what people do. And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, followed me around [like a] puppy.”
Though their courtship involved very few actual meetings, Diana confirmed she was “of course” in love during an interview after their engagement, when Charles’ follow-up response was, “Whatever in love means”.
“That threw me completely, I thought what a strange [answer] – absolutely traumatised me,” she says in the tapes.
How long did you spend dating your partner before you committed?