Prince Charles proposed to someone else before Princess Diana

Prince Charles proposed to someone else before Princess Diana

We all know the tragic story of Princess Charles and the late Princess Diana. The young Diana, plucked from her normal life, became the world’s obsession when it was announced she would marry the future king, Prince Charles.

What many people don’t know, however, is that she very nearly did not become princess. Before they met, Prince Charles was pressured into proposing to someone else.

Prince Charles famously dated future second wife Camilla Parker-Bowles when they were younger, but was forced to break things off because his family had determined she was not a suitable partner for the future King.

In the years after, the prince was pushed toward his cousin (not a first cousin) Amanda Knatchbull. Charles’ great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten had encouraged him to strike up a relationship with Knatchbull, who was his granddaughter, reports royal historian and biographer Robert Lacey.

“Over the years the two cousins did grow close, developing a mutual respect and friendship that has lasted to the present day. But when the prince finally made his proposal in the summer of 1979—shortly before Lord Mountbatten’s assassination by the IRA—the independent-minded Amanda politely turned him down,” wrote Lacey in Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult.

“The surrender of self to a system, she explained, was so absolute when joining the royal family, it involved a loss of independence ‘far greater than matrimony usually invites,'” Lacey writes in the book.

Her reasoning for not accepting the proposal reportedly greatly impacted the future king, and served to confirm his “own belief that to marry into the House of Windsor was a sacrifice that no-one should be expected to make,” wrote Charles’ biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby.

The prince went on to date Diana in 1980, after meeting her through her older sister Lady Sarah, whom he also used to date. The pair announced their engagement on February 24 and married later that year on July 29.

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