Cinderella is one of the most popular fairy tales of all times. A good and beautiful girl, bullied by her evil step-mother and two ugly step-sisters, catches an eye of a handsome prince and becomes his wife. From rags to riches in a blink of an eye – what is there not to like?
In real life fairy tales sometimes happen. Take Diana Spencer and Charles Windsor, for example. She – a young and innocent beauty with big blue eyes and fair hair. He – a handsome and eligible bachelor, the Prince of Wales and a future king. It was love at first sight (at least for her). After a short period of engagement comes a big wedding.
In fairy tales weddings herald the end of a story. There’s always and they lived happily ever after and that’s that. In reality a wedding starts a marital life and a happy ending is never certain. Charles and Diana’s is a well-known story – a fairy-tale wedding, then tears, heartbreaks and a nasty divorce.
When I was little I often wondered why it didn’t work out between those two. However, with some life experience under my belt I now understand why this relationship was doomed to end.
I think there are many things to consider before one leaps into matrimony. After all, one cannot do this hastily and hope for the best. However, young people perceive the world in a more optimistic way, especially when they are in love. And Diana was deeply in love. Her husband was her first love. She had no previous experience in relationships. She expected Charles to be madly in love with her, spend all his time in her company and forget about everything and everyone, except her.
Love is blind and selfish. She loved with her whole heart and expected the same in return. What she did not expect was Camila Parker-Bowles – a lover and a long-time partner of Charles. Diana naively assumed that her youth and beauty would sweep an old and ugly lover aside. But Charles married Diana because he couldn’t be with the woman he loved. He had to marry a virgin to produce a legitimate heir and lady Spencer was a proper partner, accepted by his family.
Shouting and nagging rarely works on men. Don’t I know it! They tend to avoid quarrels and either scream at you or completely ignore you and walk out, leaving you fuming at the mouth. If they are pressed to the wall, they might become aggressive and it never ends well. Diana tried everything – tears, begging, threats. At one point she even hurled herself off the stairs. But when you hear the same story over and over again, you choose to turn a deaf ear to it. Charles did more – he went back to his lover. Can I blame him? When you don’t get love, peace and understanding at home, you will look for it elsewhere.
Some people say that Diana was too emotional, and in comparison to his wife, Charles was emotionally challenged. It is hard to disagree that their upbringing had a great effect on their adult lives. Diana had a relatively happy childhood for the first years of her life. But when her parents divorced, her world shattered. Her mother abandoned the family and a vicious custody battle must have been hell for a sensitive girl like Diana. Lord Spencer’s second marriage did not improve matters at home.
However, Diana had more freedom in life than her husband. Being next in line to the British throne obliged Charles to a certain set of rules. His parents, as well as the nation expected him to be a perfect little prince – always on his best behaviour, saying and doing only the right things.
I believe that the difference in age was a bit of a problem in this marriage. Charles was almost 13 years older than his young bride. What’s more, they didn’t share the same interests. She liked pop music and couldn’t stand opera. The Prince of Wales enjoyed horse riding, hiking and fishing. Opposites attract? Yes, but only for a short time. Couples who share similar hobbies and spend time doing things together, build a strong relationship that can withstand the test of time when the physical intimacy is no longer a priority.
It didn’t help that people were crazy about Diana and showed more interest in her. At first it was probably amusing, but after a while the Prince of Wales became jealous of all the attention. His celebrity status was stolen from him, and by his own wife. They shared the work but only Diana got the credit for it. He needn’t have bothered. It’s like he was invisible. For a proud man like Charles it must have been hard. It put a considerable pressure on their marriage.
Soon it became evident that the relationship of Diana and Charles is not a happy one. Different priorities and interests coupled with unfulfilled expectations grew them apart. Charles’ refusal to end an affair with Camila Parker-Bowles impelled Diana to find love and understanding in the arms of another man. The rest is history.
When Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton in 2010 many people wondered if this would be Diana’s story repeating itself. They knew that only time would tell. Soon enough she proved to be made of a sterner stuff and managed to fit into the Royal Family quite well.
Kate was much older than Diana when she said I do to her Prince Charming. At the age of twenty-nine she knew what she was getting herself into. The Royal Family embraced her, guided her and she took all of their instructions to heart.
There was no other woman on the horizon. What’s more, Kate lived together with Prince William for some time, and in my opinion it helped them to cement their relationship. People who want to get married should experience life together before they say their wedding vows in front of the priest. If they are not compatible then it’s better to say ‘goodbye’. Life’s too short to spend it with a wrong person.
William and Kate met at Eton. They studied together and partied together. They had ample opportunities to get to know each other well before they became an item. When William broke up with Kate in 2007 she did not blab about her ex-boyfriend to the press. And that’s where she’s different from Diana. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, and you definitely don’t mess with the most powerful woman in the UK. The Queen’s good opinion once lost is lost forever!
I think Diana’s story had a great impact on William and Kate’s life together. He knew how hard his mother fought to be the only woman in his father’s life and how the royal protocol and life at court can affect someone who was not born to it. He loves his wife and supports her in her family and royal duties. As for Kate, she seems to be a woman ruled mostly by her reason rather than by her heart. Always a good choice when you have to live in the public eye.
Diana & Kate – two Cinderellas and two different endings.