When Princess Diana married Prince Charles in July of 1981, it seemed to the millions watching on television to be a fairytale — a story wherein a commoner was getting to marry a dashing prince. But not long after the couple said their “I do’s” at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, their relationship started to drastically deteriorate.
Two children and 11 years later, the couple separated, finalizing their divorce four years after their 1992 separation. Just a year after their divorce, Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris. Between their separation and her death, however, the former Princess of Wales spoke openly with biographers and staff about her disillusionment following the wedding, according to Express.
Former royal butler Paul Burrell was one of those staff members who heard Diana’s side of the story, and recently shared some of what he had seen and heard during his employ in the 2017 Amazon Prime documentary The Diana Story.
According to Burrell, Diana shared that when they had married — when she was just 20 years old — she had thought, as had many of those watching their wedding, that she had found her prince, in both the literal and the figurative sense. It didn’t take long for her hopeful love to be dashed, though, and she later characterized her marriage as “kissing a frog and finding a toad instead” — a very different story to the fairytale ending people expected her to have.
But Burrell added that Diana was very happy with the match, at least initially.
“She did fall in love with him and those two boys are born out of love. I saw correspondence from the princess to the Queen that said how happy she was,” he explained. “The first five years of the princess’ marriage she felt that she could make it work.”
After things soured, Diana had a very different attitude towards her husband — and their relationship.
“Years later she said to me, ‘well yes I kissed [a] frog, I found a toad. That was my story,'” Burrell said.
Burrell still believes that Charles never loved Diana, but married her because that is what his mother wanted for him — and for the future of the monarchy. The butler points to the couple’s engagement interview, during which the interviewer asked the prince if he was in love, only for Charles to infamously respond with, “whatever in love means.”
“[Diana] looks at him as if to say, ‘what are you talking about? Don’t you know what love is?'” said Burrell. “That was the problem from the beginning, Charles didn’t really know what love was. He never really wanted a lover, he wanted a mother.”