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LIFE Magazine

On This Day: Charles and Diana Announce Separation

December 09, 2011 05:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Dec. 9, 1992, Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana revealed that they were separating after 11 years of marriage.

The Marriage of Charles and Diana

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married in 1981 in a lavish ceremony witnessed by nearly a billion people on television. They became estranged during their marriage, however, and the British tabloid media published stories of extra-marital relationships involving both the prince and princess.

The two were rarely seen together, leading to speculation that they would divorce. On Dec. 9, Prime Minister John Major revealed their separation by reading a statement from Buckingham Palace in nationally televised address before the House of Commons.

The New York Times said it was an “unhappy ending today to a storybook marriage gone badly wrong.” Despite their separation, the royal couple “did not intend to divorce and would continue to carry on their royal and constitutional duties separately as the future King and Queen of England,” reported the Times.

Charles and Diana did not reconcile after their separation and in August 1996, they divorced. A year later, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. Charles remarried in 2005, marrying Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with whom he allegedly had an affair during his marriage to Diana.

Reference: Diana, Princess of Wales

The BBC features a biography of Diana on its Web site that includes the nation’s grief and the controversy that followed her death: “The general public awoke to the news of Diana’s death with a mixture of shock and disbelief. A wave of public condemnation for the paparazzi who had hounded her for the past 16 years turned into baying for royal blood as the royal family stayed cloistered away at Balmoral in Scotland where they were having their summer holiday.”

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