In 1995, Princess Diana gave a surprising interview for the BBC, sharing her side of the story about her divorce from Prince Charles.
Even from a young age, Princess Diana felt her son Prince William had what it takes to be a great monarch.
In November 1995, two years before her tragic death, Princess Diana gave a surprising interview to BBC1 Panorama, finally sharing her side of the story about her divorce from Prince Charles, and how this separation has had a huge effect on the royal family, especially her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
At the time, Prince William was only 13, is second in line to the British throne, Martin Bashir asked Diana if she believed that her son should succeed Queen Elizabeth as monarch.
“Do you think it would make more sense in the light of the marital difficulties that you and the Prince of Wales have had if the position of monarch passed directly to your son Prince William?” he asked.
Diana replied, “Well, then you have to see that William’s very young at the moment, so do you want a burden like that to be put on his shoulders at such an age? So I can’t answer that question.”
Bashir rephrased: “Would it be your wish that when Prince William comes of age that he were to succeed the Queen rather than the current Prince of Wales?”
“My wish is that my husband finds peace of mind, and from that follows others things, yes,” Princess Diana said.
Two years ago, in April 2018, Queen Elizabeth made the rare move of publicly backing Prince Charles as the next Commonwealth leader. The 94-year-old monarch formally asked the Commonwealth Heads of Government to appoint Charles as her successor of the association of Britain and its former colonies.
Even if the Queen wanted to skip Prince Charles and give her title to Prince William, she doesn’t have the power to choose her successor on a whim. This is due to the 1701 Act of Settlement that states that the Parliament determines the succession to the throne, and requires that the monarch’s heir must be his or her direct successor (and a Protestant). And by those rules, Charles is the rightful heir, not William. As the Queen herself doesn’t truly have any political power, she can’t just get up and change the law instead, it would have to be taken up in Parliament, a process that will no way be quick and easy.
Is there any reason why Prince Charles should choose to abdicate? Not really. Some people like to point out that King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 after just 11 months because of his desire to marry a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson — something the Church of England didn’t approve of, as both of Simpson’s former husbands were still alive. (The Prime Minister wasn’t thrilled either.) Charles himself is divorced, as is his second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and it is public knowledge that he was unfaithful in his first marriage to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, with Camilla. But its the 21st century now and things have changed.
The Church of England is no longer so strict when it comes to remarrying, as in 2002 they relaxed their position on remarriage if a former spouse is still alive. Even with this change, Prince Charles and Camilla weren’t allowed to marry in the Church of England, instead of going for a civil ceremony, mostly due to the fact that their relationship played a large role in the breakdown of Charles’ marriage to Diana. Despite the Church not giving their blessing to Charles and Camilla’s marriage at the time, things have changed, especially for the views on divorce for Royal Family members.
In fact, divorce has become relatively commonplace in the royal family: Three of the Queen’s four children have been divorced, as was her late sister, Princess Margaret.
In December, Queen Elizabeth posed for a portrait with the next three generations of expected monarchs: son Prince Charles, grandson Prince William and great-grandson Prince George.