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Prince Charles and Princess Diana's Tumultuous Relationship In Photos

It was great...until it wasn't.

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Georges De KeerleGetty Images

Prince Charles and Princess Diana had a complicated relationship, to say the least. They first met in 1977 while Charles was dating Diana's older sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale (I know), and even after the births of their two children, Prince William and Prince Harry, the British press was relentless about publicizing Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (who he's now married to), and the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage.

Even Charles' father, Prince Philip, had some choice words on the matter. In a letter he wrote to Diana that was later released by her former butler Paul Burrell, Philip said, "I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla," adding: "Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position. We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her. Such a prospect never even entered our heads."

When the couple were finally ready to call it quits, they still had to go through months of royal duties—despite everybody knowing they were going through a divorce. In an interview with BBC, Diana claimed she'd never believed that she would be queen, saying, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, but I don't see myself being queen of this country. I don't think many people will want me to be queen." She continued, "Actually, when I say many people, I mean the establishment that I married into because they have decided that I'm a non-starter." Ouch.

Ahead, we take a look back at the evolution of Charles and Diana's relationship through the years. As you can see, it wasn't all sunshine and roses, but there were some sweet moments.

Charles And Lady Sarah Spencer
Tim GrahamGetty Images
1977

Here, Charles is pictured with Lady Sarah Spencer, who introduced him to her sister Lady Diana Spencer the same year. Though Charles and Sarah dated briefly, she reportedly said she wouldn’t marry Charles “if he were the dustman or the King of England.” And so began the relationship of Charles and Diana. Lady Sarah apparently called herself "Cupid," knowing she brought them together.

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January 1980

Talk about foreshadowing. Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles both attend the Ludlow Races, where Prince Charles is competing. Charles and Camilla met in 1970 and dated briefly, but broke up when Charles left for the Royal Navy in 1971. When he returned, Camilla was engaged to her British Army officer Andrew Parker-Bowles boyfriend, and they married in 1973.

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Lady Diana Spencer
Tim GrahamGetty Images
September 1980

The press starts to follow Diana, 19, even more closely when rumors circulate that she and Prince Charles could soon be engaged. They had reportedly been on just 12 dates before their engagement.

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Charles Ski Holiday
Tim GrahamGetty Images
January 1981

According to King Charles: The Man, the Monarch, and the Future of Britain, Prince Philip wrote Charles a letter with an ultimatum: Either propose to Diana or release her. "To have withdrawn, as you can no doubt imagine, would have been cataclysmic," Charles reportedly said to a friend. "Hence I was permanently between the devil and the deep blue sea."

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Diana Charles Engagement
Tim GrahamGetty Images
February 1981

Charles, 32 and Diana, 19, announce their engagement to the world and pose outside of Buckingham Palace. The ring may look familiar—William gave it to Kate Middleton when they got engaged.

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Princess Diana
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May 1981

Diana attends her first public engagement with Prince Charles at a Gala Charity Concert at Goldsmith's Hall in London. This was the first time the press really began to take notice of her impeccable sense of style.

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Charles Diana Balmoral
Tim Graham
May 1981

Here, Prince Charles and Diana vacation at Balmoral Castle in Scotland during their engagement. And yes, those are Hunter rainboots.

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Prince and Princess of Wales
Bettmann
June 1981

Diana attends her first Royal Ascot (think: the British version of the Kentucky Derby). Meghan Markle attended her first Royal Ascot with Prince Harry 37 years later.

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Charles Diana Wedding Rehearsal
Tim GrahamGetty Images
July 1981

Diana and Charles walk out of their wedding rehearsal holding hands.

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Royal Wedding
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July 1981

Charles and Diana are married on Wednesday, July 29 at St. Paul's Cathedral and she officially becomes Diana, Princess of Wales.

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Charles Diana Wedding Kissing Hand
Tim Graham
July 1981

"I remember being so in love with my husband that I couldn’t take my eyes off him," she recalled of her wedding day in her biography Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. "I just absolutely thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. He was going to look after me. Well, was I wrong on that assumption."

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Balmoral Honeymoon
Princess Diana ArchiveGetty Images
August 1981

The very happy-looking couple are pictured on their honeymoon at Balmoral Castle. Diana is wearing a now-iconic suit by Bill Pashley.

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Diana Resting
Tim GrahamGetty Images
November 1981

At an official event, the Princess is caught resting her eyes. The next day, Buckingham Palace announces that Diana is pregnant with her and Prince Charles first child.

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales
Tim Graham
June 1982

A year after their wedding, Princess Diana gives birth to her and Charles' first son, Prince William, at St. Mary's hospital. It has been reported that Diana "threw herself down the stairs" when she was four months pregnant in a desperate attempt for Charles to listen to her.

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Getty Images
February 1983

Home life at Kensington Palace looks great on Charles, Diana, and William (who looks crazy similar to his son, Prince George).

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Royals At The Braemar Games
Princess Diana ArchiveGetty Images
September 1983

The Palace announces that Charles and Diana are expecting their second child, but a week later Diana suffers a miscarriage while on vacation in Balmoral.

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Diana And Charles Birmingham
Tim GrahamGetty Images
February 1984

A few months later,, the Palace announces that Prince William will soon have a sibling. Princess Diana is pregnant, and the baby is due in mid-September.

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Diana Charles Baby Harry
Tim Graham
September 1984

Diana gives birth to her and Charles' second child, Prince Harry. Apparently Charles "desperately" wanted a girl and said, "Oh God, it's a boy...and he's even got red hair" when he saw him. Poor Harry.

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales kisses Diana, Princess of Wa
Tim GrahamGetty Images
June 1985

Diana gleefully kisses Charles after she presents him with a prize at a polo match in Cirencester. Decades later, Meghan did the same for Harry at the Sentebale Polo Match.

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Diana And Charles At Heathrow
Tim GrahamGetty Images
April 1986

Princess Diana reportedly reached out to astrologer Penny Thornton and asked for help. At first, Thornton said, she refused. "Initially, I declined preparing Diana’s chart due to the pressure of a book deadline, but as soon as she said, “I just want to know if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel," I agreed to see her immediately," Thornton said to Vogue.

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December 1986

The family of four look very happy in a portrait taken at their home in Kensington Palace, but this is the same year that Charles reportedly rekindled his relationship with Camilla.

During all of this, Diana suffered from bulimia, which reportedly began soon after she and Charles got engaged.

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Anwar Hussein Collection
Anwar HusseinGetty Images
February 1989

Princess Diana finally decides to confront Camilla about the affair with her husband at her sister's birthday party (not at the event pictured here, though it's the same year). “I was terrified of her. I said, ‘I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,'” Diana recalled on tape for her biographer, Andrew Morton.

“She said to me: ‘You’ve got everything you ever wanted. All the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’ So I said, ‘I want my husband’. And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way...and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot.'”

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Charles And Diana Visit Cameroon
Tim GrahamGetty Images
March 1990

Charles and Diana visit Cameroon and the body language says...a lot. However, they continue to perform their royal duties together.

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Anwar Hussein Collection
Anwar HusseinGetty Images
October 1991

A year later, Charles and Diana still look pretty unhappy on the first day of their royal tour in Canada.

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Anwar Hussein Collection
Anwar HusseinGetty Images
February 1992

Despite the kiss shown here—during their official visit to India in February—things were not good.

The same year, tapes also leak of Diana's conversations with close friend James Gilbey, in which she calls her life with Charles "real torture."

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PRINCESS OF WALES : 1992
PA ImagesGetty Images
May 1992

In May, journalist Andrew Morton publishes Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, which featured interviews with the princess herself. The biography details her husband's extramarital affair and what life was really like for Princess Diana in the Palace.

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Prince Charles Visit to Korea
MirrorpixGetty Images
December 1992

British Prime Minister John Major formally announces the separation of Charles and Diana, saying it would happen "amicably." Queen Elizabeth had reportedly urged the couple to divorce. Diana gives up the title "Her Royal Highness," but keeps her royal apartment and the title "Princess of Wales."

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In memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in an automobile accident in Paris, France on August 31, 1997.
Anwar HusseinGetty Images
June 1994

Charles admits to the world in a TV documentary that he had an affair with Camilla. He says he was faithful "until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried." The same evening, Diana steps out in the LBD, pictured here, appropriately referred to as the "revenge dress."

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Princess Diana Being Interviewed
Tim GrahamGetty Images
November 1995

Martin Bashir's bombshell interview with Princess Diana, entirely planned and executed in secret, is aired to the world. She talks about everything from her bulimia to her relationship with Prince Charles, but most notably she discusses her husband's affair with Camilla: "Well, there were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

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Getty Images
July 1996

The royal couple make their divorce official on July 15, 1996 after 15 years of marriage. Diana receives a settlement, and Charles suggests he won't remarry anytime soon.

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