The Then Prince Charles Couldn’t Handle Princess Diana Being “the Star of the Show”

“It was something that he found very difficult to take.”

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
(Image credit: Getty)

It’s a storyline that has played out for the last two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown: Princess Diana’s overwhelming admiration in comparison to that of her husband, the then Prince Charles. Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton—who also becomes a part of the storyline in season five of the series, released this month—says that the now king always struggled to accept that Diana overshadowed him and found her popularity difficult to take.

Morton, who worked as a consultant for this season of the show, tells Insider “Diana, never mind the personal difficulties they had, but on the public stage she overshadowed him. She was the star of the show, and he wasn’t. And it was something that he found very difficult to take. Now he’s the star of the show. He’s king.”

Diana—known as “The People’s Princess”—was almost immediately considered more popular than her husband, as evidenced during the couple’s tour of Australia in 1983. The public turned out in the thousands to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales, but it was obvious that most only cared about seeing Diana.

“The crowds complained when Prince Charles went over to their side of the street during a walkabout,” Morton says. “In public, Charles accepted the revised status quo with good grace. In private, he blamed Diana,” Morton writes in Diana: Her True Story.

But, in Charles’ second wife Camilla, he found a woman willing to be, as Morton tells Insider, his “cheerleader” and his “number two.”

“He has known Camilla for most of his lifetime,” he says. “She has been a steady cheerleader waiting in the wings to console and comfort him in the way that he always really wanted somebody who would be a companion, but also who would be number two.”

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.