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
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.