Who Is To Blame For The Failure Of Charles And Diana’s Marriage In ‘The Crown’ Season 5?

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There are plenty of reasons why marriages fall apart in “The Crown” Season 5. Incompatibility, age difference, no love, no respect, lack of understanding, distance (mentally and physically), lack of intimacy, infidelity, and the list is unending. In the case of Charles and Diana, as per the show, countless sources spread across the internet and the books that have been written conclude that many factors contributed to the breaking down of Charles and Diana’s 11-year-old marriage.

Spoilers Ahead


The Perfect Wedding And The Fallout After 11 Years

A 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer married the 33-year-old Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to Queen Elizabeth. Their courtship was highly publicized. All around the country, people wanted to know the woman about to be Princess of Wales and the next Queen in line. Diana was shy as a person and never expected to be enamored by the press but was asked to ignore them at first because she must get used to all the attention that came her way. Diana and Charles married in the year 1981, a wedding witnessed by millions around the world, but no one was aware of what went behind those closed doors of Buckingham Palace, where Diana lived months before her wedding.

The problem arose from the fact that Charles was never allowed to marry Camilla Parker Bowles because she was a divorcee. The royal family has a history of the Prince of Wales (heir to the monarch) wanting to be with the women they love but being denied. They are forced to choose between holding the throne, letting go of the woman they love, or losing the throne to marry the woman they love. King Edward VIII was made a prime example of how a King should not be for marrying a woman he loves. Like history repeats itself, Prince Charles fell in love with an older woman, an outsider, and a divorcee. Charles was stopped by his mother, the Queen, from marrying Camilla on these grounds. Charles subsequently broke up and got engaged to Diana, a young woman from a reputable family. Charles, as an heir, was not allowed to voice his opinion or make any life decisions for himself. This hampered his life, which subsequently affected his relationship with Diana after their wedding. Charles famously said, “whatever true love” means during his first interview after he got engaged to Diana.

Charles and Diana had a massive age difference, as shown in season 4 of “The Crown.” While Charles enjoyed quieter things in life, Diana, being from another generation, did not enjoy any activity Charles indulged in, which made them very different from one another. Even after two kids were born to them, they still did not find any mutual admiration for anything or any common interests. A shy Diana had difficulty dealing with the chatty members of the family, and Charles eventually had to find ways to keep him company.

Not one person can be blamed for why their relationship went south, as both had flaws that neither of them accepted, and additionally, they were forced to be someone else in front of the media by the family. Diana was always the preferred one by the masses and the media, and she fully utilized it in her full capacity, much to Charles and his family’s chagrin. The family could have used Diana’s popularity as their strength instead of simmering in jealousy over the amount of media attention she received while married to Charles.

Throughout seasons 4 and 5 of “The Crown,” the couple mostly argued about Charles being unable to understand his wife and how his actions were affecting her. An episode where Diana performed Uptown Girl for Charles on his birthday did not go well with him or his family, who believed it was an act of vulgarity. Diana simply could not fit into that world and pretended everything was okay. For Diana, her sons William and Harry were her only connection to reality. She used to make them mingle with as many commoners as possible, for William will be King of England someday, and he needed to interact with the locals to understand the pulse of the nation. Many in Charles’s family did not approve of Diana’s style of parenting, which did not bother Diana, for she knew it was right for the future King of England.

The last nail in the coffin was Charles’s constant infidelity and not letting Camilla go away from his life. Camilla has been his constant for years. Throughout “The Crown” Season 4, from the beginning of Camilla and Charles’s courtship, Charles never raised the subject of marrying a divorcee. Charles made sure Camilla would be a part of their life throughout his courtship with Diana leading to their marriage. Camilla also did not back down and was fully aware of the fact that Charles was now engaged to Diana, and they probably should not see each other. Diana, on the other hand, was an overly sensitive person who was constantly on the lookout for one person she could talk to and someone who could understand her inside out. Her relationship with Dr. Hasnat Khan was proof of the fact that she craved love and attention, which she never received from Charles. Maybe Diana was okay with the attention she got, but Dr. Hasnat was not comfortable with such publicity for their relationship. Diana felt she could up one up Charles in many places and still stay married, which is not an ideal way to be in a long-term marriage. Diana went into overdrive when she went ahead and gave the BBC interview, where she openly proclaimed Charles was unfit to be the King. In the show, Diana could not believe for the longest time Charles would have the courage to end it, but he did, which leads to her going down the delusional path where she figured her opinion will always be put on a pedestal. Sadly, all Diana craved was some love and attention, which Charles showered on Camilla but never on Diana. Denying her basic intimacy, love, and attention is what led Diana to make decisions that were not right for her, Charles, and his family.

Charles’s mother, the Queen, and his father were traditionalists who could not stand over the fact that the marriage of their children did not work out, and it all fell apart because of subsequent incompatibility. Though the Queen was tolerant of Anne and Andrew’s divorce but was adamant about not approving of Diana and Charles’s separation followed by divorce for she felt as a future monarch, he needed a stable married life, and not something that is written about in the vilest manner possible by the newspapers. The royal family received its biggest jolt when Diana gave an explosive interview to BBC, which sealed the deal for Charles and the royal family. Queen and Philip refused to look ahead and realize divorce is not something to be frowned upon, as the society around them has started accepting it. Charles mentions in the last episode of “The Crown” Season 5 that it is high time his mother and father accept that he is divorced and is willing to marry Camilla.

Diana and Charles, by the end of “The Crown” Season 5, realize separation followed by divorce was something inevitable. Even though Diana had no clarity of what she wanted, Charles was clear about what he wanted and had started working on it in full swing. But eventually, they had to part ways for their good. “The Crown” makes sure they put forth characters as gray and not fully white or black. Case in point, Diana and Charles. Diana wanted Charles to be a husband and a father first, and Charles expected her to be Camilla, which she was not. Diana wanted Charles to make her and their children his priority, and all Charles wanted was to live his life on his terms without any interference from his parents and wife. This did not justify his cheating, but Charles was frustrated being in a marriage that was dead a long time back. Only his kids gave him happiness, and nothing about his marriage made him content. Diana was also stuck even though she never realized it. The divorce happened a bit too late. Diana lost herself in the process. She was no longer the same woman that she used to be. Though the divorce should have made her feel liberated, it made her even more lonely. She had married at a very early age, and she didn’t know in which direction to head after Charles left her. No doubt the marriage was toxic, but that was all she had for over a decade. Waging war against the royal family gave her a sense of purpose. Her personality was such that she could sway millions of people all around the globe. Just like any other marriage story, Diana and Charles’s perfect marriage came to an end. The fairytale ended, and in the process, it had adverse implications on the very foundations of the British royal family. It is a sad reality that two individuals, who were great people individually and were capable of so much more, came together and ruined each other in an irreparable manner. 


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti has started to believe in a fictional world called cinema that is much more than real life itself. Cinema brings her joy. She believed in herself, and now she has become a full-time cinephile who enjoys writing about films and their characters, who have inevitably become a part of her world. From time to time, she likes to explore more about films and television series and indulge herself in fan theories around them.

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