Princess Diana: Affairs & Divorce

Extramarital Affairs
Camillagate & Squidgygate Scandals 

Diana and Charles' marriage fell apart in the early 1990s.  They had already been seeing less and less of each other for years, alternating between two royal residences - Kensington Palace in London, and their country home in Highgrove.  They kept the marital problems private at first, but after the media found out, it became a national scandal. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.   She found him unsupportive and insensitive to her needs.  He found her needy and emotionally unstable.  Her bulimia started as early as the first year into the marriage.  And of course, there were the affairs...

Camilla Parker-BowlesCharles

Charles resumed his old, pre-marital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana claimed this happened as early as 1984, just three years after their marriage, while Charles later admitted to resuming it around 1986. "Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," Diana said during a television interview with BBC's Panorama.  The Camillagate tapes (read transcript) recorded in 1989 revealed Charles and Camilla's sexual relationship.

While she blamed Camilla for her marital troubles, at some point Diana began to believe Charles had other affairs. In October 1993 Diana wrote to a friend that she believed her husband was now in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her. Legge-Bourke had been hired by Prince Charles as a young companion for his sons while they were in his care, and Diana was extremely resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes.

Diana & James HewittDiana

Diana also confirmed her own extramarital affair with horse riding instructor James Hewitt (pictured right).  He had initially been summoned to instruct William and Harry, but as the relationship ensued, Diana herself gathered the courage to overcome her childhood fear of riding.  The affair started in 1987 and lasted 5 years. It started cooling when Hewitt was dispatched to Germany in 1989 and served in the Gulf War in 1991.  Contrary to rumours, he denies being Prince Harry's real father.  Harry was already a toddler when they first met.   After Diana died, Hewitt published books citing details about their sexual relationship, and expressed intention to sell her love letters.  

Although her affair with Hewitt was the longest of her affairs, Diana also had relationships with other men. Prior to Hewitt, she allegedly hooked up with bodyguard Barry Mannakee.  Charles had him removed from royal duties in 1986 and he died in a motorcycle accident in 1987.  A recorded phone conversation also hinted on a sexual relationship with James Gilbey around 1989, although Diana said he's "only a good friend."  He called her Squidgy, hence the Squidgygate tapes.

The Prince and Princess of Wales were separated on 9 December 1992.  On 3 December 1993, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life.


  • Diana thought Charles insensitive and unsupportive.  He rarely gives praise.
  • Charles found Diana immature, needy and emotionally unstable
  • Both Charles & Diana admitted in engaging in extramarital affairs
  • According to Charles, he only started his affair with Camilla after he knew the marriage was irreparable
  • Diana's most popular affair was with James Hewitt who, due to his red hair, was falsely rumoured to be Harry's real father

"The saddest day of my life"

In December 1995, triggered by the Panorama interview, and to end the unbearable public speculation and accusations, the Queen asked Charles and Diana to divorce.  While Charles agreed right away, it took Diana till February 1996 to agree, negotiating the divorce terms along the way.  The divorce was finalised on August 28, 1996 -- the day Diana told her friend was the "saddest day of my life."

Diana received a lump sum settlement of around 17 million and kept her jewelry.  She was no longer to be addressed as "Royal Highness," but was allowed to keep her title as "Princess of Wales."  As mother to William and Harry, who they've decided to raise jointly, she was also allowed to live in Kensington Palace until they came of age.


  • Divorce was finalized on August 28, 2006  -- almost 4 years after they separated
  • Gained joint custody of William and Harry
  • Kept her "Princess of Wales" title, but no longer called "Royal Highness"

                  << Previous Page: William & Harry                                       Next Page: Charities  >>

------------------  Princess Diana's Biography  ------------------
 Early Years | Education | Adult Life | Courtship & Marriage | William & Harry | Affairs & Divorce | Charities | Death
Back to British Royals | Royal Biographies | Princess Diana's News Archives