Princess Diana’s grand entrance on The Crown is a dramatic one. It’s 1977 and Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) has arrived on the Spencer household dwelling to see Diana’s elder sister Sarah (Isobel Eadie), in Season 4’s premiere “Gold Stick.” When Sarah known as away for a telephone name, a sixteen-year-old Diana (Emma Corrin) sees her opening—she coyly “sneaks” into the grand lobby, the place the inheritor to the throne is ready. Nonetheless dressed as a “mad tree” for her college’s manufacturing of A Midsommer’s Evening Dream—in costume as camouflage—the beguiling teenager can’t assist however pull focus.
Later, when Charles mentions to Sarah that he noticed her child sister, Sarah rolls her eyes. “She was obsessed with the concept of assembly you.”
Whereas Charles and Diana’s first assembly did happen on the Spencer household dwelling Althorp in 1977, whereas Charles was courting Sarah, the circumstances had been barely completely different. There was no discuss of A Midsommer’s Evening Dream, for starters. The two met, as an alternative, “in a plowed subject” exterior the stately dwelling. (Charles—who was 29 in comparison with Diana’s 16—had been invited to the house for a capturing get together.)
4 years later, when Charles and Diana gave their engagement interview, they had been requested about their first assembly at Althorp. And the interview—which makes for awkward viewing, particularly after seeing the fourth season of The Crown—makes it clear that Charles and Diana walked away with wildly completely different impressions.
“I bear in mind pondering what a really jolly and amusing and engaging 16-year-old she was,” recalled Charles, considerably flatly. “I imply, nice enjoyable, and bouncy and vigorous and every part.”
Diana, in the meantime, gushed that she thought the prince was “fairly superb.”
The assembly appeared to have made extra of an impression on Diana. Years later, Diana would recall further particulars about her first encounter with Charles—like how the prince turned to her, not Sarah, for a tour of the Althorp photograph gallery, in line with Tina Brown’s biography The Diana Chronicles. (Sarah reportedly reacted by telling Diana to get misplaced. Brown additionally notes that Diana was so thrilled by the assembly that she excitedly instructed her piano instructor, “I’ve met him. . I’ve met him eventually!”)
Charles and Diana didn’t reunite till July 1980, when each attended a Sussex polo outing. A lot had modified for Charles within the prior three years—because the inheritor to the throne, Charles was going through appreciable stress from his household to discover a appropriate (learn: sweet-mannered and virginal) spouse to quiet down with pronto. The pickings in his age group and social circle had been more and more slim, and his longtime love curiosity, Camilla Parker Bowles, was married. And the summer season earlier than, Charles had suffered a devastating private setback when his mentor Lord Mountbatten was killed when his fishing boat was blown up by the I.R.A.
As such, when Diana discovered herself with Charles once more, following a polo match close to Cowdray Park, she intuited that the prince may profit from tenderness.
“You regarded so unhappy if you walked up the aisle at Mountbatten’s funeral,” Diana instructed Charles, in line with Brown’s biography—a press release Peter Morgan lifts for The Crown. “It was essentially the most tragic factor I’ve ever seen. My coronary heart bled for you after I watched. I believed, you’re so lonely—you need to be with someone to take care of you.”
Per Brown, “The youngest Spencer woman might have had an educational transcript the dimensions of an index card, however her emotional radar was at full energy. . .She had rightly sensed that the way in which to puncture the royal reserve of the inheritor to the throne was to attraction to his deep reservoirs of sympathy for himself.”
Based on Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote the biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Unbelievable Life, “Charles was touched at Diana’s statement that he was lonely and wanted some care.”
Simply seven months later—after some nudging by the Queen Mom, who acknowledged in Diana the type of “sweetness and modesty and willingness to slot in [that] made her a perfect character for the position of Princess of Wales”—Charles proposed to Diana.
Diana’s brother Charles recalled to Brown that he by no means noticed his sister extra thrilled than within the hours following the proposal. “She regarded as completely happy as I’ve ever seen her look,” Charles stated. “It was real as a result of no person with insincere motives may look that completely happy. It wasn’t the look of somebody who hit the jackpot however of someone who regarded spiritually fulfilled as nicely.”