Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 3

In Lesson #1, Duty and Love Rarely Mix Well. Queen Elizabeth chose duty over love twice. Once, her sister wanted to marry a divorced Mr. Townsend. Then she dissuaded Prince Charles from pursuing Camilla because she felt that Camilla was not “good enough” to be in the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth used her power and influence to derail the budding romance between Princess Charles and Camilla. In Lesson #2, we learned Mothers Don’t Always Know Best. We answered three questions. What does it mean to be “good enough?” What does it mean to be a positive role model? And what does it mean to be a suitable wife to a future king?”

Lesson #3: There is a Big Difference Between Illusions, Delusions, and Reality

Prince Charles and Diana

Prince Charles first met Diana when he was dating her sister, Sarah, in 1977. He delighted in Diana and her exuberance despite her being young and naive. In 1980, Prince Charles, 32, began dating Diana and six months later, in February of 1981, became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer, 19, the daughter of 8th Earl Spencer. So, right from the get-go, Diana had a title. As if to say to the world having a title makes you worthy. If you want to read more about worthiness, see “Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 2.”

An Illusion is What We See

The fairytale romance was not all that it seemed to be. Two weeks before their wedding, Diana found out that a personalized bracelet with Charles and Camilla’s nicknames had been given to Camilla from Charles a few days before the wedding. It did not sit well with Diana. Young and inexperienced, she wanted to call the wedding off. Yet, her sisters reminded her that her face was already on the tea towels. In other words, it was too late for Diana to back out. 

The pictures taken on her wedding day revealed a solemn young woman, seemingly carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and uncertain of what would be next for her and her Prince. The secret gift-giving gesture to another woman days before his wedding was downright cruel of Prince Charles. For Diana, doubt was cast. Even so, they ended up having the wedding of the century.

A Delusion is What We Think

Diana thought the “other woman” (Camilla) was the only woman who received a gift before the royal wedding.

Artist Credit: Delusion Painting by Soledad Lawrence at Saatchiart dot dom

Marrying a prince and adjusting to a royal life would be overwhelming for anyone. It would not be easy to navigate, no matter how “royal” you might be. Throw in another romantic partner to the mix, and the situation becomes electrically charged with deep-seated feelings and emotions. It would be easy to imagine how alone Diana felt with no one to talk to and not knowing who she could trust. Especially hearing and seeing Prince Charles through the lens of “that bracelet.” It was reported that Charles presented several women he had dated with gifts before his wedding as a “thank you/wish you well” sentiment. That very vital piece of information did not make its way to Diana.

“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” – 1995

The Sydney Morning Herald

Attempting to master the pressures from the Queen, the “institution,” and the Public was what Princess Diana had to do. Eventually, not only did she acclimate, Diana became an icon for the royal family. Why? Because Diana was the People’s Princess. She had this innate ability to see people’s faces. All people. All emotions. She touched the sick. She hugged the children.

Reality Is What It Is

Prince Charles told Diana that he did not love her the night before the wedding because he “didn’t want to go into the marriage on a false premise.”

Prince Charles Confession Night Before Wedding was ‘Devastating’ for Princess Diana, by Jack Royston, Newsweek, 11/10/20 

Princess Diana still managed to convey a caring personality through the pain of feeling unloved by her husband. Genuine. Loving. Kind. Insomuch that it likely threatened the monarchy. Most certainly, it threatened Prince Charles or, at the very least, caused him great pain and humiliation as crowds of millions wanted to see her. Touch her. Present flowers to her. All the while as Charles walked separately and looked disgusted and defeated.

Charles placed “duty” over “love” by marrying the “right” type of person. Diana was. Camilla was not. The stark reality was that Diana loved Charles, Camilla loved Charles, and Charles loved Camilla. Charles did not love Diana. For most new brides, the illusion, delusion, and reality of another woman in their husband’s life would devastate their marriage, self-esteem, and overall mental health.

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