Diana Admits Adultery
The 20th of November 1995 AD
Charles and Diana separated in December 1992, after years of rumours surrounding their growing mutual antipathy, and of course after denials that any such antipathy existed. In the summer of 1993 Prince Charles , the future Defender of the Faith, admitted in an interview recorded with Jonathan Dimbleby that he had been unfaithful; Diana returned the compliment in her televised Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, confirming her affair with James Hewitt . The programme was replete with other revelations about her eating disorder, her thoughts on the monarchy, and her relations with the media in general and the press in particular.
The whole situation had become rather sordid and very public – the audience for Diana’s interview was an estimated 15 million viewers. And the establishment was not happy that the royal family was being besmirched by these revelations, the Queen said to have been angry she had not been given advance warning, and the Chairman of the BBC Marmaduke Hussey even more so that nobody involved in the making of the programme had thought to let him know what was going on.
In spite of the obvious fact that there was no marriage left Diana said in the programme she had no wish to divorce, but that was taken out of her hands and her husband’s when a matter of weeks after the broadcast the Queen wrote to Charles requesting that a divorce be arranged. A decree nisi was duly issued on August 28 1996 . The marriage that began with a fairytale wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral ended in the courts, Diana’s famous phrase when their engagement was announced proving less than prescient: “With Prince Charles beside me I cannot go wrong.”
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