In Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith digs deep into the relationship between Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh and alleges that the heir to the throne was ‘threatened’ into marrying young Diana Spencer.
In the upcoming biography, Bedell Smith investigates the role that Prince Philip played in getting his son to the altar and cites a letter from the elder royal in which he urged Charles to make a decision about marriage in a way that Charles felt was ‘coercive and accusatory’. According to Prince Philip’s cousin, Pamela Hicks, Prince Charles felt his father’s letter – received after he and Diana were reported to have spent a night travelling together on a train while dating in 1980 – was forcing him to get engaged. No mention is made of Her Majesty The Queen’s feelings or involvement in the situation.
The union was, unfortunately, a notoriously unhappy one and Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, divorced in 1996 after 15 years of marriage.
The differences between Philip and Charles are well documented, and this new account is only the latest in a string of biographies intent on exploring the difficulties of the relationship between the two men.
Last year, royal biographer Gyles Brandreth was given unprecedented access to the Duke of Edinburgh ahead of his 95th birthday and, as part of an interview, revealed that Prince Philip had once called Charles ‘a romantic’ and said that he, himself, was ‘a pragmatist. That means we do see things differently.’
Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life is scheduled for release on 4 April 2017 and is being heralded as ‘the first major biography of Prince Charles in more than two decades, with new insights into his family and his two marriages.’