On the 3rd February 1981, Buckingham Palace announced what should have been one of the most joyous announcements of the century for the British monarchy – the engagement of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Forty years on, and Netflix has recently released the new series of ‘The Crown’, which highlights this momentous occasion and, in turn, once again brings attention to that infamous statement given by Prince Charles in response to what was an already strange question by the BBC reporter at the time. Towards the end of the interview, the reporter asks a number of questions, the penultimate being, “Can you find the words, to sum up how you feel today, both of you?” Which I’m sure most people would consider to be a perfectly acceptable question. However, the final question, “And I suppose, in love?” was no doubt inappropriate, which generated a shocking response by Charles, “Whatever in love means.”
Could this have been an uncomfortable question for Charles? Maybe, he just wasn’t used to opening up about his feelings in public, especially in such intimate interviews with the press. After all, this was Charles and Diana’s first public interview as a couple and what would have been the biggest media story at the time. Or was this response by Charles, his true feelings coming out? Was it for him and the British monarchy just a marriage of convenience?
Diana was a beautiful young lady from high society, innocent, able to provide the monarchy with an heir to the throne and the perfect match for Charles. Especially, as it turns out, his true love Camilla Parker-Bowles wasn’t an option in the eyes of the monarchy as she was already married and had a family of her own.
Either way, Charles’s response at that moment, intentional or not, most certainly threw up a red flag to what already looked like a slightly uncomfortable interview between the couple.
Diana later went on to give an interview which shows her talking about her engagement interview, in which she stated, “We had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement, And this ridiculous [reporter] said, ‘Are you in love?’ I thought, what a thick question. So I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are,’ and Charles turned around and said, ‘Whatever in love means.’ And that threw me completely. I thought what a strange answer. It traumatised me.”