Did Princess Diana Almost Call Off Her Wedding?

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Feb 11, 2024

Britain watched on in joy as Princess Diana and the then-Prince Charles finally tied the knot at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London during a summer afternoon in 1981.

Yet, according to one royal biographer, Diana considered calling off the wedding a month beforehand. 

Royal Biographer Reveals Secrets

In a recently published book by Ingrid Seward, a former royal biographer reveals previously unknown secrets of the strained relationship between Princess Diana and King Charles (via Brides). 

Ingrid Seward pictured as she attends a drinks reception hosted by The House Of Britannia

Source: David M. Benett/Getty Images

The book, “My Mother and I,” states Diana planned to call off the wedding before her father convinced her otherwise.

My Mother and I

Seward’s book retells the life of King Charles and his late mother and former Queen of Britain, Elizabeth II (via People).

Queen Elizabeth II pictured seated with her son, Prince Charles, during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster

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A portion of the book speaks on the relationship between the then-Prince Charles and his former wife, Princess Diana, who tragically died in 1997. 

Problems Arising at Windsor Castle

An excerpt from the book states that with “a month to go until she married the heir to the throne,” Diana was at Windsor Castle celebrating Prince Andrew’s 21st birthday (via People). 

A woman pictured in a red dress is seen dancing with a man in a formal suit

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During the evening, Diana had hoped to dance with her soon-to-be husband, yet he was preoccupied chatting to the many guests.

Prince Charles Avoids Diana at a Party

According to the book, Diana soon became aggravated as the then-Prince Charles “spent the entire evening dutifully working the room and making sure he spoke with as many people as possible.”

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer pictured at the opening of the Mountbatten Exhibition

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“Diana was in despair. Her fiance had been away in America for most of the previous week, yet he clearly had no desire to dance with her,” the excerpt continues.

Diana Begins to Dance with Men

Feeling ignored by her soon-to-be husband, Seward writes that Diana began to dance with other men in the room.

A woman pictured smiling as she dances with a man in a white shirt

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“Feeling emotionally drained, she threw herself into dancing frantically with one man after another — and finally just dancing by herself,” Seward writes


Dancing Alone on the Castle Grounds

As the evening came to a close, Princess Diana was later found dancing alone in the castle quadrangle. 

Princess Diana pictured seated alone at an event wearing a safari suit

Source: Tim Graham/Photo Library/Getty Images

Seward writes in the book that Mark Simpson, a palace footman, saw Diana “looking exhausted and lost in her thoughts yet still moving in slow, rhythmic time to some tune in her head.”


Diana Flees to Her Father's Home

As the excerpt continues, Seward writes that the princess decided to travel to her father’s home in Northamptonshire in the early hours of the morning. 

Princess Diana photographed with her father, John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer

Source: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Her father, Earl Spencer, opened the door to a woman who felt “distraught, flustered, angry and had no intention of ever going back. As far as Diana was concerned, the royal wedding was off.”


Father Angered by Diana’s Decision

“When Diana shared her plans with Spencer, he was appalled,” the book continues.

An older man dressed in a grey sweater sits on a couch in a visibly upset state

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“After calming her down, he pointed out it would be an act of gross discourtesy to break off her engagement to the future king so close to the wedding.”


Never Marry a Man You Don’t Love

Following on in the book, Seward states Diana appeared to have been torn on whether or not she should marry the prince. 

A woman dressed in a white wedding dress is pictured outside

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“And, anyway, wasn’t it what she’d always wanted? Didn’t she remember him telling her that she should only marry a man she loved — and her firm reply: ‘That is what I am doing’?” Seward added.


Diana Decides to Marry Charles

In an excerpt of the book released through The Daily Mail, Seward states that eventually, her father convinced Diana to go through with the marriage. 

A photograph during the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in London

Source: Serge Lemoine/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

After “gusts of tears and spells of indecision,” the princess “allowed her father to talk her round,” wrote Seward


The Princess of Wales

Seward goes on to mention that the young Diana said she still wanted to marry the future king and keep her title of Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana pictured wearing an outfit that matches the colors of Canada during a visit to Alberta

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“She couldn’t deny that she still wanted to be the Princess of Wales. And, at 19, she was young enough still to believe in happy endings, despite what her instincts had told her on that terrible night,” Seward wrote.