The Joke Prince Charles Told That Broke Princess Diana's Heart

While fairy tales set up a narrative that the life of a princess is the greatest thing ever, recent history, especially pertaining to British royalty, frequently debunks this fictional idea. Most recently, there was the media frenzy surrounding Prince Harry and Megan Markle's exit from their position as senior royals. A major reason for their departure was the cruelty of British tabloids but many posit speculations about the difficulty of royal life itself, establishing yet again the hypothesis that being a royal is not as great as it seems.

With media attention focusing on Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as their marriages and families, let's take a look at their parents. We're going to take a step back and look at perhaps one of the most tragic cases: the relationship of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

There's so much sorrow around this story but there's one particular instance that marked the beginning of the end. It was a joke made by Prince Charles that broke Diana's heart.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles had tension even on their honeymoon

Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles married on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul's Cathedral, according to Marie Claire, officially making Diana the Princess of Wales. The day was a joyful one for Diana, who said in her biography, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words: "I remember being so in love with my husband that I couldn't take my eyes off him." The young princess added: "I just absolutely thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. He was going to look after me. Well, was I wrong on that assumption," (via Marie Claire.)

However, trouble was brewing even on their honeymoon, where they took off for a 14-day cruise aboard the royal yacht, Britannia. According to Diana's biography, Charles wore a gift from his former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles: cufflinks with intertwined "C's" for their names, via The Oprah Magazine.

Despite this transgression, Charles and Diana went on to conceive their first child and in June 1982, Prince William was born, according to Marie Claire. While William grew to be happy and healthy, Diana's second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage in September 1983, per the outlet. Thankfully, the Palace announced in February 1984 that Diana was pregnant again and the baby was due in mid-September. While the birth brought much joy, Prince Charles made a joke that hurt Diana to her core.

The cruel joke Prince Charles made when Prince Harry was born

It might be a huge surprise to people, but Prince Harry's birth was somewhat of a disappointment to Prince Charles. According to AOL, Prince Charles desperately wanted a daughter after the birth of their first child, William. According to the outlet, Princess Diana knew that she was expecting a boy during the pregnancy but kept it a secret from Charles because he was so adamant about having a little daughter.

So when Harry was safely delivered after a nine-hour delivery where Diana took no drugs, per AOL, he was given his full name: Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor. According to Andrew Morton's book Diana: Her True Story, the first thing Charles said when he saw his son was: "Oh God, it's a boy." Then Charles added: "And he's even got red hair," (via AOL.)

According to Morton's book, Diana later told friends that when she heard Charles' reaction, "something inside her died." Morton added that this statement by Charles marked "the beginning of the end of their marriage."

The end for Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Prince Charles didn't stop expressing his disappointment at the birth of his second son. Later, at Harry's christening, Charles said to Princess Diana's mother: "We were so disappointed — we thought it would be a girl," (via AOL.) Charles' comment about Harry's red hair was deeply hurtful to Diana, especially because her older sisters and her younger brother had red hair, so it was clearly a trait that ran in the Spencer family.

Diana later spoke about this time, saying that the weeks leading up to Harry's birth were the "closest" she and Charles had "ever been, and ever will be," per the outlet. Once Harry was born, their relationship changed. Diana said: "Then, suddenly, as Harry was born, it just went bang, our marriage. The whole thing went down the drain."

Their marriage proved unsuccessful and British Prime Minister John Major announced their divorce in December 1992, according to Marie Claire. Then Diana tragically died in August 1997, solidifying herself as "the people's princess" and someone who was pushed out of the royal family because she did things differently. As she said in the famous 1995 BBC interview with Martin Bashir: "I do things differently, because I don't go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head, and albeit that's got me into trouble in my work, I understand that. But someone's got to go out there and love people and show it."