Royal News

Prince Charles called marriage to Diana ‘greek tragedy’ in secret letters to Nancy Reagan

A series of correspondence spanning four decades, detailing the Prince of Wales’s feelings about the end of his marriage to Diana was made public in 2017. The letters were made public after being donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, in Simi Valley, California, following the former US First Lady’s death. The Mail on Sunday, which printed extracts from the letters, described how the Prince became really close with the Reagans in 1974 when he was serving in the Royal Navy and spent a weekend at the home of Walter Annenberg, the then-US ambassador to Britain, in Palm Springs.

Mr Reagan was then the Governor of California.

The Prince, who was said to be so charmed by Mrs Reagan that he told a friend he would have liked to kiss her to thank her for her welcome, kept writing to the First Lady until her death in 2016, using headed notepaper and his distinctive black ink.

In one, he told her how he took up reading literary classics as a distraction from media gossip, saying he hoped it would make him “wiser and more knowledgeable”.

A 1992 letter, relating to the breakdown of his royal marriage, shed light on the wider fall-out of his very public separation, admitting: “No one can really understand what it all means until it happens to you, which is why it all keeps getting worse and worse.

“One day I will tell you the whole story.

“It is a kind of Greek tragedy and would certainly make a very good play!”

In 1985, in happier times, he had written to thank the Reagans for their hospitality and the White House gala at which Diana famously danced with actor John Travolta.

He wrote: “Diana still hasn’t got over dancing with John Travolta, Neil Diamond and Clint Eastwood in one evening not to mention the President of the United States as well!.”

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In 1991, when a tell-all book about Mrs Reagan was published, which included salacious gossip about affairs and plastic surgery, he said to her: “We live in an increasingly uncivilised world.

“If you happen to find yourself in a public position it becomes progressively more impossible to operate without every move being regarded as having an ulterior motive.”

In a separate letter, he also complained about “yet another” dinner to raise funds, on that occasion for the Mary Rose restoration, calling them “the bane of my life”.

In 1994, he detailed a radio prank in which a DJ telephoned him purporting to be from President Reagan’s office only to wish him a happy birthday.

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One of the most poignant letters dated June 7, 2002, referred to the death of his grandmother, the Queen Mother on March 30.

The Prince admitted: “I fear it has not been very easy to cope of late.

“I have dreaded her eventual departure and now she leaves an enormous chasm in my life.”


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