The next season of Ryan Murphy's Feud will feature a couple whose public and private battles changed the shape of the British monarchy forever.
Feud: Charles and Diana will focus on the drama in the royal couple's relationship and all the factors that came into play to create the perfect storm between them. But what juicy tidbits will it include, exactly? We have some scenes we'd like to see played out on the small screen…
In their first interview after their engagement, Charles and Diana were asked if they were really in love. Diana answered with a shy but girlish "Of course!" but Charles' answer was far less certain. "Whatever 'in love' means…" he said with a smarmy grin, leaving the world in complete shock. We can't imagine how Diana felt at that moment, but we're sure it wasn't good. But things were about to get worse…
On the eve of their fairytale wedding, Diana claimed to have found one very big surprise gift — and it wasn't for her. It was a beautiful bracelet bearing the initials "GF," which she immediately recognized as symbolizing Gladys and Fred, Charles' pet names for himself and his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles. Charles tried to explain it away as a sort of parting gift, which Diana didn't really buy, but the wedding went ahead as planned anyway.
In 1982, while three months pregnant with Prince William, Diana took a spill down the stairs at Sandringham during a spat with Charles. We know it happened during an argument because a footman who witnessed it quickly sold the story to a British tabloid. What remains unclear is how it happened. Diana herself tried to dramatize the incident in later years, stating in an interview she had thrown herself down the stairs in a bid for attention from Charles, who reacted coldly and simply left her laying there to go horseback riding. She later changed her tune and said she simply stumbled down three steps — and other witnesses confirmed Charles called a doctor just in case and stayed with her until she got the all-clear.
It was during their first official trip abroad to Australia and New Zealand that Charles got a taste of how much the public adored Diana. Rather than be buoyed by the attention paid to his beautiful young wife, he became exceedingly envious of her power over the public. She attracted a level of attention he never did.
At a party thrown by Camilla's sister, Diana claimed to have confronted her husband's mistress. After asking the men to leave the room, she basically told Camilla to back off. It didn't work.
What's good for the gander is good for the goose, and Diana soon began an affair with British Army officer and riding instructor James Hewitt. A rumor persists that Hewitt is the real father of Prince Harry, but despite the physical resemblance, Harry was born long before Diana ever met her lover.
When Charles refused to change his tour schedule to visit the Taj Mahal with his wife, she staged a revenge photo to garner public sympathy. Later in the trip, she refused his kiss after a polo match, humiliating him in front of the press.
A recorded phone call between Diana and another lover, James Gilbey, hit the press, including their pet name: Squidgy. It made worldwide news.
Another recorded phone call leaked, this time between Charles and Camilla — and it was even more embarrassing than the one between Diana and Gilbey. In it, Charles said he wished he could be Camilla's tampon so he could live inside her pants. Altogether now: EEEEEWWWWWW. The call was a complete and utter humiliation to the palace and bolstered public sympathy for Diana.
Andrew Morton released a super-juicy biography of Diana — Diana: Her True Story — that was meant to conjure up even more public sympathy for her as the wronged woman in her failing marriage. Full of gossip from so-called anonymous sources, it was later revealed that Diana supplied much of the information herself directly to the author and told her friends to do the same. It made Charles and the rest of the royals look very, very bad.
In the wake of the book scandal, Prime Minister John Major announced that Charles and Diana would separate — but also announce they do not intend to divorce, rather continue on with their royal duties and a marriage in name only. The news created absolute turmoil for the monarchy considering they were in line to become king and queen.
In the TV documentary Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role, the Prince was flat-out asked if he was faithful to Diana. He said yes… until the marriage "became irretrievably broken down." It was a shocking moment that seemed to vindicate Diana and cement Charles' role as the villain in their feud.
Diana gave one hell of an interview to Martin Bashir on Panorama in which she publicly admitted to her affair with James Hewitt and ripped Charles for his continued relationship with Camilla, as well as describing her bulimia and self-mutilation. In it she uttered the ultimate declaration on the failure of her union: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." Prince William reportedly was left devastated and furious after viewing the show at school with his headmaster. The queen was pretty ticked off about it too, and pushed the couple to divorce as quickly as possible.
There was no going back from Diana's Panorama interview, which effectively humiliated Charles and the royal family as a whole. At the queen's request, they announced their intent to finally divorce. Diana further rattled cages by announcing she had accepted certain terms Charles laid forth, including retaining her title of Princess of Wales — a statement which earned a stark rebuke from the palace, who denied any such details had been discussed. It took several more months of heated negotiations for all the kinks to be ironed out. Charles insisted Diana give up her right to the title Her Royal Highness as well as her right to be queen when he ascends the throne, her offices at St. James Palace and her military service appointments. But she didn't walk away empty-handed. She retained the title of Princess of Wales, kept her apartment and office space in Kensington Palace and received a settlement of a reported $22.5 million plus an extra $600,000 a year to run her offices. The divorce was finalized on Aug. 28, 1996.
Almost exactly a year later, Diana was killed in a car accident in a Paris tunnel. While the family of her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, were quick to blame a sinister palace conspiracy, an official investigation put the blame squarely on aggressive paparazzi and a drunk driver. Despite the advice of palace officials, including the husband of Diana's own sister, Charles insisted on collecting his ex-wife's body in Paris personally and that she receive a royal ceremonial funeral rather than a private one. Reportedly, at the private burial, Diana's brother insisted that the royal standard be removed from the coffin and replaced with the Spencer family flag in one last dig at the royals.
Feud: Charles and Diana will air on FX in 2018.
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