Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ Divorce Settlement Details

Between Spencer still living in our heads rent-free and an upcoming season of The Crown in the works as we speak, there’s a lot of royal content coming at us. Especially when it comes to Princess Diana and Princes Charles’ high-profile and incredibly dramatic divorce. Onscreen depictions of this royal couple’s split in season 5 of the Netflix show are obviously fictional, but in all honesty, the actual facts of Diana’s departure from the royal family are just as dramatic.

Here’s everything you need to know about how Diana and Charles’s divorce went down (the Queen was the one who pushed it) and details of their financial settlement, custody agreement for Prince William and Prince Harry, and royal title arrangements.

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It All Started With Diana Confronting Camilla About Her Affair With Charles

The confrontation occurred during a birthday party for now-Queen Camilla’s (!!) sister, and thanks to royal biographer Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words (published in 1992), we have a good idea of what happened. Specifically, we know that Diana spoke pretty directly to Camilla and said, “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.” Camilla reportedly responded with, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?” and Diana said THIS in return: “I want my husband.”

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Diana and Camilla during one of the rare times they were seen together.

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At First, Diana and Charles Separated

While it does happen, divorce is pretty frowned upon among the British royals. And as anyone who watched The Crown is well aware, the family initially wanted Diana and Charles to stay together despite accusations of infidelity. But the couple eventually separated anyway, a decision so official that British Prime Minister John Major announced it in December 1992.

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Diana and Charles in May 1992, several months before their separation.

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When news of the split broke, the New York Times noted that the palace made background remarks to reporters and “took pains” to emphasize there was no “third party” involved. The NYT also mentioned “unconfirmed reports” that said Charles was “closer to Camilla Parker Bowles, an old girlfriend, than to his wife” and that Princess Diana had “a long and intimate conversation with an unnamed man who called her ‘Squidgy’ and said he loved her.”

Charles Eventually Admitted His Infidelity

Two years after their separation in 1992, Charles went ahead and did a TV interview in June 1994 confirming that he’d been unfaithful to Diana. The interview was conducted at Charles’s estate at Highgrove, where he was asked directly if he was “faithful and honorable” when he married Diana. He answered, “Yes, absolutely,” but was then asked, “And you were?” and said, “Yes, until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

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Charles and Diana celebrating Christmas with the royals in 1994 amid their separation.

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A year later in November 1995, Diana sat down for an interview with BBC’s Panorama, which we now know was obtained unethically. In the interview, Diana spoke openly about many parts of her life with the royals and said there were “three people in [her] marriage.”

The Queen Asked Charles and Diana to Divorce

The Queen requested that Diana and Charles make their separation official shortly after the Panorama interview. According to the New York Times, Buckingham Palace released a statement on December 21, 1995, saying the Queen had written to Charles and Diana urging them to divorce.

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Diana and Charles with their kids in August 1995.

Tim Graham//Getty Images

Diana eventually announced that she’d agreed to the divorce via her spokesperson on February 29, 1996. Her lawyer, Anthony Julius, also gave a statement to BBC News, saying, “It was an exceptionally difficult decision and one which the Princess of Wales has taken with immense sadness and regret.”

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Princess Diana attending a gala on February 1, 1996.

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Meanwhile, a palace spokesperson told press that “the Queen was most interested to hear that the Princess of Wales had agreed to the divorce” and that “all the details on these matters, including titles, remain to be discussed and settled. This will take time.”

The settlement was very specific, so let’s dig in.

Diana Got to Keep the Title “Princess of Wales”

But she was forced to give up the title of “Her Royal Highness” as well as any future claims to the royal family’s throne.

She Got to Keep Her Apartments at the Palace

As part of the divorce settlement, Diana was able to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace. She was also given access to jets used by the royal family and told she could “use the state apartments at St. James’s Palace for entertaining.”

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Samir Hussein//Getty Images

She Got a Financial Settlement

Buckingham Palace announced that Diana would receive a lump-sum payment instead of regular alimony checks, and while they didn’t give details, the amount was said to be $22.5 million in cash plus $600,000 a year for her office, per the New York Times reporting at the time.

She and Charles Split Custody

Diana and Charles were given “equal access” to their kids, William and Harry, during their split, which was said to be an easy transition as they were already alternating holidays.

That’s pretty much everything we know about the divorce, but for more on Camilla’s role in all this, head below:

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Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm, She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade. 

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