Lady Diana and King Charles' divorce settlement: From payments to child custody, all the terms explained

Princess Diana and King Charles’ divorce is one of the most talked about events in the history of British royalty. From accepting infidelity in their marriage to their expensive divorce settlement, here’s everything we know.

Princess Diana King Charles divorce settlement terms
© Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty_Images
Princess Diana King Charles divorce settlement terms

What began as a fairytale romance in 1980, ended brutally with tears, drama and adultery. Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles met in 1977 for the first time at her family home at Althorp, where the Prince was taking part in a grouse hunt. She was just 16 years old at that time. It was only a few years later that sparks started to fly between the two of them—specifically in 1980 when they met at Princess Diana’s friend’s house.

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The Royal couple announced their engagement in 1981 after meeting only 13 times, according to Harper Bazaar. The couple then went on to get divorced 15 years later in 1996.

Here are all the details of the most controversial divorce in the Royal Family.

How did Princess Diana and Charles get divorced?

In 1981, King Charles and Princess Diana married in front of an audience of 3,500 guests at St. Paul's Cathedral. What the world thought would be an idyllic marriage ended in shambles. The two announced their separation in 1992 after a series of events, including when Princess Diana famously confronted Camilla about her affair with Charles. Reportedly, she went up to her and directly spoke to her about the affair. Royal biographer Andrew Morton wrote in his book Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words the exact conversation that happened between the two. Princess Diana said to Camilla:

I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.

Camilla's raw response eventually made her say:

I want my husband.

According to Cosmopolitan, the British Family frowned upon divorce and initially wanted Princess Diana and Charles to stay together despite accusations of infidelity. However, they eventually decided to be separated and British Prime Minister John Major officially made the announcement in December 1992. ThePalace made many remarks to reporters and ‘took pains’ to emphasise that the separation wasn’t caused because of Camilla - something royal author Ingrid Seward also claims Princess Diana believed.

However, much to the nation's surprise, the King eventually admitted to being unfaithful to Diana. In June 1994, he famously revealed that he was faithful to Diana ‘until it became irretrievably broken down.’ A year later Princess Diana did the unethically-obtained BBC’s Panorama interview - for which the broadcaster has now apologised and paid heavy compensation - and confessed that Camilla was the reason behind their split. She famously said:

Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.

She addressed the entire nation’s question on what is next for the Royal couple and confirmed that she’s waiting for Prince Charles to make a decision.

After Diana’s explosive interview, Queen Elizabeth intervened and demanded that Prince Charles end his marriage to Princess Diana. This came as the Princess revealed the details of her bulimia and self-harm, admitted to adultery and painted a chilling picture of a stiff and uncaring Royal Family. The New York Times reports that the Queen wrote letters to Charles and Diana and urged them to get a divorce as per Buckingham Palace statement dated December 21, 1995.

Princess Diana and Charles’ divorce settlement terms

Princess Diana agreed to the divorce on February 29, 1996. Her lawyer Anthony Julius ended up getting her a very specific divorce settlement term as it was no normal divorce like that of Prince Andrew or Princess Anne.

After months of negotiations between the two, lawyers finally agreed on the terms of the high-profile divorce case in August 1996, reports Oprah Daily. It was finalised just a year before Princess Diana’s death.

Let’s take a look at the high-profile divorce settlement terms that took place between Prince Charles and Camilla:


Princess Diana always knew that the divorce would strip her of her status. So, she fought to maintain as many of her royal trappings as possible. For starters, Princess Diana had to give up her ‘Her Royal Highness’ (HRH) title but was allowed to keep her Princess of Wales title. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth was ready to let her keep the title but Charles insisted she give it up. She also voluntarily relinquished her host of honorary military titles.

Residence and office

As part of the divorce settlement, Princess Diana was allowed to keep her residence at Kensington Palace. She was also given access to the jets used by the Royal Family. Additionally, the Palace confirmed that the Princess would be able to use the state apartments at ‘St. James's Palace for entertaining’ as long as she asks permission first.

However, she was asked to vacate her offices next to King Charles’ then offices at St. James's Palace. Diana was alternatively offered space for new offices at Kensington Palace.

Princess Diana’s status as a Royal

Despite giving up her HRH title, the Palace confirmed that Diana would continue to be ‘regarded as a member of the Royal Family.’ She was allowed to ‘receive invitations to state and national public occasions' from time to time at the invitation of the sovereign or the Government.


The Princess got to keep all the jewellery she had amassed during her marriage. She was spotted wearing her wedding band and engagement ring after the divorce but later replaced them with an aquamarine ring that she bought herself. Meghan Markle wore this ring at her wedding as well.

Financial settlement

Unlike most other divorces, this high-profile Royal divorce pushed for a lump-sum settlement instead of regular alimony cheques. Buckingham Palace confirmed that she would receive a lump-sum payment and while they didn’t reveal the actual amount, it was believed to be $22.5 million in cash plus $600,000 a year for her office. The generous financial settlement was far less than what the Princess allegedly had in her mind - $75 million, as per the New York Times.

Custody of Prince William and Prince Harry

Prince William and Prince Harry both attended Ludgrove boarding school. The arrangement helped them to miss most of the turmoil that led up to the separation and divorce of their parents. After the divorce, Diana and Charles were given ‘equal access’ to their kids. The two alternated holidays and spent equal time with their parents. Prince William said in the ITV documentary, Diana, Our Mother:

There was the point where our parents split and the two of us were bouncing between the two of them and we never saw our mother enough or we never saw our father enough.

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Sources Used

Harper Bazaar: A Timeline of Princess Diana and Prince Charles's Whirlwind Romance

Cosmopolitan: The True Story of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ Divorce: Custody Agreements, $$ Settlements, and Title Drama

New York Times: Charles and Diana Agree on Divorce Terms

Oprah Daily: Princess Diana Felt a "Deep, Deep Sadness" When She Divorced King Charles

Royal author reveals Princess Diana didn't believe Camilla was the reason for her divorce with King Charles Royal author reveals Princess Diana didn't believe Camilla was the reason for her divorce with King Charles