Princess Diana and Charles age difference: What was the age gap? The Crown fact-checked

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Princess Diana was introduced in season four of The Crown, which has just arrived on Netflix, and fans are already blown away by actress Emma Corrin’s performance. The star plays a young Diana Spencer, the sister of Sarah Spencer (played by Isobel Eadie), whom Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) had sparked up a friendship with. Diana was still at school when she met the prince, and has everything you need to know about how old she was at the time.

Princess Diana and Charles age difference: What was the age gap?

In The Crown, Prince Charles spotted Diana while he was waiting to go out for the day with her sister Sarah.

Sarah had warned Diana she was not to be seen by the prince, but she was spotted hiding behind a floral arrangement, saying she needed to cross the hall to get to another room.

Charles was instantly taken with her and he proceeded to ask her about her intriguing costume, as she was dressed as a tree. She explained the costume was a “disaster” and her school had been preparing to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Charles said he enjoyed the play and the pair got talking, with her sister Sarah later revealing Diana had been dying to meet the prince.

Later on, Charles saw Diana again following Lord Mountbatten’s (Charles Dance) funeral, and he called Sarah to get more information about her little sister. Sarah was taken aback by the request but told the prince some facts about Diana.

She said she had been offering help at a kindergarten, and she carried out cleaning duties for Sarah on a part-time basis.

Sarah said her sister did not have a proper job yet, as she had “only just turned 18” at the time. Her first encounter with Charles was when she was still at school, and she was 16-years-old in the series.

The real Diana Spencer was also 16 when she met the prince, in the year 1977, and he was 28-years-old at the time.

Their 12-year age gap could have contributed to their differences in character, as Diana was only just reaching adulthood. 

Charles had been visiting the Spencers’ estate to take part in a pheasant hunt, and on his first encounter with Diana he had described her as being jolly and full of life.

In the series, he asked Sarah about her sister’s character and wondered whether she had a fun personality, to which her sister said she was a very charismatic person.

Charles ended up taking Diana out on a date to the opera, and they could not help but steal glances at each other during the performance.

Following their first date, they found it hard to keep apart from each other, and it was Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell) who told Charles to pursue the relationship.

Charles had been 12 years older than Diana, but their age gap did not get in the way of their feelings for each other and they were engaged when Diana was just 19.

They were married after six months and their wedding was one of the most iconic moments in Royal history.

Born in Sandringham, Diana grew up with two sisters – Sarah and Jane, and a brother Charles. Diana had been homeschooled for a while, before starting formal education at Silfield Private School in Norfolk.

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She later attended West Heath Girls’ School in Kent but left when she was 16 – the same age she met the prince.

Diana was known to have less of an academic and more of an artistic character, excelling in music, dance and drama. As mentioned in the series, she worked as a playgroup assistant and did cleaning work for her sister and her friends.

Actress Corrin introduced her character, saying: “Hailing from one of the grandest and most established aristocratic families in the country, when she meets Prince Charles as an impressionable teenager she quickly falls in love.

“After a brief courtship, Charles proposes and Diana is quickly propelled from the life of a normal teenage girl into one as the Princess of Wales. Across the series she goes on a transformational journey to become a global superstar, but the fairytale marriage portrayed in the world’s media isn’t quite what it appears to be.”

She said the series covers Diana’s life from the age of 16 to 28 and she found her character’s arc “incredible”, as it was very sensitive and intimate.

Diana had fitted in well with the Royal family when she was first introduced, but she was known to have found the change in lifestyle difficult.

In one of the scenes in the series, she was seen dancing around a room, blaring out music loudly from a vinyl, showing her carefree personality.

But she was quickly plucked from normal life and thrown into a completely different world, where she felt she was being judged bythe Royals.

Diana’s story in the series is just as emotional as her real-life journey, and actress Corrin said she had to make sure she had some downtime, as some of the scenes could be very intense.

The real Diana divorced Prince Charles in 1996, 15 years after their marriage. She died the following year, aged 36, after she was involved in a car crash in Paris.

The Crown season 4 is on Netflix now

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