How did Prince Charles and Princess Diana actually meet?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana might not have had the fairytale ending but how did they start dating?

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement
(Image credit: Ron Bell/PA Archive/PA Images)

You might have seen Prince Charles first meet his then future wife Princess Diana when she was wearing a Midsummer Night's Dream costume in Netflix drama series of The Crown.

But while you wonder how true is The Crown, the place of meeting at Althorp House did happen, however Diana Spencer wasn't as elaborately dressed. 

And when it comes to wondering how Prince Charles ended up being there, well, it's true - Diana's sister Lady Spencer had first introduced them at the Spencers' ancestral home.

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At the time of the initial meeting, Prince Charles who has just launched a fashion collection with Net-a-porter, was attending a pheasant hunt in the grounds.

Sarah later admitted in an interview with the Guardian she played "cupid". She said, “I introduced them; I’m Cupid.”

The pair dated until announcing their engagement in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in 1981 as the two giggled over their courtship. At the time, Prince Charles said, "I feel positively delighted and frankly amazed that Di is prepared take me on."

At the time, the Prince of Wales also revealed he thought "what fun she was" on first meeting Lady Diana in November, 1977, when she was 16. 

READ MORE: Did Princess Diana’s sister Sarah Spencer date Prince Charles before her?

And while Charles briefly dated Diana's sister Sarah, he later met up with Diana when they were guests at a country weekend during the summer of 1980.

At the time Diana watched him play polo and its then that he is understood to have taken serious interest in Diana as a potential bride. 

The relationship flourished when he invited her aboard a royal yacht Britannia for a sailing weekend to Cowes.

Charles followed up that boating date with an invitation to Balmoral - the royal family's Scottish residence - to meet his family one weekend in November 1980.

It's understood Lady Diana got on well with the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Duke of Edinburgh, so Prince Charles went on to date Diana in London.

Despite the 12-year age difference, the pair seemed to take it in their stride. With Charles having stated, "I think that Diana will keep me young, apart from anything else. I think I shall be exhausted.

"No, I haven't somehow thought about it. I mean, it's only 12 years and lots of people have got married with that sort of age difference. I just feel you are as old as you think you are." Meanwhile Lady Diana said, "I have never thought about it."

How did Prince Charles propose to Princess Diana?

The Prince proposed on 6 February 1981 at Windsor Castle and Lady Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for two and a half weeks.

In a BBC Radio interview Prince Charles revealed how he proposed to Lady Diana. He said, "She had planned to go to Australia quite a long time before anyway with her mother and I thought 'well I'll ask her then so that she'll have a chance of thinking it over when she's away and saying I can't bear the whole idea - or not, as the case may be. But in fact you accepted..." 

And Lady Diana replied with a laugh, "...more or less straight away."