TV & Movies

What Was Really In Princess Diana & Prince Charles’ Divorce Settlement

As in The Crown, Diana did receive a lump sum — but she had to sacrifice her royal titles.

Prince Charles And Princess Diana On Their Last Official Trip Together - A Visit To The Republic Of ...
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

By the end of The Crown Season 5, Prince Charles and Princess Diana are officially divorced, after spending years in an unhappy marriage. Episode 9 dramatizes the negotiation of their divorce settlement, and portrays the process fairly accurately.

In the series, as in real life, the couple’s path to divorce was sped up after Diana’s infamous Panorama interview with Martin Bashir (an interview that was solicited unethically, with Bashir falsifying documents to convince Diana to speak out). In that televised interview, Diana spoke about her and Charles’ infidelities, and her issues with the royal family. The interview prompted the Queen change her mind about approving Charles and Diana’s divorce — and she reportedly did write them a letter consenting to their legal split, as on the show. At that point, in 1996, scandal after scandal plagued their marriage and all parties involved agreed that it was time to dissolve the marriage.

But it was not going to be easy. On the show, the two go back and forth about a lump sum that Diana wanted to secure her future with, and about whether or not she could maintain her titles, residencies, or even custody of her children. The Crown leaves it a little unclear where the two landed exactly, but we do know some of the terms of the couple’s real divorce settlement. Here’s what’s been confirmed.

Diana Received A Lump Sum

In The Crown, Diana first asks for a lump initial sum of some $35 million, and to continue using her residence at Kensington Palace, which Charles immediately scoffs at. As in real life, the series shows them going back and forth in the negotiations, armed with teams of lawyers. But while The Crown shows that Prime Minister John Major mediated their divorce as a trusted, impartial “umpire,” there is no evidence in real life that Major actually sat down with the both of them.

They did eventually settle, with The New York Times reporting at the time that Diana received a $22.5 million lump sum, plus a yearly $600,000 stipend to maintain her private offices. It’s likely that if Diana had remarried, she would have had to give up the yearly stipend.

She Had To Give Up Her Titles

What they don’t mention in The Crown is that Diana had to give up her HRH title (“Her Royal Highness”), which meant that she would have to curtsy in front of anyone with an HRH title — including her children and her ex-husband. Diana also gave up various military titles that came with her marriage.

Even though she was stripped of her titles, though, the New York Times reported that the Queen said Diana would be considered family and invited to some royal functions. They allowed her to keep her apartment in Kensington Palace, though she had to move her offices, which were originally next door to Charles’, to another royal location. She was also permitted to use the royal family’s jets, and to use royal facilities for entertaining, provided she received permission on a case-by-case basis. Much like her yearly stipend, many of these luxuries would have likely been revoked had she remarried.

Diana & Charles Agreed To Joint Custody

The divorce settlement was equal in at least one way: They were both given joint custody of young Princes William and Harry. Somewhat luckily, both of the boys attended boarding school at the time, so their daily lives weren’t too disrupted by the divorce. They would continue to split their holidays on a rotating basis, as they had been doing throughout Diana and Charles’ four-year separation.