Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage is sign of modern monarchy

By Emily Nash

Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton and Prince Harry's relationship with actress Meghan Markle would have been "inconceivable" if their father Prince Charles had not suffered trouble in his first marriage to to the late Princess Diana, according to the first-in-line's biographer. Author Sally Beddell Smith says the royal siblings have been given the freedom to enjoy happy relationships because of the difficulties faced by their mom and dad.

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Prince Charles and Princess Diana's ill-fated relationship paved the way for a new royal perspective on love and marriage when it came time for sons William and Harry to choose partners Photo: Getty Images

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Her book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, tells how the heir to the throne wed Diana Spencer, 13 years his junior, because he was expected to choose a bride "without a history." She tells HELLO!: "With the perspective of now 20 years time since her tragic death, I think people realize now that it was such a mismatch and was hasty. I discovered that Charles and Diana had been together just 12 times before he proposed. They have the incredible legacy of two fantastic sons but it was difficult from the get go really and I don't blame him and I don't blame her."

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The royal family 'let William and Kate have a very modern life,' said royal biographer Sally Beddell Smith Photo: Getty Images

But the author says that without the "tragedies and strictures" of their father's life, "Meghan and Kate would have been inconceivable." Referring to the Duchess of Cambridge, she says: "Her grandfather was a coal miner, but they (the Royal Family) understood that she was good news, they let them have a very modern life – they lived together for eight years and got to know each other."

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The author's new book on the Prince of Wales has just been released

She adds: "Harry and William have benefited from the tragedies and strictures on his life and they're now able to live a much more modern life partly because people saw what it did to Charles and they wanted to avoid the tragedy that he endured with his marriage and so his struggles helped to modernize the monarchy. The Queen was smart enough to adapt the best of Diana and loosen things up."

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As for Prince Charles' second marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall, Sally says: "I think Camilla has really been accepted. They're a real team and they whisper to each other and they roll their eyes and she jollies him up. She can keep his feet on the ground and make him laugh. He talks about his darling wife. She's kept him level."

As for Charles' relationship with the Duchess of Cornwall, Sally said: 'They're a real team... She's kept him level' Photo: Getty Images

Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, and the royal couple's divorce was finalized in 1996. The following year, on August 31, Diana tragically died in a car accident in Paris at the age of 36.

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