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

by Emily Nash

Prince Harry's romance with Meghan Markle and Prince William's marriage to Kate would have been "inconceivable" if Prince Charles had not suffered trouble in his first marriage, according to the future King's biographer. Sally Beddell-Smith says the royal brothers have been given the freedom to enjoy happy relationships because of the difficulties faced by their parents.

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 told HELLO!: "With the perspective of now 20 years time since her tragic death, I think people realise 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 them have a very modern life," said royal biographer Sally Beddell-Smith

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But the US-born 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.

"Harry and William have benefitted 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 modernise the monarchy. The Queen was smart enough to adapt the best of Diana and loosen things up."

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Sally's book explores Prince Charles's marriages as well as his work and private passions

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As for Prince Charles's 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."

Prince Charles: The passions and paradoxes of an improbably life (Michael Joseph £25) by Sally Bedell Smith is out now.