LONDON: Prince Charles contemplated calling off his wedding to Princess Diana on the eve of their marriage and told a close confidant that he cannot go through with it, a new biography has sensationally claimed.
Catherine Mayer's book 'Charles: Heart of a King' says both Prince Charles and Princess Diana contemplated calling off their wedding -- but for different reasons.
While the then Lady Diana Spencer knew the Prince of Wales held affections for Camilla Parker Bowles, her groom panicked that he was rushing into marriage with a girl he hardly knew, The Telegraph quotes the book as saying.
Catherine Mayer, whose unauthorised biography is set to published on Thursday, quotes a member of the Prince's inner circle as saying that on the eve of the wedding in 1981 the heir to the British throne "was desperate".
The future Princess, to whom he had been engaged for five months after a brief courtship, was "not the jolly country girl he had assumed," but instead a vulnerable, complicated woman already suffering from an eating disorder.
He is said to have told his confidant: "I can't go through with it...I can't do it." The same friend is quoted as saying that: "I always told him afterwards that if it had been a Catholic marriage, it could have been declared null. Because he wasn't really (committed), because she started with the bulimia and everything before the wedding."
Lady Diana, meanwhile, had found a bracelet intended for Camilla Parker Bowles which had the letters "GF" engraved on it, the book says.
She believed they stood for "Gladys" and "Fred", the pet names the Prince and Bowles had given each other, though an alternative suggestion was that they stood for "Girl Friday", another nickname the Prince had given her.
Lady Diana later told her own biographer Andrew Morton that she confided in her sisters, telling them: "I can't marry him, I can't do this, this is absolutely unbelievable."
They told her it was too late to pull out because "your face is (already) on the tea towels."
But, says Mayer: "She had no idea her bridegroom also had to be coaxed to the altar."
The biography has already caused controversy over its depictions of the 66-year-old Prince's court as a modern-day 'Wolf Hall' riven with backstabbing and rivalry, and Clarence House has responded to the book by claiming Mayer overstated the exclusive access she was given to the Prince, which amounted to a nine-minute conversation.
The biography has also claimed that Queen Elizabeth II fears that Britain may not be ready for the radical new style of monarchy envisaged by her eldest son.