Prince Charles had only met his bride, Lady Diana Spencer, a handful of times when he asked her to be his wife.
Later, he reportedly told pals he desperately wanted to call off the wedding as he hadn’t had a chance to get to know the 20-year-old, but knew it was too late and he had to go through with it.
But while there were troubles behind the scenes, those outside believed they were watching the perfect fairytale unfold and there was a huge amount of excitement around the upcoming royal wedding.
The couple sat down for an engagement interview in the lead up to the big day and well-wishers were delighted to learn more about their love story.
But Diana later described it as “ghastly” and said Charles’s infamous answer to being asked if they were in love “traumatised her”.
In Diana: In Her Own Words, she said: “We had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement.
“And this ridiculous [reporter] said, ‘Are you in love?’ I thought, what a thick question.
“So I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are,’ and Charles turned round and said, ‘Whatever love means.’
“And that threw me completely. I thought, what a strange answer. It traumatized me.”
Charles proposed to Diana on February 3, 1981 in the nursery at Windsor Castle. Immediately after popping the question, he called his mum.
Speaking in a Channel 5 documentary Charles and Di: The Truth Behind Their wedding, royal biographer Christopher Wilson said: “He didn’t pick her up in her arms and embrace or do any of the things we might do when we propose marriage to the one that we love.
“He rang his mum, simply to say there, I’ve done it now. You’ve asked me to get married to somebody and I’ve fixed it.
“What he’d done was he’d finally found a wife.”
Speaking on the programme, royal expert Ingrid Seward explains that the big proposal was far from romantic.
She claims that Diana actually started laughing when he asked the question.
She said: “She burst out laughing, I think that was probably her nerves.
“She didn’t think it was the most romantic of proposals but she had the proposal.”
Wilson adds: “She was completely bowled over by this, didn’t see it coming.”
Charles presented Diana with a selection of rings by Garrard of Mayfair, the Crown Jeweller at the time.
She picked the white gold ring with 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding the famous sapphire. But there was a problem with is – it wasn’t bespoke.
The ring had actually featured in a catalogue which means, unlike most royal engagement rings, it wasn’t unique, reports the Sun.
In fact, anyone could have bought exactly the same ring – which didn’t go down well with the royals or their staff.
Charles and Diana married in a lavish ceremony on July 29, 1981 which was watched by 750 million people around the world.
Earlier this year royal reporter Robert Jobson claimed Prince Charles knew the wedding was a “massive mistake” before he said I Do in a new biography.
Charles is said to have told his friends: “I desperately wanted to get out of the wedding in 1981, when during the engagement I discovered just how awful the prospects were, having had no chance whatsoever to get to know Diana beforehand.”
Before starting his relationship with Diana he dated Camilla, but she was not considered a suitable match.