Prince Charles said admitting adultery in TV interview was 'living dangerously', letter shows

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read
Prince Charles visits Rosecroft Secondary School, Loftus, Saltburn-by -the-Sea, Redcar And Cleveland, Wednesday 30th March 1994. (Photo by Teesside Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Prince Charles in 1994, the year he confessed to infidelity in his marriage to Diana. (Teesside Archive/Mirrorpix)

Prince Charles thought he was “living dangerously” when he admitted to adultery in a TV interview in 1994, a letter has revealed.

Charles admitted to being unfaithful to Princess Diana with Camilla, who is now the Duchess of Cornwall, in an interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, two years after the couple had separated.

In a letter which is being sold at auction next week in Derby, he thanked a friend for writing to him after she had seen the programme.

He wrote: “I was enormously grateful for your very kind letter following that television programme the other day. I suspect it was what is called ‘living dangerously’, but it seems difficult to avoid nowadays! Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it and managed to remain fully awake for two and a half hours!”

He was writing to Marjorie Dawson RVM, who was a dresser and maid to Princess Alexandra, one of the Queen’s cousins. Dawson died last year.

The letter is one of several which are to be auctioned at Hanson’s Auctioneers from Charles, including Christmas cards and thank you notes.

Undated handout photo issued by Hansons of the envelope and first page of a letter from the Prince of Wales to Marjorie Dawson, who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra for 36 years, after his appearance in a 1994 documentary with biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, where he admitted adultery on television.
The letter from the Prince of Wales to Marjorie Dawson, after his appearance in a 1994 documentary with biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, where he admitted adultery on television. (PA)

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Another letter, written to Dawson in 1990 from Buckingham Palace, was sent after Charles broke his arm when playing polo.

He wrote: “Unfortunately I can't use my right hand, so I'm feeling rather useless, and hope you will forgive me for having this note typed and for not being very humerus (pun)!! My apologies for the awful writing, but I am trying to learn to write with my left hand, and not being very successful!”

In 1994, Prince Charles admitted infidelity, but said he only rekindled his romance with Camilla, then Parker-Bowles, when his own marriage to Diana had broken down “irretrievably”.

He said in the interview that he was faithful to Diana “until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried”.

Charles and Diana married in 1981, having met only 13 times before they wed at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, was initially thought a match for the prince, who was facing pressure as he went into his 30s without a wife.

He had dated Camilla briefly, but she married Andrew Parker-Bowles when Charles was away on military service. Charles and Diana separated in 1992 and then divorced in 1996, a year before she was killed in a car crash in Paris.

Undated handout photo issued by Hansons of the envelope and first page of a letter from the Prince of Wales to Marjorie Dawson, who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra for 36 years, after his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall.
A letter from the Prince of Wales to Marjorie Dawson after his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, in which he refers to his 'Darling Camilla'. (PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Hansons of Princess Alexandra (left) and Marjorie Dawson, who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin for 36 years. Touching private letters from the royal family to the trusted servant, including notes from Charles expressing his personal feelings about major life events and a controversial television appearance, are to go up for auction.
Princess Alexandra (left) and Marjorie Dawson. Dawson died last year, and had been the princess's dresser. (PA)

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Charles and Camilla eventually married in 2005, and in a letter to Dawson after the wedding, Charles said: “And you can have no idea how lucky I am to have my Darling Camilla.”

In one note, he expressed frustration about a “media circulation war” saying: “Unfortunately, we are now to be treated as mere pawns in a terrifying & ongoing media circulation war where the actual facts are totally disregarded & vast sums of money are offered as bribes to former, & current, members of staff.

The letters and mementos were found by Dawson’s family after she died aged 104.

Also in the collection are cards and letters from the late Queen Mother, and a hand written note from Princess Anne, from 1968.

It says: “Many thanks for looking after me so well, kindly and patiently… I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

It is signed: “Love, Anne.”

Undated handout photo issued by Hansons of Marjorie Dawson (left), who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra for 36 years. Touching private letters from the royal family to the trusted servant, including notes from Charles expressing his personal feelings about major life events and a controversial television appearance, are to go up for auction.
Marjorie Dawson (left), who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra for 36 years. (PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Hansons of Marjorie Dawson's invitation to the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. Touching private letters from the royal family to the trusted servant, who served as personal dresser and maid to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra for 36 years, are to go up for auction.
Marjorie Dawson's invitation to the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. (PA)

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Jim Spencer, Hansons’ paper expert, said he had spent hours examining the full set of letters.

He said: “This is such an important collection, much of it untouched. Marjorie must have cherished her career because she kept every little thing.

“I found envelopes stuffed full of postcards, programmes, menus, brochures, and countless notes on headed paper from houses, castles and palaces around the world.

“She was clearly a steadfast, treasured, loyal and devoted royal servant who gained the affection of the family she served.”

There are 81 lots in total, which will be auctioned online on 13 October. They’re expected to fetch £10,000.

Dawson, who grew up in Bolton and was orphaned at the age of 12, was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal for her service to the Royal Family.

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