Charles, Diana marriage wouldn’t have happened if ‘royals obsessed’ Nixon had his way: book

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Before Princess Diana, King Charles was almost set up with American royalty.

The former Prince Charles visited the United States in 1970 when he was 21 and newly crowned the Prince of Wales. An eager President Nixon was determined to play matchmaker between the prince and first daughter Tricia Nixon.

“At the time, Charles was frequently talked about as one of the world’s most eligible bachelors,” author David Charter told Fox News Digital. “And Nixon was very keen on the royals. He was royals obsessed. When it was arranged that Charles and his younger sister Princess Anne, who was 19, would make this big solo visit to the White House and do a little tour of America, he was already coming up with a plan.”

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Prince Charles standing next to Tricia Nixon during a night out.

Prince Charles is seen here with Tricia Nixon in Washington, D.C., circa 1970. (Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho)

Charter has written a new book, “Royal Audience,” which explores the special relationship between the U.S. and the British royal family over the years. He described how Nixon was eager to pair up his daughter with the future king.

Prince Charles visiting the White House and walking with Richard Nixons daughters

Prince Charles and Princess Anne visit the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 1970. They are accompanied by Tricia Nixon (second from left), daughter of President Nixon, and David Eisenhower (far left), grandson of former President Eisenhower. (UPI/Bettmann Archive)

“Before Charles came to America, Richard Nixon was invited to have lunch with Queen Elizabeth in the summer of 1969,” Charter explained. “When Nixon shook hands with Charles, he told him, ‘Both of my daughters follow you very closely.’ Prince Philip commented, ‘I’m sure one is no longer.’ He was referring to Nixon’s daughter, Julia, who had just gotten married.”

“It was very obvious that Nixon was dropping hints that his daughter Tricia was interested in Charles because she was following him closely,” Charter added.

Book cover for royal audience

David Charter’s new book, “Royal Audience: 70 Years, 13 Presidents – One Queen’s Special Relationship with America,” is now available. (G.P. Putnams Sons)

When Charles and Anne touched down in America, it was reported that he spent “plenty of time” with Tricia. According to LIFE magazine, the pair saw the sights of Washington together, attended a formal dinner and went to a baseball game. The outlet noted that as the duo “laughed and danced” at the formal evening event, Nixon “never looked happier.”

Prince Charles chatting with Tricia Nixon at a baseball game

Prince Charles sits with Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Nixon, during a baseball game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (David Cairns/Daily Express/Hulton Archive)

“When Charles arrived, he found himself paired off with Tricia at all of these public appearances the entire time,” Charter chuckled. “He even later joked about how Nixon was trying to marry him off to Tricia. It was several days of him being paired off with Tricia. Nixon made sure Tricia was his chaperone the entire time. There are lots of great photographs of Charles and Tricia together, to Nixon’s delight. He was hoping something was happening between them.”

“She was unattached,” Charter continued. “There was no boyfriend on the scene. Tricia was a similar age to Charles and, of course, newspapers kept wondering when he would finally meet his match. … I think Charles was amused by the whole thing. But Richard Nixon, who was so fascinated by the royal family, was hopeful.”

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Richard Nixon admiring Prince Charles at the podium

This image taken on July 20, 1970, shows Prince Charles with President Nixon during his official visit to the U.S. (AFP)

No sparks were flying when Charles attended his first baseball game with Tricia. According to the Washington Post, it was a 91-degree day, causing Charles to ask if he could sit in the shaded press box rather than bear the heat down on the stands. There were 8,500 people in attendance and all cameras were on Charles and Tricia.

The outlet noted that Charles struggled to understand the rules of the game and kept asking for an explainer. By the time there was a home run, Charles and Anne had long left the ballpark.

Charles’ visit to a Major League Baseball stadium “was apparently an experience of some bewilderment,” the outlet reported.

Prince Charles looking at a pamphlet and looking confused.

Prince Charles struggled to understand the rules of baseball. (Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix)

A love match between Charles and Tricia wasn’t meant to be. Less than a year after Charles’ visit, Tricia married Harvard Law student Edward F. Cox. They are still together.

Tricia Nixon on her wedding day

Tricia Nixon married Edward F. Cox in 1971. (Getty Images)

Charles remained a bachelor for at least a decade before he married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The couple divorced after 15 years of marriage.

But before Charles ever said “I do,” he was nicknamed the “Playboy Prince” for his lengthy dating history. According to reports, he gave himself the deadline of age 30 to find his future queen. He missed the target by two years, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. He reportedly romanced at least 20 women coined “Charlie’s Angels.”

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Prince Charles in a blue and red polo shirt walking next to Lady Sarah Spencer in a brightly printed dress

Prince Charles is seen here at a polo match with Sarah Spencer. (Tim Graham Photo Library)

He was previously involved with Diana’s older sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. The pair met at one of the queen’s parties and the future king was said to be taken by her sense of humor and reddish hair. They dated in 1977 and, on paper, she seemed like a perfect match for the heir to the throne.

“She was from the Spencer family, fully aristocratic,” True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen previously told Fox News Digital. “And in many ways, they would have been a very good match. She’s probably more like Camilla than she is Diana. Sarah loves horses, loves hunting. She smokes, she speaks her mind – all the attributes that Camilla had when Charles was going out with her in the early years. So, in many ways, Sarah matched all the things that Camilla was and what drew Charles to Camilla. But she also had all the things Camilla didn’t have, which was the aristocratic heritage.”

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer posing for a portrait

Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles are seen here after they announced their engagement. (Tim Graham Photo Library)

But that all changed in 1977 when Spencer, targeted by tabloids, told reporters that she frankly wouldn’t marry someone she didn’t love. According to True Royalty TV’s documentary, “Charles and the Women Who Could Have Been Queen,” an embarrassed Spencer allegedly called Charles after her bombshell statement in an attempt to clear the air. But Charles, who loathed when his girlfriends spoke to the press, remarked, “You’ve done a very stupid thing.” The film noted that Spencer “played cupid” between Charles and her younger sister, who found her future ex-husband “dashing.”

Charles kissing Diana on their wedding day

Princess Diana and Prince Charles married in 1981. Their divorce was finalized in 1996. (Getty Images)

Charles had a specific checklist for his wife – she needed to be aristocratic, not a Catholic and a virgin. She also needed the queen’s approval. Still, his life changed when he met his future queen – Camilla Shand – in 1970, whose family had long links with the royals.

Prince Charles being held by Camilla on their wedding day

The former Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, married on April 9, 2005. (Anwar Hussein)

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Diana died in 1997 from injuries she sustained in a car crash. She was 36. Diana is survived by her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who she shared with her ex-husband. Charles and Camilla married in 2005.

Charles ascended to the throne upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. England’s longest-reigning monarch died in 2022 at age 96.