PRINCE CHARLES thought he had found a true soulmate – years before his marriage to Diana – but the fledgling relationship was scuppered by a cruel twist of fate, according to a royal biographer.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana tied the knot in their spectacular royal wedding in 1981. Before their ill-fated marriage, Charles had been romantically involved with Camilla Parker Bowles in the early Seventies and went on to marry the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005. However the Prince of Wales, who was widely regarded as the most eligible bachelor in the world at the time, had another romance in the Seventies which could have proved to be a “soulmate” match.
Author Penny Junor, in her 2005 book “The Firm” delves into the romance, which was “killed stone dead” before it led to the altar.
Ms Junor writes: “In 1976, the prince fell for another girl, Davina Sheffield, who could have been the soulmate he was searching for.
“She seemed ideal in so many ways, and they appeared to be very much in love.
“But she already had a boyfriend when Charles met her, an Old Harrovian and powerboat racer named James Beard.
The Prince of Wales (Image Getty)
Davina Sheffield (Image Getty)
“Davina initially rebuffed invitations to have dinner with the Prince, but he was so persistent that she eventually succumbed and the boyfriend soon fell by the wayside.
“He was subsequently conned into talking about his relationship with Davina by what turned out to be a Sunday tabloid reporter and the story of their affair, complete with photographs of their ‘love nest’, made headline news.
“It killed the relationship stone dead.”
Reportedly introduced to the Prince of Wales by his sister Princess Anne, debutante Ms Sheffield is the granddaughter of the first Lord McGowan, and cousin of Samantha Cameron.
Prince Chalres and Davina Sheffield pictured in 1976 (Image Getty)
The bachelor prince was linked with a number of suitable young ladies in the Seventies, including Princess Diana’s sister Lady Sarah Spencer 1977.
The 16-year-old Diana first laid eyes on her future husband when he was dating Lady Sarah, although Diana and Charles would not become romantically involved until 1980.
In fact, Charles was freshly single from a break-up from fiery Scottish heiress Anna Wallace when he met Diana that year.
The feisty Ms Wallace – nicknamed ‘Whiplash Wallace’ by the Prince’s circle – even reportedly turned down Charles’ proposal of marriage twice.
Anna Wallace dated the Prince of Wales in 1980 (Image Getty)
Charles and Diana started their romance in 1980 (Image Getty)
However, the relationship finally came to end when Ms Wallace brutally rebuked Charles for his attentions to Camilla Parker Bowles.
Around 1978 or early 1979, Charles and Camilla had rekindled their romantic affair which first began in the early Seventies, however they broke it off again after Charles became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer.
Author Penny Junor , in her 2017 book “The Duchess”, reports how, in 1980, Anna broke things off with Charles with some furious words over Camilla.
Ms Junor writes: “Charles had taken her to two successive balls and then danced with Camilla for most of both evenings.
Camilla and Charles timeline (Image DX)
“Anna dumped him with the words: ‘No one treats me like that – not even you.’”
The couple had only just broken up when Charles met Diana in the summer of 1980.
Their whirlwind romance saw them engaged just months later in February 1981.
Former editor of Vanity Fair, Tina Brown, writing in Vanity Fair in 1985, describes how the Prince of Wales faced pressure to marry that was intensified by Camilla and his other close friend Lady Dale Tryon, who compared Diana favourably to “fiery” Anna Wallace.
She writes: “His family wanted it. The public wanted it.
“Like the last Prince of Wales, he liked to confide in married women, and his two favourites, Lady Tryon and Camilla Parker Bowles, wanted it.
“They had met the blushing little Spencer girl and deduced she was not going to give them any trouble.
“Better her than another fiery number like Anna Wallace.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK