Princess Diana ‘hated gender preference’ during her pregnancies and was ‘devastated’ at King Charles' response to Harry being a boy

"Oh, God. It’s a boy. And he even has red hair!"

King Charles, Princess Diana and Prince Harry
(Image credit: David Levenson/Getty Images)

Previously unheard tapes recorded by Princess Diana have revealed she ‘hated' the 'gender preference’ King Charles III had during her pregnancies and was left ‘devastated’ by his response to Prince Harry being a boy.

We may just have marked the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana death, with many going to visit her grave at Althorp House on the poignant day, but we are still learning so much about the People's Princess that we never knew before. 

After marrying the then-Prince Charles when she was only 20-years-old at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London, the couple officially divorced in 1996, just one year after Diana's explosive and controversial Panorama interview, a piece of television that saw the Princess infamously say there were "three of us" in her marriage to Charles. But while she revealed a lot of information about herself during her life, we are still learning more as a series of tapes recorded by Diana herself have now been released and heard by a few select ears.  

According to reports in The Independent, the former Princess of Wales recorded a series audio tapes throughout the 1980s which were given to the royal author Andrew Morton, who then used the recordings to write the biography Diana: Her True Story

The previously unheard tapes reportedly document Diana and her ex-husband, King Charles III's relationship as it deteriorated throughout the 80s, the decade in which both of their children were born.  Christopher Andersen, a royal author who wrote The King, has now revealed that he has 'heard many hours' of Diana's recordings and highlighted how 'devastated' Diana appeared to be in them when Charles blew up over the fact Prince Harry was born a boy when he 'desperately wanted a daughter.'

Diana with her sons william and harry

(Image credit: Getty)

Speaking to Fox News, Andersen revealed, “Diana was in tremendous emotional pain. She was up against a thousand-year-old institution that was determined to thwart her every move, and the distress she felt can really be heard in her voice. Their marriage was famously stormy from the start."

But the Princess reportedly documented that there was at least one time that the stormy weather calmed and her marriage became 'blissfully happy.' Andersen shared, "Diana acknowledged that it was a wonder that she became pregnant at all given her marital battles with Charles. ‘Harry appeared as if by a miracle,’ Diana later said.

"She admitted that she even began to convince herself that Charles did in fact love her. ‘We were blissfully happy,’ she said of that brief time in the royal marriage. ‘Charles was overjoyed about the new baby, very tender and caring. I didn’t want it to end.’”

But it did end. According to Andersen, the only reason that Charles was happy was because he thought Diana was carrying a girl and he desperately wanted a daughter to 'round out the family.' However, Diana reportedly knew that Harry was a boy right from the beginning and didn't have the heart to tell her husband that truth. 

Diana, Princess of Wales holding Prince Harry in her arms while on holiday in Majorca, Spain on August 10, 1987.

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Georges De Keerle)

“He was so convinced Diana was pregnant with a girl that he refused to look at any sonograms," Andersen said. "Diana did look, however. ‘I knew it was a boy,’ she later said. 'And I didn’t tell him.’ Diana would recall that time in their marriage, ‘We were very, very close to each other the six weeks before Harry was born. The closest we’ve ever, ever been and ever will be’.”

But the bubble burst very soon after Harry's birth, with Charles reportedly blurting out to the doctors and nurses, "Oh, God. It’s a boy. And he even has red hair!"

The complaint about his hair was seemingly made a lot, according to Andersen, a fact that left Diana 'devastated.' She reportedly said on the tapes, “It just went bang, our marriage. The whole thing went down the drain. Something inside me closed off.”

Gender preference was something Diana seemed to hate even before King Charles' dismal reaction to Prince Harry's gender, with Anderson revealing that it stemmed from how how her own parents were disappointed with her being a girl. 

He told Fox News, “Diana hated the whole gender preference thing. After having two daughters, Diana’s parents were so convinced she would be a boy that they didn’t even bother picking out a girl’s name in advance. It was a full week before they named her Diana Frances.

“She grew up knowing that her parents were bitterly disappointed in her, all of which made Diana feel unwanted and unloved’ from the beginning.”

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.