Prince Charles‘ romances with his first wife, Princess Diana, and his current wife, Camilla, are, of course, very well-known. Back before his marriage to Princess Diana, Prince Charles was thought of as a bit of a playboy. There was one date in particular, though, that stands out: his weekend with President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia.
Prince Charles was 32 when he finally settled down and married Lady Diana Spencer. For many in the royal family, the wedding was a relief. Throughout his 20s, the Prince of Wales had developed the reputation of a lady’s man and was attached to many women in the 1970s. The strangest connection just might have been when “they were trying to marry me off to Tricia Nixon,” as Prince Charles once told CNN in an interview.
Discussion of whom the future king of England planned to marry was already a very hot topic in the United Kingdom at the time. As Britain’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Charles was rumored to be dating a slew of women, including the woman that would eventually become his second, and current, wife, Lady Camilla Shand, now the Duchess Of Cornwall. He was 22 when he and his sister, Princess Anne, made their first official visit to the United States. During their trip, the royals were invited to spend a weekend at the White House with President Nixon and his family.
From Wales to the White House
On the American side of the pond, Tricia Nixon, like Prince Charles, was thought of as a real catch. The 24-year-old was unattached to any suitors at the time. During Prince Charles’ stay, both the President and his wife, Pat, worked to create a spark between the two. As the daughter of a politician who had been in the public eye since the 1950s, Tricia was as close to American royalty as there can be. To the Nixons, marriage to Prince Charles must have seemed perfect.
During his weekend stay, Prince Charles attended a baseball game — his first — and was seated next to Tricia. At a dinner, President Nixon made sure she was seated next to the heir apparent. In fact, at every opportunity, President and First Lady Nixon were trying to set the pair up. According to royal biographer Anthony Holden, “Seating plans constantly had Charles and Tricia side by side while the program had them spending all of each day together, even to being left alone with each other in various parts of the White House.”
The New York Times wrote after the weekend was over that Tricia said, “[The prince] is an excellent dancer,” and with “her eyes sparkling, Tricia reported that just before the prince left, he had invited her to England.” There was no trip to England for Tricia in the end. Prince Charles didn’t seem quite as fond of her as she was of him. Tricia ended up getting married in 1971 in the White House and Prince Charles, of course, married Princess Diana in 1981.