On a Rejected Proposal

Amanda was indeed a great beauty. Her grandfather knew that the young woman would make a great prospective wife for the right man. Now, this was back in the day when women often had little say over whom they would wed. Marriages were arranged by older relatives, and they often involved what amounted to business transactions that would unite lands or fortunes–or change them. And Amanda’s grandfather had his eye on a wealthy man, a cousin, in fact, who would make a good match for Amanda, he felt. She would provide him with a beautiful companion and a good mother for his children, and, since the man was of a higher social rank, that benefitted his family even more.

It helped that the wealthy man listened to Amanda’s grandfather for advice. He felt that the older man was much like his own grandfather had he knew him, but the wealthy man’s grandfather died before he was born. Even though Amanda’s grandfather was named Louis, the wealthy man called him “Uncle Dickie.” This wealthy man had the reputation as a bit of a what we might call a playboy today, someone who had a reputation as someone who made the rounds. Uncle Dickie advised him to “sow his wild oats” but to get serious and think about starting to settle down–preferably with Amanda.

Now, Amanda at this time was a teenager, and the wealthy man was 9 years her senior. While Uncle Dickie saw no issue, the wealthy man wanted to avoid any public embarrassment, so he agreed to wait until Amanda was a bit older before he asked her to marry him. The pair spent time together on trips and became friends, good friends, in fact. Uncle Dickie wrote the wealthy man and advised him to not wait too long. “”For a wife, one should choose a suitable and sweet charactered girl,” he wrote, and added that he should do so, “before she met anyone else she might fall for.” It was clear that he meant Amanda.

That’s when the wealthy man’s father stepped in. He had a figurative and literal (financial) interest in whom his son married, and, for his part, he didn’t particularly get along with Uncle Dickie. The father advised his son to not listen to the advice and to choose someone besides Amanda. But the wealthy man had become smitten with his younger distant cousin.

So, when Amanda was 21, the question was popped. But no one had asked Amanda how she felt. She told the wealthy man that while he was one of her favorite people, that she looked at him more as an older brother than a potential husband. He confessed that he felt strong affection for her, but she said that she could not return his affection in an romantic sense. Now, it’s true that Amanda could have been compelled by her family to agree to a loveless marriage, but they (especially her mother) allowed her to decline the wealthy man’s offer of marriage.

That was in 1979. But the wealthy man wasn’t too devastated by Amanda’s rejection. In fact, he had continued an affair with another woman all the time he was wooing Amanda. And, less than two years later, the wealthy man proposed to another young woman, a 19 year old named Diana.

And despite some misgivings, Diana Spencer accepted the proposal from Charles Windsor, the Prince of Wales.


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