LONDON: The classic fairy tale romance ended Wednesday when Princess Diana finally agreed to a divorce from Prince Charles. Diana had declared that she did not want a divorce, but after giving a very public airing of very private laundry in a December television interview, Queen Elizabeth turned up the pressure and called on the couple to divorce. "The most striking thing about this is that no one in Britain is neutral about the issue," says TIME's Barry Hillenbrand. "You like cricket or rugby; you back Spurs, you back Arsenal; you love the English National Opera, or you hate it. You like Charles, you like Di. Di clearly has the lead in the public mind. The December broadcast helped a lot, although it did cut both ways: women rallied to her cause, but some men were repelled and frightened. But Charles keeps working away and, had a very good year." The marriage that had begun with such promise in 1981 -- memories of the lavish wedding, replete with a beautiful handmade gown and horse-drawn carriage, flit past our eyes -- has concluded in disaster. But despite the failings of the Windsors, Hillenbrand says, the institution of the British Royalty continues to prevail.