Regina George in the Duchess’ clothing? Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles‘ relationship before Prince Charles’ wedding was full of drama.
Bidish Mamata, a royal journalist, told CNN’s recent docuseries, Diana, that Camilla pulled a “Mean Girls” move on Diana before her wedding to Charles on July 29, 1981. “Camilla Parker Bowles left Diana a note saying ‘Such exciting news. Love to see the engagement ring,'” Mamata said. “That’s like a real mafia thug move. That’s so Mean Girls it’s unbelievable…That’s a power move right there.”
According to Jennie Bond, BBC’s royal correspondent, Diana questioned whether her relationship with Charles would ever be “as strong as” his bond with Camilla. “In Diana’s own words, she told me any marriage Prince Charles might have made could never be as strong as the relationship he had with Camilla,” Bond said. “And that’s what she was battling with from the outset.”
Charles and Camilla met in 1970 and dated for a short time until Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy. By the time he returned, Camilla was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles, whom she married in 1971. However, Camilla and Charles remained close, and he was even named a godfather to her son, Tom. Charles and Diana started dating in 1980. Tjhey got engaged in February 1981 and wed that July.
According to Charles’ authorized biography, Prince of Wales, Charles and Camilla started their affair in 1986. The affair became publish in 1992 after biographer Andrew Morton published his book, Diana: Her True Story, which included conversations with Diana. According to the book, Diana confronted Camilla about the affair in 1989.
“I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,” Diana said, according to The Telegraph. “She said to me: ‘You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’ So I said, ‘I want my husband.’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way…and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot.'”
CNN’s docuseries also included tapes between Diana and her speech coach, Peter Settelen, where she revealed that she found out about Camilla and Charles’ affair in 1986 but had suspicions of it long before then. “My father-in-law said to my husband, ‘Uh, if your marriage doesn’t work out you can always go back to her after five years,’ which is exactly, I mean for real I know that it happened after five, I knew something was happening before that,” she said.
After their affair was exposed, both Charles and Camilla divorced their respective spouses. Camilla and Andrew separated in 1995, while Charles and Diana finalized their divorce in 1996, four years after they first separated. Camilla and Charles married in 2005.
For more about Princess Diana, read Andrew Morton’s biography, Diana: Her True Story — In Her Words. The New York Times bestseller, which was first published in 1992, is the only authorized biography about Princess Diana. The book, which Diana collaborated on, includes raw and unfiltered quotes from the Princess of Wales about her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles, her relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, her life in the House of Windsor, and her hopes, dreams and fears for her children, Prince William and Prince Harry, before her death in 1997. The biography, which has been described as the “closest we will ever come” to a Princess Diana autobiography, was republished with new material in 2017 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the People’s Princess’ death.
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