Queen Elizabeth II — you know her, you love her. But to know her doesn’t necessarily mean you love her. Just ask the Duchess of Cornwall. It’s not that surprising that the Queen wasn’t a fan of Prince Charles‘ second wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, but journalist Tom Bower reveals in a new tell-all how the love affair put a strain on Charles’ and his mother’s relationship, and how she really felt about her future daughter-in-law.
Now, keep in mind, Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles is an unauthorized biography, so large grains of salt need to be taken. But the details of a martini-filled evening at Balmoral Castle a year after Princess Diana‘s death are simply too juicy to ignore, especially knowing that the Queen reportedly loves to knock back a few. Really, Charles should’ve known better.
According to the excerpt in the Daily Mail, Charles approached his mother to “soften her antagonism” towards Camilla so they could be more open with their relationship, but it didn’t go well. Obviously.
“On that evening she’d had several martinis, and to Charles’s surprise she replied forcefully: she would not condone his adultery, nor forgive Camilla for not leaving Charles alone to allow his marriage to recover,” read the excerpt. “She vented her anger that he had lied about his relationship with what she called ‘that wicked woman,’ and added: ‘I want nothing to do with her.'”
The Queen clearly viewed Camilla as a “shrewd mistress,” no doubt thanks to those tapes that exposed their affair six years prior to that fateful night.
Charles supposedly fled the room and “tearfully called Camilla,” but he didn’t take it lying down. In fact, he reacted spitefully, inviting Camilla to events and playing around with seating charts. You know, the kind of games royals play. At one fundraising dinner that the Queen didn’t attend, Camilla snuck in at the last minute and sat at Charles’ table. “While Ma’am is away, the mice will play,” he told his guests. Saucy son.
Bower’s book asserts that the feud persisted, even at Charles and Camilla’s 2005 wedding, where Elizabeth refused to speak to Camilla at the wedding or even address her by name during the speech. But, hey, the Queen showed up. She didn’t boycott, didn’t fake a sickie; she attended which — publicly, at least — showed her approval of their union. And as the years have gone by, it seems as though the royal matriarch’s feelings towards Camilla have improved. Behind palace doors, on the other hand, guess we’ll never really know.