Camilla Parker Bowles: Deceiving Diana cover

Camilla Parker Bowles: Deceiving Diana

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This is the second article in a series of three on the life of Camilla Parker Bowles. To begin with the first, please click here
They looked like best friends sharing a joke as they huddled against the wind at Ludlow racecourse close to England’s border with Wales.
For Lady Diana Spencer, it was an opportunity to spend some quality time with the royal insider who had championed her match with Prince Charles.
But Camilla Parker-Bowles had a very different agenda – she was lulling the naïve, young future princess into a false sense of security.
As history has borne out, Camilla and Charles never really had any intention of allowing Diana to live happily ever after with her dream prince.


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Camilla Parker Bowles: Deceiving Diana

Not A Fairytale

THEY looked like best friends sharing a joke as they huddled against the wind at Ludlow racecourse close to England’s border with Wales.

For Lady Diana Spencer, it was an opportunity to spend some quality time with the royal insider who had championed her match with Prince Charles.

But Camilla Parker-Bowles had a very different agenda – she was lulling the naïve, young future princess into a false sense of security.

As history has borne out, Camilla and Charles never really had any intention of allowing Diana to live happily ever after with her dream prince.

At The Races

The Sun

At The Races

Even as Diana and Camilla chatted happily while they watched Charles compete in the Amateur Riders Handicap at Ludlow in 1980, the young bride-to-be was being used as an unwitting pawn in a princely game of infidelity that was as old as the Royal Family itself.

Crowded

Much later, Diana would famously say, “There were three of us in the marriage – it was rather crowded.”

Back then though, the 19-year-old Kindergarten teacher was as caught up in the possibilities of the union as the rest of the world.

Diana was from good aristocratic stock, she was pretty, she appeared to worship Charles and she was a virgin. Most importantly to Camilla, she was young and innocent enough to be manipulated.

Or so she thought.

Charles had already dated a string of likely beauties including Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, and Scottish heiress Anna Wallace, who got wise to his relationship with Camilla and fled.

Two Reasons

Prince Philip, always quick to criticize his eldest son, was putting the pressure on him to find a bride.

The Duke of Edinburgh supposedly told the hesitant prince, “You’re in this world for two reasons. One, to be King of England. Two, to produce the next King of England. The first thing won’t go away, and you’re not making very much progress on the second.”

When the prince’s mentor Lord Mountbatten was killed in an IRA explosion off the west coast of Ireland on August 27, 1979, a devastated Charles turned inevitably to Camilla for comfort.

According to biographer Caroline Graham, he broke down and begged Camilla to leave Andrew and marry him.

Camilla: Her True Story

Camilla: Her True Story

In her book, ‘Camilla” Her True Story’, Graham writes that Camilla gently turned him down saying the ensuing scandal would wreck his chances of being king – but she promised to be there for him. Always.

It was armed with this understanding that Charles plunged into the relationship with Diana the following year.

Everyone Knew

Everyone was in on it.

The Queen knew Charles was still seeing Camilla, as did the Duke. Some commentators even suggested her own father was aware of Charles’ “arrangement” with Camilla.

The only one left out of the loop was Diana, who genuinely loved Charles.

The prince’s biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby wrote that there was a general agreement that Diana “was young enough to be molded to the role of wife and mother according to the special needs of the institution.”

At that early stage, Diana had no reason to suspect the older much plainer married woman would ever be a rival.

Bolehyde Manor

Image by David Cornfoot, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bolehyde Manor

But Camilla’s deep involvement in the “vetting” process did become alarmingly clear to Diana even before she got engaged.

The setting for the February 1981 proposal was telling enough. It was in the gardens of Camilla’s Bolehyde Manor home.

First To Know

Diana later described an extraordinary encounter with Camilla to her heart surgeon lover Hasnat Khan, who told Britain’s Mail on Sunday:

“Camilla came up to her and said, ‘Charles is going to propose to you.’

“She told Diana before Charles proposed to her. Afterwards, Diana thought, ‘Why did this woman know before me?’ Obviously they were confiding.

“This is 100 per cent what Diana told me. She thought it was very odd. I would be very surprised if I was going to marry someone and my fiance’s ex-boyfriend came to me and said that,” he added.

The Blond On The Train

“Diana had every reason to believe that Charles and Camilla never stopped seeing each other.

There was no doubt about it in her mind at all.”

If she had her suspicions back then, she pushed them to the back of her mind and accepted the prince’s proposal, but as the July 29 1981 wedding loomed, it became harder and harder for her to ignore what was happening behind her back.

In November 1980, a British newspaper, the Sunday Mirror, reported that Diana spent several hours with Charles in a secret tryst on the royal train as it stood in a siding. The story was swiftly and strongly denied, but there was only one fact wrong with the story – the blonde on the train was Camilla and not Diana.

Fariytales

Then Diana found a bracelet inscribed with “GF” – reportedly for Girl Friday, one of Charles nicknames for Camilla – that he was planning to give as a farewell gift.

If Diana had known, as has since been alleged, that Charles slept with Camilla at Buckingham Palace in the week before the wedding, she would almost certainly have called the whole thing off right then.

But in one regard, at least, Camilla was right about Diana. She was a romantic. She believed the fairytale.

Royal Wedding Of The Century

Fair Use

Royal Wedding Of The Century

So she went through with the ‘Royal Wedding of the Century” even though she later admitted the sight of Camilla sitting in the sixth row at St Paul’s Cathedral was like a dagger through her heart.

It wouldn’t be long before the pomp and ceremony of the occasion died away to leave Diana with the stark realization that she would never be the great love of her husband’s life. He already had one in Camilla.

The Prince’s Heart

At dinner on the royal yacht Britannia on the honeymoon, Diana saw with dread that the cufflinks Charles was wearing were a gift from Camilla.

There was no escaping her, not even there.

With Camilla, Charles was attentive and alive, full of fun and opinion.

With Diana, he was dispirited, diverted and dull.

The deception that the two women could somehow be friends had been exposed as a cruel and heartless ruse.

But there was only ever going to be one winner in the battle for the prince’s heart.

And it wasn’t going to be Diana.