FAMILY & PARENTING

Prince William And Prince Harry Have A Riveting Relationship With Camilla: ‘Feel Sorry For Her’

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

Prince William and Kate Middleton were recently seen out and about with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

While the outing was a rarity, it also makes a lot of sense. Prince Charles is William’s father. But his relationship with Camilla is more intriguing.

As you know, Prince William and his brother, Harry, are the children of Princess Diana. Diana was one of the most captivating members of the royal family for some time. But Prince Charles was never happy in the marriage. The two didn’t know each other well prior to the wedding. Known then as Lady Diana Spencer, the wedding — which took place in July 1981 and was broadcast to a wide audience — was touted as being one of the biggest events of the time.

Oprah Magazine reports that Diana once stated, “We met 13 times and we got married.” She was also inexperienced when it came to relationships. There must have been a lot of pressure on her, especially since she was so young. Diana was only 16 when they met, and 18 when things became romantic. “He’d found the virgin, the sacrificial lamb, and in a way he was obsessed with me,” Diana added.

As you know, relationships can’t build when there’s no love there. Diana started getting even more media attention right after Charles proposed, which was reportedly under pressure from his family. She was only 19 when they got married, which was incredibly young.  Diana told the press they were in love, but Charles was more hesitant to discuss his feelings.

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“If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and uninhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalTourAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©️PA

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On June 21, 1982, Prince William was born. Two years later, on September 15, 1984, Prince Harry arrived. In Diana’s biography, she wrote how Charles wanted a girl and almost seemed upset to learn their second child was a boy — a fact that likely made Harry upset when he heard the news. Gender is impossible to predict during a natural birth. Diana also wrote that she knew that Charles was being unfaithful during this time.

The two split, and Prince Charles was seen with his mistress once again — and that would be Camilla. Eventually, Princess Diana would go on to confront the two of them. It happened at a party, and Diana had noticed that Charles and Camilla disappeared together. “I said, ‘Camilla, I’d love to have a word with you, if possible.’ And she got really uncomfortable and put her head down,” Diana recalled in Diana: In Her Own Words.

Camilla told Diana that she had everything she could ever want, and Diana admitted to her that what she actually wanted was her husband. But, she knew she was in the way of his extramarital affair. “I cried like I’ve never cried before,” Diana said, in regards to the tense car ride home. The two officially separated in 1992. Prince Charles admitted his affair, and the two finalized their divorced in 1996. A year later, Diana died in a tragic car accident.

That must have been incredibly rough for both William and Harry. Not only did they publicly have to deal with the fallout of their father’s affair, but they also had to mourn the loss of their mother in public. While Charles did try to give the children some privacy, Camilla was still in the picture. The two never publicly discussed what happened until HBO ran the documentary special Diana, Our Mother in 2017.

“The first time I cried was at the funeral,” Harry revealed, reports The New Yorker. “And probably since then, maybe only once.” With a statement like that — and the fact that it’s possible that Harry and William never got the chance to talk about the tragedy and mourn based on their royal titles — it makes you wonder how much grief they’re hiding. Parental loss is hard, but they had to face so much more.

Both of them were close to Diana. In the documentary, William credited her for “showing what feelings meant, and how important it was to feel.” Harry called her the best mom. However, he admitted that he didn’t willingly look at old photos, or give himself the chance to grieve. Nobody seemed focused on how Diana’s death impacted her two sons. Instead, they were more interested in the paparazzi aspect, and the fact that Charles cheated.

In fact, the affair took much of the blame. Even though Diana was well aware of it, and was being chased by paparazzi before her deadly crash, many wonder what would have happened if Prince Charles was actually in love with her, or if the wedding never happened. When you hear Camilla’s side of the story, you may have more pity towards Charles.

According to Town & Country, he was smitten with Camilla since they met in the 1970s. She was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles at the time. Regardless, she wasn’t considered to be a proper match for the future king. So, the royal family decided to choose a mate for Charles instead — and that was Diana. Camilla and Andrew got married and had two children together — much like Diana and Charles — but, they split in 1995.

Eventually, Camilla and Charles found their way back together. However, as you can imagine, it was a hot topic for the royal family. Camilla wasn’t necessarily the most welcome at first. However, she’s proven that her love for Prince Charles is extraordinary — and, has managed to lay low when need be. The two were married in a civil ceremony, and Queen Elizabeth reportedly accepted their relationship.

At that point, Prince Harry and Prince William had to live with the fact that Camilla would be part of their lives forever. They were 20 and 22 when their father remarried. “Sure enough, privately, their mood was more one of ‘acceptance’ than undiluted joy at the prospect of having Camilla as their stepmother,” wrote Robert Jobson, who wrote the book William’s Princess.

Prince Harry has since opened up about Camilla, years after the wedding took place. “To be honest, she’s always been very close to me and William,” Harry reportedly stated. “She’s not a wicked stepmother. Look at the position she’s coming into. Don’t feel sorry for me and William, feel sorry for her.” His words show a lot of growth.

Camilla seems equally supportive of Harry and Meghan. Even though her response to their move to Canada seemed as if it may have been a little snarky, she reportedly tried giving Meghan advice in 2019. “I think Camilla is genuinely a kind person and while there are many differences between the two of them, they have both been on the receiving end of some very negative press,” royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith said to Vanity Fair.

“The thing Camilla learned was how to cultivate a relationship with the press,” she continued. “I have watched her talk to reporters, be friendly with the photographers and win over the tabloids who had once tried to ruin her.” That said, it’s interesting how so much of our perception is due to how the media spins a story. The fact that Prince Harry and Prince William have both welcomed their father’s happiness is incredible. But just because things wrapped up well for Charles and Camilla, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t spend the time properly mourning their mother. It’s never too late.