'He Wanted a Wife By His Side': How Charles & Camilla Went Public With Their Passionate Love Affair After Princess Diana Tragically Died
Charles and Camilla were secretly seeing each other while he was married.
The death of Princess Diana changed everything. That tragic crash in a Paris tunnel on a summer night in 1997 instantly opened Charles’ mind — if not Camilla’s — to the possibility they could be seen in public together and she could even become his wife.
“It was the only thing he could think about,” says a former courtier. “Even while the British nation was still struggling to overcome its feelings of loss, Charles was already at work, plotting and planning. To be honest, I don’t think Camilla knew anything about it at the start. But after a lifetime of walking in the shadow of his mother the Queen, and keeping his wits about him, Charles knew how the British establishment worked.”
“He knew that with a mixture of flattery, charm, stubbornness, and bullying he would get what he wanted,” the courtier added. “And he wanted Camilla as his wife for a variety of reasons. First, he loved her with a consuming passion. The fact that their love affair was forced to remain secret for decades made his feelings towards her that much more intense. Second, he’s a man who is all too aware of his own status. He pictured the moment when he would be crowned King. He wanted a wife by his side — not some mistress hiding upstairs in the gallery.
“And last, he wanted to vanquish the critics who, for years, had been sniping at Camilla — for her looks, for her morals, for her drinking.”
Still, Charles and Camilla went to massive lengths to avoid being photographed together after Diana died. British newspapers offered $2 million for the first photo of the lovers together.
Eventually, in 1999, as the hatred towards Camilla faded somewhat, the couple was photographed together at a carefully orchestrated event as they left a birthday party at London’s Ritz Hotel. That August they were photographed again on a romantic holiday to the Mediterranean and soon after that Charles and Camilla began to attend public engagements as a couple.
Prince Charles paid for Camilla’s jewels and designer wardrobe plus the decoration of her two-room quarters in his own official residence, Clarence House, by designer Robert Kime. By 2005 Camilla and Charles were inseparable and the public — as well as the Queen — accepted the inevitability of their relationship.