People seem to wonder if Camilla had the nerve to attend Princess Diana's funeral, but beyond the answer, these were hard times for her as well.
The death of Princess Diana shocked the entire world, but we rarely think about how those close to or involved with her life experienced the devastating news. It’s often believed that the only reason Charles and Camilla finally ended up together and married was because of Diana’s death. And for that reason, curious people always wonder how Camilla experienced the tragedy.
The truth is, Camilla has always felt sorry for the role she played in this love triangle, and despite what many could think, the death of Diana was also shocking news for the now Duchess of Cornwall. After learning about the terrible car crash in the middle of the night, Charles immediately phoned Camilla, who became his support during these difficult times.
Although Camilla was always Charles’ true love, Diana had been his wife and the mother of his children, so learning about her passing devastated him. Besides that, he was well aware of how the people thought about him and Camilla, and he knew he was going to be blamed for Diana’s tragic ending even when he was not responsible for the accident. At the end of the day, his cheating put Diana on the verge and really hurt her deeply.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles got divorced in 1996. Almost immediately after the divorce, Charles and Camilla started seeing each other again; Camilla had also just divorced Andrew Parker Bowles, so both were free to be together. Knowing that their relationship would be controversial and harm his image as heir to the throne, both decided to keep their affair a secret for a while; still, they started making plans to make their relationship official.
Charles was so determined to be with Camilla that a couple of months before the tragic accident, he had spoken to William and Harry to let them know about his relationship. The young princes weren’t happy with his father’s news, and it took them a while to accept Camilla as their stepmother. This also made Charles and Camilla decide to remain secretive about their relationship for a bit longer. However, the tragedy of Diana’s passing only made things more complicated for them.
Although Camilla knew Charles needed her near during these difficult times, she also knew that being seen near him would only make things worse for Charles, his sons, and the entire royal family, who weren’t going through a good moment either. The people were angry at the Queen for taking so long to give a message about Diana, and approving Charles' relationship with Camilla would’ve put the monarchy in a severe crisis.
Charles wanted Camilla to attend the funeral, but obviously, it was a terrible idea. The Crown forbade her attendance, and she naturally accepted their decision. She remained secluded at her home for eight months, being Charles’ rock through the phone. Even if Camilla wasn’t seen around, the media and the people were eager to bring back every single aspect of Charles and Diana’s failed marriage, and naturally, their wrath was directed at her.
Seeing the people’s reactions and the decrease in Charle’s approval, it’s said that he was faced with the conundrum of giving up to a formal relationship with Camilla or giving up his right to the Crown as his great-uncle had done so going after Wallis Simpson and abdicating. Before taking any rushed decision, Charles and Camilla decided to stop seeing each other for a while, at least until the mourning for Diana had passed.
As for Camilla, she spent almost the entire year secluded at her home. In the upcoming months, Charles gradually resumed his relationship and even introduced Camilla to William and Harry. The Queen didn’t approve of the relationship until years later.
Still, even after they announced their engagement in 2005, both Camilla and Charles decided to step back from any official homage to Diana to avoid diverting the attention with their dark past. At the end of the day, Camilla and Charles managed to be together as they always wanted, but the hatred Camilla endured, especially after Diana’s death, is something that’s not spoken about enough.
Photos: Flickr: broady / hapre / Joe Haupt