Even casual followers of the Royals (and viewers of Netflix‘s The Crown) know about the enmity between Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles.
In perhaps the most well-known moment of her infamous 1995 interview (now notorious for other reasons as well), the late Princess of Wales said of her ex-husband Prince Charles and his love of Camilla:
“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
It was clear then, a few years removed from the divorce, that Diana was all too aware of Charles’ feelings for Camilla. But when did she learn she was competing for her own husband’s affections?
According to royal commentator Julie Montagu, there were concerns even before the wedding. But it sort of solidified into a real “fixation” when Diana had to see the other woman in attendance at her ceremony. Montagu, who is appearing on CNN‘s Diana docuseries over the next few weeks, told Us Weekly:
“I think the fixation was always there in the back of her mind, but of course, I suspect it really started on the wedding day itself. The fixation started on the wedding day because we know that Diana looked out at the enormous congregation with thousands of people… And she saw [Camilla], she looked for her and in one sense, it was looking at her saying, ‘Right, he’s mine. I’ve got him.’”
As it turned out, marriage was not the permanent situation she had expected it to be. She may have had him for a time, but we know too well how short that time — and hers generally — truly was.
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According to Montagu she didn’t just happen to see Camilla either:
“She wanted to make sure that she clocked Camilla in that congregation so that she could feel comforted by the fact that she’s at the vicar and Camilla’s in a pew.”
In that moment, victory was hers… except for the fact she was preoccupied enough that she felt she had to win. In retrospect, since she was made to feel that way on her own wedding day, she kind of already lost — through no fault of her own.
And of course, Camilla didn’t exactly ever fade away from their lives. Montagu reminded:
“Camilla was always in that circle at the same parties from the very, very beginning of their marriage until obviously till the demise of their marriage. So she was always there.”
The American Viscountess host believes even after their separation, Diana was still “absolutely devastated” to learn Charles had been seeing Camilla behind her back:
“She has put her whole life into this marriage, and she’s also given up her whole life for this marriage. She has given up so much, she has done what she has been asked to do, and then to find out that this affair has been going on for years behind her back would have been absolutely heartbreaking, devastating, and traumatizing. I’m sure it would have been devastating for her, but maybe not quite as hard hitting into the guts as knowing that it was Camilla.”
There’s always that one ex, isn’t there? That one you can’t stop worrying about. *sigh* Even princesses have to deal with that one ex.
What do YOU think of Montagu’s take on the relationship between Diana and Camilla? You can hear more on the six-part Diana special, airing Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on CNN.
[Image via Anwar Hussein Collection/WENN/Steve Spiller.]