Although Prince Charles wedded Princess Diana in 1981, he was still pining over his former flame, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall at the time. Prince Charles and Camilla were seeing each other in the 1970s. What drew him to her was that she was quick-witted and she understood him when nobody else did.
Things did not work out for Prince Charles and Camilla at the time because she was not ‘virginal’ and was deemed to be unsuitable for the future king. The royal family got involved and Prince Charles was sent away for navy duties. Eventually, Camilla got hitched with her on-off boyfriend, Andrew Parker Bowles. That did not stop Prince Charles from being in her life. The prince became close to the family, becoming their son’s godfather.
Initially the duchess thought Princess Diana was harmless when Prince Charles started wooing her. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were unhappy in 1986, after five years of marriage and two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. As divorce was not in the cards, the Prince of Wales then began to seek the companionship of the Duchess of Cornwall once more.
Prince Charles tried to keep the affair hidden from Princess Diana. Royal biographer Andrew Morton wrote in his book ‘Diana: Her True Story’ that Prince Charles’ bodyguard would follow the prince to see Camilla, with the chef and butler preparing dinner knowing very well that Prince Charles was having an affair.
The prince’s valet was asked to note the TV listings guide to make it appear that the prince was watching TV at home during the night. When Prince Charles broke his arm during a polo accident, his staff had to track Princess Diana’s journey to the hospital so that Camilla could leave Charles’ room before Princess Diana arrived.
As much as Princess Diana desired a fairytale marriage, it was not going to happen because of the affair. It was only in the late 1980s that both Princess Diana and Camilla had a confrontation and the affair was discussed. Princess Diana had apparently told Camilla that she knew what was going on between her husband and Camilla. The Duchess of Cornwall had then allegedly replied that Princess Diana already has everything she wanted, all the men in the world to fall in love with her and two beautiful children, what more did she want.
Princess Diana was said to have responded that she wanted her husband and that she was well aware of the affair and Camilla should not treat like an idiot.
When Prince Charles started dating Diana in 1980, Camilla in fact encouraged the relationship seeing Diana as non-threatening. It never crossed her mind that she would one day be her nemesis and come between her and Charles.
Author Tina Brown wrote in her book ‘The Diana Chronicles’ that the Duchess of Cornwall encouraged the relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana because she thought Princess Diana was gormless. Prince Charles’ family wanted it and the public wanted it as well. Prince Charles enjoyed confiding in married women and the two women he often confided in were Lady Tyron and Camilla Parker Bowles. They wanted it too. They met Diana and decided that she was not going to give them any problems. As for Prince Charles, he was tired and he proposed.
Author Jessica Jayne wrote in her 2012 book, ‘The Duchess of Cornwall: Camilla’s Story and Secrets’ that Camilla had never felt threatened by Diana and had thought that the princess could be manipulated.