Does Prince Charles Regret Not Telling Princess Diana About Camilla Sooner?

As we know, Prince Charles reportedly opted out of being completely honest with Princess Diana about his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. In fact, he waited until after their engagement to lay the full facts on her. Considering their tumultuous relationship and her untimely passing, many wonder if Prince Charles ever began to have regrets about his unbelievably terrible timing.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage

How did Prince Charles hide his affair?

The Prince of Wales relied on his staff to keep the affair with his mistress a secret from his young wife. In the book, Diana: Her True Story, Andrew Morton shines a light on how the Prince had his staff weave a very intricate web of lies.

Charles’ bodyguard was forced to accompany the prince on illicit nighttime visits to see Camilla, while his chef and butler were instructed to cook dinner even though they knew Charles would be out with his lover. Charles’ valet was instructed to mark up the TV listings guide to make it look like the prince had spent the night at home watching television. When Charles broke his arm in a polo accident, his staff was responsible for listening to police radios to track Diana’s journey to the hospital, so they could get Camilla out of Charles’ room before the princess arrived.

While the staff certainly had allegiance to the Prince, it must have been hard for them to sneak around the Princess’ back. This is especially true because Princess Diana had her hunches about the affair. Not to mention, the Princess of Wales had a rather hot temper hidden underneath her beautiful exterior.

Did Princess Diana ever confront Camilla Parker Bowles?

She certainly did. Princess Diana always knew that her “celebrity” hubby wasn’t in love with her, but she pushed forward with the marriage. Despite trying to ignore her inklings, she regularly came across reminders of Bowles throughout their marriage. Eventually, it became too much for her. She went straight to the source in 1981, eight years after her wedding day to breach the sensitive subject.

Princess Diana, being the badass she was, showed up to Bowles sister’s birthday party unannounced. She pulled her aside and dropped this bomb.

“I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.” – Princess Diana

 While being called out must have been shocking, it’s Bowles response that throws the whole situation for a loop. Instead of being humble at the moment, her comeback lacked empathy and sincerity.  

“You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?” – Camilla Parker Bowles

Of course, Diana said she wanted her hubby back, but that wasn’t enough. It took a naughty phone call between the two leaking to the press for Diana to be able to escape her own personal hell. 

Does Prince Charles regret not telling Princess Di about Camilla sooner?

Royal expert Penny Junor came forth to provide her take on the chain of events. Instead of letting Princess Diana know that he and Camilla had a relationship that stretched back to the seventies, he waited until after their engagement to tell her. This resulted in Diana having a rather “awkward” friendship with Bowles. It became especially strained after Prince Charles spilled the beans. After all, Princess Di thought Bowles was just a close friend, not a forlorn lover.

“He had not handled things well. It didn’t occur to him that she needed to know before someone else told her.” – Penny Junor

What would cause the Prince to commit such a huge misstep? According to the royal expert, Prince Charles generally looked at things very objectively, lacked sympathy, and was “outside of his depth.” He simply wouldn’t have been able to understand his new wife’s feelings as he was too wrapped up in his own predicament.

“But you see, I think he feels that different standards apply to him because he wasn’t allowed to marry the love of his life; he had to produce heirs so he had to do this for the nation.”

That being said, it’s very unlikely he has any regrets about his timing. A man who chose to carry a picture of his former flame around or rock cufflinks with her initials while betrothed to another obviously feels that the “rules of love” don’t apply to them.