Prince Charles Once ‘Publicly Humiliated’ Princess Diana at an Event With Camilla Parker Bowles Present

Many royal fans know about the story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The couple had a fairytale wedding in 1981, but their marriages famously broke down in the 1990s. Before they officially divorced, however, there was a time when Charles “publicly humiliated” his late wife. This was event where his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, was present.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles talking to each other
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles had a famous affair

One of the reasons Charles and Diana’s marriage broke down was because of his affair with Camilla. Charles and Camilla briefly dated about 10 years before he met Diana. After they went their separate ways and got married to different people, Charles and Camilla still kept in touch. They even had an affair in the late 1980s.

Diana knew early on in their marriage that Charles still had feelings for Camilla. As she candidly shared in press interviews, the affair put a strain on Diana’s relationship with Charles. She even told journalist Martin Bashir in 1995, “There were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.”

How did Prince Charles once ‘publicly humiliated’ Princess Diana?

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By the early 1990s, the world was aware of Charles and Diana’s marriage problems. They got to witness Charles’ close relationship with Camilla in 1993 during an event.

As reported by a Vanity Fair article from that year, “Earlier in the year, the royal family gathered for a reception aboard the royal yacht, H.M.Y. Britannia, moored on the Thames. As they formally departed, Charles spotted Camilla in the watching crowd.”

The outlet went on to describe how Charles went to hug Camilla with Diana nearby: “In front of an astonished throng, he quit the royal parade to go and greet her, complete with warm embrace, leaving Diana stranded amid royal protocol, publicly humiliated.”

Vanity Fair noted that Queen Elizabeth also showed a warm reception to Camilla the year before by embracing her at a horse show.

Princess Diana used the press to her advantage

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Despite these rocky moments, Diana often managed to get the public on her side. 

For example, Vanity Fair recalled a few incidents in which Diana and Charles traveled together but Diana visited a few sites by herself.

The outlet wrote, “On an official visit to Egypt in May, Diana again posed alone for the cameras, this time beside the pyramids. It was her way of reminding the world that Charles, who had traveled out on the same plane, had left her alone to represent Britain while he headed for Turkey on a private visit billed as an archaeological dig.”

Diana also gave interviews to get her side of the story out—something royals were not known to do. She teamed up with biographer Andrew Morton to release the book Diana: Her True Story. And in 1995, she also sat down with BBC’s Panorama for an in-depth televised interview.

This led the public to to greatly sympathized with her. For some time, it also negatively affected the reputations of various royals, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.