Do Prince William and Prince Harry Resent Camilla for Hurting Diana?

Though Princess Diana and Prince Charles split up more than 20 years ago, people still like to play the blame game when rehashing the drama. Was it Charles’s fault? Or should Diana get the blame? Or maybe the whole thing was the fault of Camilla Parker Bowles?

Camilla Parker Bowles, after all, is the woman whom Charles fell in love with before he met Diana. And the two of them had an affair even though they were both married to other people. As with the breakdown of any marriage, it’s all pretty complicated, and a lot of feelings got hurt. That probably also applies to Prince William and Prince Harry, who dealt with their parents’ divorce, endured their mother’s tragic death, and have had to get used to the idea of Camilla becoming an official part of the royal family.

But do Prince William and Prince Harry resent Camilla for playing a role in the breakdown of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s marriage? Here’s what we know about this sticky situation.

Prince William decided when he wanted to meet Camilla

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | Tim Rooke – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William and Prince Harry have had a long time to get used to Camilla. As PopSugar reports, Prince Charles intended to introduce his sons to Camilla in 1997, five years after Charles and Diana separated.  But then Diana died, and Charles and Camilla kept their relationship “low-key.” In 1998, Prince William, then just 16 years old, decided that he wanted to meet Camilla. Prince Harry met her a couple of weeks later.

The princes built their relationship with Camilla slowly, with The Daily Mail reporting that it took many years for William, especially, to warm to her. But there have probably been at least a few bumps in the road. One author alleged that Camilla’s presence in the early years after Diana’s death damaged Charles’s relationship with his sons, who saw her as “a constant reminder of their mother’s torment.” And another book even claimed that years later, Camilla wanted Prince William and Kate Middleton to break up.

William and Kate spend more time with the Middletons than with Charles and Camilla

Many couples with young children have found that it’s difficult to balance time between two sets of grandparents. And the royal family seems to have that problem, too. Though the details would be difficult to verify without comment from the royal family, The Express reports that Prince Charles fears that he and Camilla will be isolated from his grandchildren thanks to the time that William and Kate spend with the Middleton family.

People reports that according to a book by Tom Bower, Prince Charles feels jealous of Kate Middleton’s family. Charles reportedly felt “usurped” by the Middletons and “isolated” from his grandchildren by William and Kate’s choice to spend the holidays with her family (and to live miles away from Charles and Camilla). The Daily Beast even reports that there have long been rumors of significant tension between Prince Charles and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The publication even reported that the princes don’t see their father often outside of official engagements, but Clarence House dismissed the claims as “complete fiction.”

Prince Harry has spoken highly of Camilla

Camilla and Charles wedding

Camilla and Charles’ wedding photo | Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty Images

By the time Prince Charles married Camilla in 2005, his sons had a much warmer relationship with her. As the BBC reports, a 21-year-old Prince Harry explained that Camilla is “a wonderful woman, and she’s made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing.” He added, “William and I love her to bits. To be honest with you, she’s always been very close to me and William. . . but no, she’s not the wicked stepmother. I’ll say that right now.”

As Fox News reports, biographer Angela Levin notes that when Charles decided to marry Camilla, “Harry accepted that Camilla had been in his father’s life for a very long time and had grown to like her.” Levin added, “Since he was a small child he has been able to see things from other people’s points of view.” She revealed that when Princess Diana told Harry that she and Charles were splitting up, the young prince said, “I hope you’ll both be happier now.”

Ultimately, the divorce wasn’t Camilla’s fault

Newsweek reports that even before Charles and Diana married, they fought about Charles’s relationship with longtime “friend” Camilla Parker Bowles. And by the time their marriage ran into trouble, Charles “had returned to Camilla,” and Diana had struck up an affair of her own with James Hewitt. But the ensuing divorce wasn’t Camilla’s fault.

While Diana famously said that there were three people in her marriage, Charles and Diana were still a poor match for each other. Camilla’s willingness to get involved with Charles complicated things. But it ultimately seems a little sexist to blame her for the split. After all, James Hewitt doesn’t get blamed for breaking up the royal marriage. He just ends up at the center of persistent rumors about Prince Harry’s paternity. How’s that for fair?

Read more: Is Prince Charles Jealous of Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton?

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