Were Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles Friends Before They Became Rivals?

How Princess Diana felt about Camilla Parker Bowles when her marriage to Prince Charles started to crumble has been well documented. The Princess of Wales knew Camilla was having an affair with her husband and Diana blamed her for all the hurt and pain she went through while married to the prince.

The People’s Princess spoke about Charles’ infidelity and Camilla being the other woman during a televised interview in 1995 when she said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.”

Left: Princess Diana in Australia in 1996 | Patrick Riviere/Getty Images, Right: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2017

What most people don’t know much about though is the relationship the two women had before they became rivals. Here’s more on exactly how they felt about each other initially and when things started to change.

They were friends initially?

Long before Tampongate and confrontations at parties, the princess and Camilla actually had a good relationship. Camilla’s biographer, Penny Junor, revealed this information in her book titled The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown. 

Charles knew Camilla prior to meeting Diana as they used to date. Junor wrote that when the prince and Diana got together they were frequent guests at Bolehyde Manor where Camilla lived with her husband at the time, Andrew Parker Bowles. Diana, who used to work as a nanny, would often help Camilla look after her two small children, Tom and Laura.

After Charles and Diana announced their engagement, Camilla invited her to lunch and it was during that meeting that the bride-to-be realized something wasn’t right. Diana reportedly believed that Camilla was asking specific questions in order to find out when she could see Charles alone.

Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles

How Diana found out about the affair

Just before her wedding day, Diana discovered that the prince and his former flame were in fact having an affair after she found out that he bought her a piece of jewelry.

“Someone in his office told me that my husband has had a bracelet made for her,” Diana said. “I walked into this man’s office one day and I said, ‘Ooh, what’s in that parcel?’ And he said ‘Oh, you shouldn’t look at that’. So I opened it and there was the bracelet … I was devastated, and I said ‘Well, he’s going to give it to her tonight.”

The bracelet, which Camilla wore often after Diana and the prince got married, was engraved with the letters G and F. The initials stood for Gladys and Fred — the nicknames Charles and Camilla had given one another.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Diana claimed that when she confronted Charles he acted as if it was perfectly fine for him to see another woman because of his royal status. “I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress,” he told her.

The prince and princess divorced in 1996, one year before Diana’s tragic death. In 2005, Charles married Camilla and she received the title the Duchess of Cornwall.

Read more: What Was Camilla Parker Bowles’ Net Worth Before She Married Prince Charles?

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