A revealing book on the royal family focused on one particularly popular relationship: Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, with their (step)son, Prince William, and his wife Kate Middleton. Charles, who is heir-apparent to the British throne, allegedly feels threatened by his son’s presence — in more ways than one.
We discovered the secrets behind the royal couples’ war, as well as some interesting facts about Tom Bower, the man behind the unauthorized book (page 14).
And how does Kate factor into this — what is she truly like? Are Camilla and Charles isolated from her children (page 9)?
Charles believes Diana ‘poisoned’ the boys’ minds
Bower claimed that Princes William and Harry would go to great lengths to avoid Camilla early own, even entering the house “through the servants’ quarters” in order to avoid her and their father. Bower called Charles’ relationship with the boys strained during the divorce. He also reported that Charles believed “Diana had poisoned the boys’ minds towards their father.”
He wrote that Camilla’s presence was a “constant reminder of their mother’s torment” as well as Diana’s struggles with mental illness and adulterous behavior on both her and Charles’ part.
How does Kate deal with this “contest”? It’s all in her attitude.
Next: This is what Kate’s friends say she’s truly like — and it’s what keeps her going
Kate’s calm attitude helps her deal with any animosity.
Multiple friends of Middleton have all come to the same conclusion: In a high-pressure situation, the duchess keeps her cool. “She’s very measured, very controlled,” Richard Dennen, a magazine editor and friend of Middleton’s, told CNN. He recalled a nightclub that the duchess used to go to, Boujis, where she would frequently check her hair and makeup in the bathroom before facing the photographers outside.
School friend Jules Knight had a similar anecdote about her long-time friend. “I haven’t seen her lose her temper with a photographer or lash out. In a way she’s the perfect consort for Prince William because she’s not a risky choice: she’s smart and she’s level-headed and she’s well behaved.”
Next: Does the duchess take risks?
She plays it safe
Playing it safe could be part of what keeps Kate grounded amidst this family trouble.
Large hats aside, Middleton’s friends find that the duchess plays it safe in fashion and friendship alike. “She specifically doesn’t want to be a fashion icon,” Dennen told CNN. “I think she’s probably concerned with looking absurd.”
The royal family wants to be known for its hard work rather than an eccentric style. Royals also pick and choose their confidants with a careful hand, according to Dennen. “I think they’re extremely careful about the people they hang out with. They really trust their friends. I would say they don’t actually have that many friends … understandably.”
Next: Just how relatable is she?
She’s down to earth
The royal couple’s normalcy has made them a lovable, inspirational team. Multiple friends of Middleton’s call her, among other compliments, simply “normal.” This normalcy means less drama.
John Haley, the owner of a pub near Bucklebury, where Middleton grew up, has known Kate and her family for years. “To the people in this village they’re just a normal couple who come in here and are liked and loved by loads of people,” he told CNN.
Next: Her sister had this to say.
She’s very close with her sister
Kate’s rise to royalty put a spotlight on her sister, Pippa Middleton, as well. On The Today Show, Pippa told host Matt Lauer, “We’re very close. … We spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family. And I think that’s really the heart for all of us is having a really close family that we can sort of be normal with each other, treat each other normally. And that’s sort of kept us all, you know, affixed to the ground.”
Kate and Pippa lived in Chelsea during Kate and William’s short-lived 2007 split. According to a biography about Kate, the sisters were very close. “The two girls would have spray tans and blow-dries together, and decide which social events to attend,” read an excerpt of the biography in Parade.
Next: She had this surprising connection to Prince William.
As a kid, she hung a picture of Prince William on her wall
According to Middleton’s childhood friend Jessica Hay, her marriage to Prince William was a long time coming. Vogue reports in the book William & Catherine: Their Story, Hay described Middleton’s crush on the prince. “We would sit around talking about all the boys at school we fancied, but Catherine would always say: ‘I don’t like any of them,’ and then joke, ‘There’s no one quite like Prince William.'”
According to Vogue, Kate hung a picture of William on her bedroom wall growing up. But unlike the other plethora of girls to do so, Middleton won the heart of the prince in the end.
Next: Was she a straight-A student?
She was a dedicated student
School friend Jules Knight remembers Middleton as an extremely dedicated student, according to CNN. She met her early on at St. Andrews University. “She studied Art History and she was a clever girl. … She was a hard worker and committed and she obviously really applied herself to the academic side of university.”
Malcolm Sotherland, an expedition leader on Middleton’s 10-week trip to Chile during her gap year, had similar praise. “She wasn’t lazy, she was a hard worker and got on well with everyone no matter where they were from,” he told CNN. Sotherland also said Middleton was a very mature girl for her age. “She knew what she was about, she knew how to look after herself.”
Next: She was brains and brawn.
She was an athlete
Both Kate and Pippa played on the field hockey team at their boarding school. Kate also ran cross country, swam, and played tennis while in school.
Kate is still athletic, reportedly swimming, running, and doing yoga in her free time. Middleton has been photographed training with the Sisterhood Cross Channel rowing team and rowed until it became a concern due to paparazzi. She and Prince William frequent the ski slopes, as well.
Camilla and Philip feel isolated from Will and Kate’s kids
Charles and Camilla reportedly feel that Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, get significantly more time with the grandchildren than they do. Tom Bower, a British investigative journalist, claimed that Prince Charles felt “usurped” by the Middletons and “isolated” from his grandchildren.
Will and Kate chose to spend Christmas with the Middletons in Bucklebury rather than with the other royals at Sandringham in Norfolk. A royal insider told PEOPLE that Charles was more receptive than he was bitter. “He is pragmatic about it … He is accepting that a daughter gravitates toward her own family.”
Next: Kate and Will are always in the news.
Charles believes the media attention centers on Kate and Will
Charles reportedly became worried after an isolated incident (next) that Will and Kate were becoming much more popular than he and Camilla. “Charles saw Kate and William as the new stars and feared he’d be in trouble,” the chief executive of Charles’ charity foundation in America told Tom Bower.
Camilla didn’t share the same fear, it seems. The public began to debate Kate becoming the first ‘commoner queen,’ to which Camilla corrected them, “That’ll be me.”
Next: The couple took this as a major snub.
William and Kate were invited to tour the Canadian government before Charles and Camilla
The biography reported Charles’ great fear came true when the Canadian government asked that he and Camilla postpone their tour of the country so that William and Kate could visit instead. He was reportedly left “disappointed” and became increasingly worried about where the public’s attention lay.
Kate, Will, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte visited Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September 2016. Charles may have found it disconcerting, however, Kate and Will’s spokesman called it the “perfect opportunity” to show their children the major Commonwealth realm before they had to start school.
Charles had others ‘snub’ Kate’s mother
After the Christmas debacle, Prince Charles reportedly felt hurt about how much time his grandchildren spent with the Middletons. Courtiers who remained loyal to the prince reportedly began to “snub” Carole Middleton during family events. An “infuriated” William sought advice from the queen.
Queen Elizabeth responded by allegedly hiring cameramen to film her and Carole Middleton driving around Balmoral estate together to appease William.
Next: Here’s how Charles attempted to make amends.
Prince Charles tried to work on his relationship with Kate
The book makes one claim that gives Charles’ fans hope: he reportedly tried to bond with Kate Middleton. He invited her to her first opera in the Royal Box at Covent Garden, however, the seats weren’t enough to strengthen his relationship with his daughter-in-law.
According to Bower, the night was an utter failure. Charles had hoped to show Kate why he loves classical music, but the production they saw was “awful.” The Telegraph reported otherwise in 2011: “The Prince is a firm supporter of the Opera House and the Duchess also seems to hugely enjoy her visits to Covent Garden. Both have been very enthusiastic about the productions they have seen together, “a Royal Opera House source said.
Next: Something crucial to note about the new book.
The book is an unauthorized biography
Tom Bower’s unauthorized biography on Charles and its claims are reminiscent of Michael Wolff’s alleged “tell-all” about Donald Trump and his administration. While the claims may be rooted in fact, the book certainly doesn’t have the royal family’s seal of approval.
Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles compile interviews with 120 sources about Prince Charles’ long wait to ascend the throne. “He’s a pampered, petulant prince and a man who, while he wants to do good and does do good, does not realize that he’s actually doing some harm as well,” Bower told HuffPost UK. The author is facing “multi-pound lawsuits” over other books he’s published.
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