She’s been by Prince Charles’ side for more than 15 years as his wife, and last week the Duchess of Cornwall was granted official approval by the Queen, who announced she’d become Queen Camilla when her husband is crowned King.
In a public statement celebrating her Platinum Jubilee to mark 70 years as monarch, the Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that the Duchess of Cornwall, 74, will be Queen Consort, rather than Princess Consort, as was initially decided when she married Charles, 73, in 2005.
The announcement divided public opinion, but the overwhelming response seemed to be approval. A poll published last week revealed that Camilla’s popularity had significantly increased in recent years, while Prince Harry, Meghan and Prince Andrew – who is facing a civil trial in America over sex-assault charges that he fiercely denies – had seen their likeability drop.
But some expressed anger and outrage at the decision, expressing disbelief that Camilla had gone from “mistress to Queen-in-waiting”, in reference to the reported affair she had with Prince Charles while he was still married to the late Princess Diana.
In her infamous Martin Bashir interview in 1997, Diana sparked shockwaves when she revealed, “There were three of us in the marriage” in reference to Camilla. Out of respect, when she married Charles, Camilla did not take the Princess of Wales title, but instead became the Duchess of Cornwall.
While royal sources have said that Prince William, 39, and wife Kate, 40, “approve” of his grandmother’s decision to make Camilla Queen, over in America, Prince Harry and Meghan tellingly remained silent. In an interview last week about continuing his mum’s AIDS charity work, fans noticed he didn’t mention the news about Camilla.
And Princess Diana’s “rock” and former butler Paul Burrell, who worked for the royal household for 11 years, says he doesn’t doubt that Prince Harry will be seething.
Paul, 62, tells Closer, “It’ll be like a red rag to a bull for Harry – he’ll be angry. While I don’t think he has disdain for Camilla as a person, I think it’ll rile him and he’ll feel betrayed that she’ll now be Queen when that should have been his mother. He’ll be livid.
“Even though he and Meghan met the news with silence, I think he’ll really have something to say about this and it’ll rehash a lot of childhood trauma.”
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Paul worked for Princess Diana from 1987 until her death in 1997, witnessing the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, as Camilla entered the fold.
He says, “My initial encounters with Camilla were difficult for me. The first few times I met her, Diana would be leaving Highgrove Gardens [Charles’ Gloucestershire residence] on a Sunday night to take the boys back to London for school on Monday, and the minute she left, Camilla would come in the back door. That was my first impression and, of course, that didn’t sit well with me.
“I admit I wasn’t happy when I heard she’d be Queen Consort. The real Queen was Diana, and it always will be, and I think there should have been respect paid to her. But saying that, Camilla is pleasant, chatty, friendly and a great support to Charles, and I think she’ll make a great Queen for him.”
Last year, Harry signed a multi-million pound deal with publishers to release a tell-all memoir which will “tell his truth”, due to be out later this year.
Closer had previously reported how Paul believed Harry wouldn’t hold back about the divorce scandal in his memoir. He said, “He’ll no doubt go in depth about his feelings after his mother’s death, and the subsequent events. After the reports she was involved in his parents’ marriage and then stepped into Diana’s shoes as Charles’ wife, I suspect Camilla will be in his sights, so I’d say Harry’s set to reveal any Camilla secrets. He’s already said he enjoys The Crown, which painted Camilla as the ‘wicked stepmother’ in a way. Charles will be livid if he does go there.”
Now Paul adds, “I think this recent news will have rehashed old feelings and brought back unhappy memories and childhood trauma. And it’s likely that it’ll be in his book. I really think Harry will tell the world what he thinks and feels about Camilla, and the divorce scandal, as that hit him extremely hard. It’s a huge deal he signed, so he’ll have to deliver the goods and give as much personal detail as possible. I’m sure we’ll have TV interviews from Harry and Meghan, and more bombshells, teasers and titbits leaked into the press in the build-up to the book’s release, too.”
He adds, “Of course, Meghan will support him through it. She knows PR and she knows Hollywood and she knows how it works and what people want. She, like Harry, has also had parents who went through a messy divorce, so knows how it feels and I’m sure it’s something they can both relate to.”
Meghan’s biographer Andrew Morton wrote in his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess that Camilla had actually been a support to Meghan, 40, when she began dating Harry, 37, and came into the royal fold, saying that the divorcees had bonded over “a love of sustainable organic food, classical music, architecture, fine wine and yoga.”
But bridges were reportedly burned when Harry and Meghan hit out at the whole royal family last March during an interview with US TV host Oprah Winfrey, where they accused a member of the royal family of making racist remarks about the colour of their unborn baby’s skin. They also claimed they were refused help when they reached out about Meghan’s suicidal thoughts.
In a podcast interview later on, Harry criticised his father’s parenting, saying that he’d passed on a “cycle” of “genetic pain and suffering” to him.
While Harry and Meghan have never directly taken shots at Camilla, reports claimed she’d “never forgive Meghan for what she did to the Prince of Wales”.
Paul says, “While I know that Charles and Camilla are both strong Christians – and that Harry will always be Charles’ son and Camilla’s stepson – I don’t think they will be welcoming Harry and Meghan back with open arms when they become King and Queen.
“Privately, they would probably forgive and forget,
and would prioritise their family bond. But publicly, they won’t accept Harry and Meghan back into the royal fold. Charles and Camilla’s focus will be on William and Kate, and their children, and rightly so. William and Kate are the future of the monarchy. The best Harry and Meghan can do now is just to live their lives; this is not their world any more.”