We spent years knowing him as the Prince of Wales, but Charles now goes by the title of King Charles III of England—and his scandalous and tragic past rivals the messiest monarchs in Britain’s long history. From his quietly bitter childhood to the disturbing details about his time with Princess Diana, Charles has spent his life suppressing his most damning royal secrets. Unfortunately, the truth always comes out.
He may have been born into a fairy tale, but Charles's childhood was incredibly lonely—and even now, as he takes his place as king, few know just how tragic it really was behind closed doors. When he was only three years old, his mother went from princess to Queen Elizabeth II. No one thought Charles was good enough to follow in her footsteps.
Even at this young age, people criticized him for being too sensitive, too sickly, and too prone to crying. But that wasn’t the most awful part.
According to royal insiders, Charles’s chief critics were his own parents, with Elizabeth worrying he was a “slow developer”. On top of that, he had to deal with his father Prince Philip—a strapping, athletic man—acting particularly cold, since Charles looked unlikely to be any good at sports. But instead of simply accepting Charles as he was, Philip came up with a ghastly plan.
Like many traditionalists before him, Prince Philip thought Charles just needed a jolt to make him man up. Accordingly, when the boy was eight, Philip sent Charles to the infamously harsh boarding school Gordonstoun. It was more terrible than Charles could have imagined. He later called it “Colditz in kilts,” referring to the notoriously forbidding German castle used as a POW camp in WWII.
And when details of Charles’s time at Gordonstoun came out, they were downright chilling.
While Charles tried to grow a backbone at the school, his fellow classmates had other plans. Sniffing out his weaknesses, the other boys actively bullied him, either by just plain ignoring him or by physically attacking him. And that wasn't all. If anyone so much as showed a shred of kindness to the Prince of Wales, the other boys would make bizarre “slurping” noises at these allies to discourage them.
As Charles reached young adulthood, however, he underwent a scandalous rebirth.
The boys may have given him a hard time, but by the time Charles hit the prestigious Cambridge University, the girls knew that they had an opportunity on their hands. Soon enough Prince Charles was going on date after date with eligible bachelorettes. And his scandalous activities were no secret. His own great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, happily admitted to the press, Charles was “popping in and out of bed with girls”.
Um, I regret to inform you that it gets a whole lot grosser than that.
Lord Mountbatten acted as a father figure to Charles, but their relationship had a dark side. For one thing, Mountbatten seemed creepily focused on Charles’s virility, encouraging the prince to “have as many affairs as he can" and even providing Charles with one of his homes for discreet hookups. Ew. And that wasn’t even his most disgusting advice.
Lord Mountbatten seemed to be all for free love, yet when it came to marrying, he took a completely different tack. Case in point: He urged Charles to choose an uber-young bride “before she has met anyone else”. In his infinite wisdom, Charles’s mentor believed “It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage”. In other words, Mountbatten was insisting that Charles choose a naïve virgin. Again: Ew.
Within years, those words would prove infamous—but in the meantime, Charles got into bigger trouble.
In 1971, when he was just 23 years old, Charles had a fateful meeting. While visiting the home of a friend, Charles was introduced to Camilla Shand, the respectable upper-class daughter of an Army Major. Camilla, who had grown up with eminently British aristocratic hobbies like horse-riding and dog-rearing, immediately hit it off with Charles. Still, there was an unsettling detail about their meet-cute.
Although Charles and Camilla had run in the same circles, they had never formally met one another before—however, they did have a strange connection. At the time of their meeting, Camilla’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles had recently broken up with her…and started to date Charles’s sister Princess Anne. Well, it was about to get a whole lot more incestuous.
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Within weeks or months, Charles was keeping a dirty little secret. He and Camilla were seeing each other on the down-low from the press, though everyone in their immediate social circle was aware of the dalliance. And while it started out as good fun, especially since Andrew Parker Bowles was never far out of Camilla’s picture, it finished quite differently.
Before long, it was obvious to anyone who knew Charles that he was in deep with Camilla. Charles didn’t even try to hide the fact. He met Camilla’s family at her childhood home and even convinced some members of his own family to meet her. But nothing good can last forever...and in Charles’s case, it ended with a bang.
Camilla was everything Charles wanted in a woman: Easy to talk to, interested in intellectual pursuits, and familiar with his aristocratic world. But she had one fatal flaw. Slightly older than Charles, Camilla was also, er, “experienced” in romantic pursuits. And remember what Lord Mountbatten had said about "experienced" women?
This made her singularly unsuitable. So what was the royal family to do but...ruin everything?
Charles left for the Royal Navy and broke things off with Camilla at the behest of his family. He immediately regretted it. Before the year was up, Charles received absolutely crushing news. While he’d been away, Camilla had seemingly gotten busy, and The Times published her engagement announcement to Andrew Parker Bowles.
All of society was atwitter about this abrupt betrayal, and Prince Charles was likely steaming. Yet there was even more to this story than met the eye.
Charles was certainly betrayed—but not by Camilla. According to someone within her inner circle, the announcement had come from Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles's parents, who put it in the paper without their knowledge. They wanted to push the on/off relationship along.
It worked a little too well: Once it came out in high society, Andrew was all but forced to propose and Camilla was forced to accept. And that’s not all.
For decades, there have been rumblings about what exactly went down in 1973 when Camilla was seemingly ripped from Charles’s grasp. But some of the clues are jaw-dropping. While some think Camilla was just choosing the easy way out to get back with Parker Bowles, some believe that Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother already knew who she wanted Charles to marry...and it wasn't Camilla. She had a family all picked out—and she didn't really care which girl he picked from among them.
Whether it's true or not that she meddled, what happened next certainly was telling.
After this disastrous love affair, Charles met Diana Spencer…but it wasn’t love at first sight, not by a long shot. In fact, the 29-year-old prince was still working in his womanizing ways, and he actually met the 16-year-old Diana while he was dating her older sister, Lady Sarah. While he probably took very little notice of Diana then, that would all change soon enough.
In the summer of 1979, the worst event of Charles’s young life occurred. That year, his beloved great-uncle Lord Mountbatten died after the IRA set off a bomb on his boat while he was sailing in Ireland. Suddenly, Charles's whole world fell apart. In his grief, he made one incredibly bad decision that would go on to affect the rest of his life.
In the summer of 1980, Diana was just a smidgen older, and she and Charles found themselves at the same weekend retreat in the country. Prince Charles was still grief-stricken over Lord Mountbatten, a fact that Diana—ever sensitive and people-pleasing—noticed and tried to comfort him about. Apparently, this was all Charles needed to start considering her as a bride. Yet this was no fairy tale.
As Charles began to show more interest in Diana and take her out on the town, he was hiding a disturbing secret. According to his own cousin, Charles felt almost nothing for the young girl. As his biographer Jonathan Dimbleby put it, Charles came to the matrimonial decision “without any apparent surge in feeling”. So when he finally did take that step, it was for chilling reasons.
As the press caught on to Charles’s interest in Diana, his father Prince Philip began pushing him to seal the deal with the Spencer daughter. Otherwise, people might start to question Diana’s pure reputation. This, coupled with Mountbatten’s advice to choose a virginal girl, finally tipped the scales, and Charles made up his mind to propose. Is it any wonder they were doomed?
In early February of 1981, Charles proposed to Diana in the nursery at Windsor Castle, and she accepted. There were warning signs right from the start. Looking back on this time in her life, Diana later admitted that when she said yes to becoming the next Queen Consort of England, she had only met Prince Charles a bare 13 times. What an unlucky number it turned out to be.
Today, despite all the tragedy and pain that came after, Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding is still the golden standard for what a fairy-tale wedding should be. With her lace and taffeta dress and her enormous 25-foot train trailing behind her as she walked down the aisle at St. Paul’s cathedral, Diana looked every inch the princess she was becoming. Yet few know that even this early on, disaster had already struck.
Right before marrying her prince, Diana made a horrific discovery about Charles. Just days before the wedding, she found a bracelet in Charles’s belongings—a bracelet that wasn’t hers. When she realized who the piece of jewelry did belong to, her stomach must have sickeningly dropped: It was Camilla’s. Diana’s response was utterly heartbreaking.
Diana was sure that Charles wasn’t in love with her at all, and (rightly) suspected he was still mooning over Camilla. She later revealed that she was ready to call it quits right then and there. Yet in a horrible twist of fate, Diana's own sisters convinced her to calm down and get over it, presumably because it’s not every day you get to be a princess.
In the meantime, however, Charles was going through his own nightmare.
On the very eve of his wedding, Prince Charles had a total breakdown. He burst into tears, and his case of cold feet turned into sheer terror. He realized he was making a mistake marrying a woman so much younger than him who he didn’t even care about. Sadly, family and duty won out again, with Charles writing in a letter that he would go through with it because it was “the right thing for this Country and for my family”.
Unfortunately, before the honeymoon was over, the situation had turned into a catastrophe.
For their honeymoon, Prince Charles and his new wife visited far-flung parts on the royal yacht Britannia, then wound down at the family home in Balmoral with the rest of the members of the royal brood. Throughout this time, they had arranged a series of photo ops to show off how happy they were…but behind closed doors, things had simply gone from bad to worse.
While staying at Balmoral, Charles accidentally revealed two devastating truths to Diana. First, one day while he was handling his private diary, photos of Camilla Parker Bowles fell out of the pages. Then, sometime during the festivities, Diana found out that Charles had also taken to wearing cufflinks that Camilla had gifted him.
It was another hard hit to their intimacy, and they needed a Hail Mary to save it.
In November of 1981, just months after her marriage, Diana fell pregnant and the royal couple made an official announcement. The entire country seemed to look forward to the new royal baby, and Charles and Diana may have hoped it would be a fresh start for their relationship. Just weeks later, however, it came to a disturbing climax.
At the end of her first trimester, Diana suffered a ghastly accident. In January of 1982, while staying at the royal Christmas estate of Sandringham, she fell down one of the manor’s staircases. Her fall was so violent and her cargo so precious, doctors rushed to make sure nothing had happened to the fetus. Thankfully, the baby hadn’t suffered any damage.
Yet once more, the painful story was even more twisted than people know.
Many years later, Princess Diana confessed that what had happened on the staircase had been no accident. Instead, she had intentionally hurled herself down them in an attempt to free herself of feelings of overwhelming inadequacy. Clearly, something was desperately wrong, and if Charles and Diana thought their new baby was going to change things, they were so, so wrong.
On June 21, 1982, Diana gave birth to Prince William, the future King of England in his own right after Charles himself. Then their happiness transformed into ash. Diana began suffering from intense post-partum depression, and Charles had to watch as his young wife’s mental health grew ever more fragile. But while Diana could be pitiable, she could also be downright terrifying.
If Charles hadn’t married Diana for love, he did at least think the inexperienced girl would be pliable as a wife. He soon found out how wrong he was. At her worst moments, Diana would undermine Charles in unhinged ways, taunting him about how silly he looked dressed up in regalia, giving him the sneering nickname “The Boy Wonder,” and predicting he would never be king.
It must have reminded him of his miserable early years at school...but she saved her worst for last.
Princess Diana has a golden reputation in the press that continues today, but in private, she terrorized Charles. Unhappy with palace life and her marriage, Diana couldn’t stand it when Charles would coolly try to end their vicious spats by kneeling down at the bed to say his prayers. In fact, she would regularly scream and hit him when he tried to.
Yet just as Prince Charles and Princess Diana came closer to falling apart, something always taped them back together again.
On the 15th of September, 1984, Diana gave birth to their second and last son, Prince Harry. Incredibly, both Charles and Diana acknowledged that her time being pregnant with Harry led to some of their happiest days together. Even so, Diana held back from Charles, refusing to tell him they were having a boy even after she found out. Then, after years of trying, they hit rock bottom.
By 1986, not even their two boys together could stop both Charles and Diana from engaging in incredibly destructive behavior. That year, palace officials began to suspect that Diana had feelings for her bodyguard Barry Mannakee, and were suspicious enough to transfer him from the Royal Protection Squad to the Diplomatic unit. And where there was smoke, there was fire…
After Mannakee's dismissal, a scandalous tape emerged. In it, Diana made a truly unforgettable confession. She claimed that she had been “deeply in love” with someone on her royal team and claimed that “I was quite happy to give all this up [and] just to go off and live with him". Although there’s no evidence they consummated their feelings, many believe she was talking about Mannakee and had emotionally cheated on Prince Charles.
Soon, however, Diana went from emotional to physical betrayal.
Still deeply unhappy, Diana embarked on a full-blown, consummated affair with the royal family’s riding instructor, the dashing Major James Hewitt. This is so certain, in fact, that many have whispered Prince Harry is actually Hewitt’s son, though the timing doesn't match up. It was enough to drive any husband mad—but Charles did way more than fight fire with fire.
While Diana's confessions exposed her own bad behavior in the royal marriage, Charles’s fall from grace was far more mortifying and far more brutal. In the early 1990s, the British press published transcripts of one of Prince Charles’s bugged telephone conversations, which dated back to 1989. The contents of the transcripts made heads spin.
In the telephone call, Charles is talking to none other than Camilla Parker Bowles—and he reveals everything Diana must have suspected from the start. In the bedtime call, the two already-married lovers arrange to meet before engaging in pillow talk, with Camilla saying “I can’t start the week without you,” and Charles growling “I fill up your tank”. But that’s not the most infamous part.
By far the most notorious section of the conversation is when Charles, in a fit of passion more befitting a teenager, claims to Camilla that he wants to “live inside your trousers” and then imagines becoming a tampon. These excruciatingly intimate words were splashed across international headlines as "Camillgate," with the Italian press dubbing Charles "Il Tampaccino".
Charles was also still very, very married to Diana when the transcripts came out, and their publication set off a horrible chain of events.
Scrambling to recuperate his image after Camillagate, Charles appeared in a TV film to give an interview and his side of the story. It actually made things so much worse. In the film, he admitted to rekindling his romance with Camilla as far back as 1986, but claimed that this happened only after his marriage had “irretrievably broken down”. But those paying attention noticed a bald-faced lie.
According to some royal sources, Camilla and Charles had reignited their relationship while he was still courting Diana for marriage. Charles had sought Camilla out for comfort after the violent death of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, and by 1980 friends and palace staff believed they were having an affair.
Exactly how this affair ebbed and flowed throughout his marriage is up for debate...but either way, Diana was about to get her revenge.
Diana knew how to manipulate public relations better than even Prince Charles, and she staged her own rival interview the next year. In it, she was unfailingly honest about her indiscretions as well as Charles’s, infamously noting that when it came to Camilla, “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded". Tragically, this was far from her worst admission.
Diana admitted in the sit-down to destructive habits such as self-harm and “rampant” bulimia. For the royal family, the consequences were disastrous. Diana received support from the public for her honesty while painting an ever-darker picture of her and Charles’s supposed fairy tale life.
Many terrible things had happened between them and were now public knowledge, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
After watching this interview with Diana, the queen sent her son a devastating letter. She urged Charles to give up the marriage for good and divorce Diana—something that senior royal family members just did not do at the time. Indeed, it was so serious that the queen had to consult with the Prime Minister before sending the letter. Charles and Diana’s response was…not good.
To be fair, both Prince Charles and Princess Diana immediately agreed with the queen that it was time for a divorce (because, yes), but they didn’t go gently. For one, Diana—who had always had a rebellious streak about her carefully controlled royal life—went rogue and issued her own divorce announcement, separate from Charles. Oh, but Charles got her back.
The divorce finally went through in July of 1996—but Charles got in one final cruel act of revenge. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth was fine with Diana keeping the title of "Her Royal Highness", but it was Charles who spitefully insisted they strip her of it. This led his own son Prince William to reportedly say, “Don't worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King”.
For all we know, these games could have gone on forever. Instead, what we got was an unbelievable tragedy.
On August 31, 1997, Charles received the shock of his life. Palace aides informed him that his ex-wife Diana had died in a car crash after paparazzi had chased her and her companion Dodi Fayed through the Pont de L’Alma bridge in Paris. Whatever Diana had been as a wife, she was still the mother of their two boys—which made the next act Charles had to perform utterly harrowing.
After getting the call, Charles was forced into a horrific duty. He woke his boys Prince William and Prince Harry up and told the 15-year-old and 12-year-old that their mother was gone forever. It may have been Charles’s darkest moment, and both boys have since been candid about the grief they experienced following their father's announcement. But before Charles could let it sink in, he had one more awful task to complete.
When Diana passed, she and Charles had only been divorced for a year, and he was thus expected to take on the bulk of her funeral planning. Accordingly, he went right to France with Diana’s sisters on the same day the tragedy happened. After thanking the doctors who tried valiantly to save her life, Charles helped accompany her body back into Britain for the burial. Yet here, too, tensions swirled.
Charles’s hazy, grief-stricken days just following Diana’s passing are shrouded in mystery. Controversial and oft-denied reports from the palace nonetheless claimed that Charles was quickly locked in a battle about how to proceed with the funeral. While the queen wanted a private affair, Charles successfully lobbied for a public one. And his reasons may have been sinister.
Charles may have tried to use Diana’s loss to boost his own public image, positioning himself as the sympathetic grieving father. If this is true, he likely made enemies of his own family—particularly of his own father. When the funeral committee tried to get William and Harry to take a larger role in the public proceedings, the prickly Prince Philip apparently snapped, "They've just lost their mother. You're talking about them as if they are commodities”.
And when the day of the funeral came, more controversy erupted.
On September 6, Diana’s funeral went on in Westminster Abbey, with millions of mourners watching or attending. But when people saw Charles that day, something was off. While William, Harry, and the rest of the entourage were wearing black suits, Charles was most definitely in a navy getup. The press immediately speculated it was a sign of disrespect and showed Charles’s animosity toward Diana. But nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, Charles had a heartbreaking reason for wearing the unconventional color to his ex-wife’s funeral. During their relationship, Diana had always loved Charles in navy, and it was one of her favorite colors as well, hence her famous sapphire engagement ring. Even so, laying Diana to rest wasn’t the end of Charles’s scandals. In many ways, it was just the beginning.
Following Diana’s passing, Charles’s position both as a Prince and father got ten times more complicated. His failures were agonizing. He had always tried to be there for his sons, but Diana was naturally far warmer than him and he struggled to connect with his boys in the midst of his continuing royal duties and his own grief process after her loss. But there was another, much bigger problem.
Now that Prince Charles was single, Camilla became the elephant in the room. Her marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles had also imploded in the wake of the “Camillagate” revelations, and she was currently a free agent too. Yet precisely because of the scandal, her and Charles’s public images were at an all-time low. It was a bad combination, and the royal family was terrified of Charles’s next move. They were right to be.
After sorting out his own grief for Diana, Charles gave his family an uncharacteristic ultimatum. At long last, he put his foot down about his love for Camilla. He insisted to everyone on his team that she was “non-negotiable” when it came to his future. Accordingly, he even hired a publicity expert to rehabilitate her public image as well as his. However, there was one thing he couldn’t sweep under the rug.
While Charles began slowly building up a path to a public relationship with Camilla, he still had his sons to worry about. And you know William and Harry wouldn't love the idea of his long-term mistress replacing their dead mother. Accordingly, Charles made one concession in his “non-negotiable” plan: William and Harry could decide when and how to accept Camilla into their own lives. In the end, though, he got what he wanted.
Bringing Camilla into the public eye as Charles's companion took nearly a decade, with slow-but-steady outings together in the years following Diana’s passing. Then suddenly, it all came to fruition. In 2005, Charles married Camilla at St Windsor Guildhall in a modest civil ceremony. It was a sharp contrast to his so-called “fairy tale” wedding to Diana, and Charles may have thought he was finally out of the woods and onto his glorious reign. He wasn’t.
Far from sailing smoothly into his last years as the Prince of Wales before he becomes King of England, Charles’s more recent history is all the more incendiary. Sure, he became a grandfather when Prince William and Duchess Catherine had George, Charlotte, and then Louis, and the steady image he had built up since the 90s stayed intact. Then along came Meghan.
When Prince Harry fell in love with and married Meghan Markle in 2018, it at first seemed that Charles and his sons were closer than ever. After all, Charles even walked Meghan down the aisle when her own father infamously dropped out of attending the wedding ceremony. But what went up came crashing back down.
By early 2020, Harry and Meghan were making their exit from acting as senior representatives to the queen and moving away. This seemed to confirm rumors that there was immense in-fighting in the palace (more on that soon). Charles…did not handle this well.
Prince Charles had already been through so many upheavals before this so-called “Megxit,” but his reaction was reportedly explosive. Sources close to the palace admitted that while Queen Elizabeth was saddened by Harry and Meghan’s decision, Charles was absolutely “furious” and felt betrayed by his youngest son and daughter-in-law. But that wasn’t all.
Prince Harry himself has been vocal about his father’s prickly response to the news. In one special, Harry revealed that after he told his dad he wanted to step down, the sensitive and easily-offended Charles simply “stopped taking” his calls. As Harry continued, “I feel really let down”. And there was one more revelation about to drop on Charles.
In the days following Meghan and Harry exiting their roles, ruinous information leaked out about the reasons behind their decision, particularly to do with how the family treated Meghan and her race. One accusation was chilling. According to reports, when Meghan was pregnant with Archie, a senior member of the family speculated about what color his skin would be.
The person allegedly behind that comment? Charles. And the details of the conversation are beyond belief.
In Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan, author Christopher Anderson relates how, one morning over breakfast, Charles turned to Camilla and said, “I wonder what the children will look like”? To her credit, Camilla reportedly balked a little at the inappropriate musing. She only responded by saying the baby would be “absolutely gorgeous”.
Whether benign or not, Charles is still feeling the consequences of his (alleged) actions today, as we'll see. And of course, all these seeds of tension were planted many years before, when Princess Diana was still alive...
In 2003, Princess Diana’s old butler worked up his courage and published a short note Diana had given to him in 1995, a year before her divorce from Charles and just two years before her fatal accident. The contents of the letter shocked the world. In it, Diana accused Charles of “planning an accident” in her car so that she would perish and he would be free to marry.
The accusations deeply disturbed Charles, who, when the authorities questioned him, said he had no idea what Diana meant and even less of a clue as to why she felt that way. Yet there may be a dark answer to that.
In truth, this letter dredged up something quite different than suspicion of Charles—it pointed to a terrible secret within Diana. Although right about Camilla, she had always been prone to paranoia. This includes a time she baselessly accused Charles’s personal assistant Tiggy Legge-Bourke of aborting the prince’s child; Diana’s own private secretary said the princess “exulted” in these claims.
Charles may have seemed uncomfortable with the messy drama—but he had actually had intimate experience with this sort of tumult from a young age.
Many know about the prince’s romances with Camilla and Diana, but few remember the utter tragedy and heartbreak of his first attempt at matrimonial love. Before Charles’s beloved great-uncle Lord Mountbatten passed, Mountbatten actually wanted the prince to marry his 17-year-old granddaughter Amanda Knatchbull. And people still don’t realize how close Amanda came to being the Princess of Wales…
With the approval of his favorite relative hanging in the balance, Charles wrote to Amanda’s mother to get her family’s approval for their courtship. As Amanda grew up, the royal family even discussed (but eventually rejected) revealing them as a couple on Charles’s upcoming tour of India in 1980. Then a twist of fate threw it all away.
In 1979, Lord Mountbatten perished in that tragic IRA attack. But instead of slowing Charles down, this only spurred him closer to Amanda, and he proposed to her in a fit of emotion...which is when she turned him down. Understandably so. She had lost her grandfather and several other relatives in the attack, and she wasn’t keen on putting a target on herself by joining the royal ranks.
Given what we know now, this was almost certainly for the best.
As Queen Elizabeth’s health began to decline in the late 2010s, rumors flew about Charles’s future. Thanks to his ailing reputation and Prince William’s popularity, there was speculation that Charles would bow out of the line of succession and let his eldest son take the crown.
It almost seemed like a done deal—but few realized just how determined Charles was to finally step into the position he was born for.
In June of 2022, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning queen in history…and Charles the longest-serving British heir apparent. Just a few short months later, doctors notified Buckingham Palace and her family about their concerns for her health, and that she might not have much longer. Charles and his sister Anne were there when she passed on at the age of 96 on September 8, 2022.
It was now time for Charles to step up and become the new King of England.
Along with the great grief of losing his mother came the crushing weight of responsibility—and it also further exposed the tension between Charles and his family. Many wondered where Harry had been when the family had gathered at the Queen’s bedside, and he didn’t hold back. He claimed that Prince William and other family members had boarded a plane to get to her and hadn’t included him.
By the time that he arrived, she was already gone—further exacerbating tensions among the Windsors. The funeral only made things worse.
At the service for Queen Elizabeth, Harry and his wife Meghan sat in the second row behind Charles, Camilla, William, and his family. Unlike his brother and father, Harry didn’t appear in military uniform since he’d stepped down from royal duties—but there was an inadvertent insult to this position. The other male Windsor without uniform was the notorious Prince Andrew.
And the issues between Charles and his youngest son only escalated from there.
In early 2023, Harry released his memoir, Spare, laying bare the darkest secrets of his time as Prince and his life after exiting from royal duties. Though many of his revelations made headlines—remember the bit about the frostbite—some were more quietly heartbreaking. For example, Harry said that his father didn’t hug him after he’d lost his mother.
Though their relationship had plenty of ups and downs, the release of the book certainly didn’t help things.
King Charles’s public image has always been shaky at best, and according to some reports, Charles is frighteningly persnickety. As in, he will only go to the bathroom on a white leather toilet seat that accompanies him on his travels, and he regularly throws fits if he has to travel first class instead of via private jet (he denies both accusations). However, these kinds of stories were only bolstered by a viral video of Charles getting frustrated with a pen tray on the day he became king.
And as the coronation approaches, stories about it have only added to the myth surrounding the man.
Harry has shared that he’s barely spoken to his father in the past year—and his position at the coronation shows that. Insiders say that Harry will sit ten rows behind his fellow senior royals, and when it’s over, he’ll make a quick exit. It’s even been claimed that he won’t have time to speak to Charles or William during the short scope of his visit to England.
Spare may just have been the final nail in the coffin for Harry’s relationship with his father. And where Harry goes, Meghan usually goes…except when it comes to the Windsors.
Early reports indicate that Meghan Markle will not attend King Charles’s coronation—and the reason why goes back years, before she and Harry made their “exit” from palace life. Back then, Meghan sent Charles a letter detailing her concerns about neglect, bias, and the probe into her behavior with staff. While he wrote back, he didn’t address any of her main concerns—and things between them haven’t been the same since.
While that might not be all that surprising to those keeping score, some of Charles’s decisions since he became king certainly are…
Immediately following Charles’s accession, Camilla took on the role of Queen consort—but with just a month until the coronation, Charles dropped a bombshell. Buckingham Palace’s invitation to the coronation lists his wife as “Queen Camilla” instead. Many expected that she’d never receive the title thanks to the couple’s PR battles and infamous history—not to mention his son’s loyalty to their mother.
As a new king, Charles has already seen his fair share of drama. Aside from the family variety, there’s already been a number of protestors who have taken aim at him. But he’s managed to sidestep a scandal and a gross ritual in one fell swoop. Part of the coronation ceremony involves anointment with special oils, many of which traditionally came from animal glands.
Luckily for Charles, they changed the formula for him to one made with olive oil. However, on the other side of things, Queen Camilla will be carrying an ivory scepter. Well, can’t win em all…
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Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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