King Charles III made it clear during his first speech after ascending to the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, that he would be relying on the support of his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, as he adjusts to his new role.
Before Elizabeth gave her approval, Charles reportedly lobbied for Camilla to be crowned queen, much to the chagrin of his sons, Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. “I discovered privately that both brothers are absolutely sick to their stomachs of Charles trying to negotiate full queen status for Camilla,” royal historian Robert Lacey told Newsweek in 2021.
The public’s enduring affection for the king’s first wife, the late Princess of Wales, posed the most difficult challenge for Charles and Camilla. During her interview with Martin Bashir, Diana discussed the breakdown of her marriage to Charles, specifically mentioning his affair with Camilla. According to History, “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a little crowded.”
Following Charles’ divorce from Diana, his public image suffered, while Camilla was dubbed “the most despised woman in Britain,” according to the Express. But the royal refused to take the criticism lying down. According to a former royal aide, Charles engaged in a “systematic” smear campaign against the People’s Princess.
During Princess Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles (now King Charles III), the former Prince of Wales allegedly engaged in a “systematic campaign” to portray his ex-wife as an unstable woman with mental health issues.
“If you ask people close to the current royal establishment… then I think that is the answer you would get; that it was a tragic story and that she was essentially troubled mentally, and the implication being that she was not entirely up to the job, which essentially, she failed at,” said Patrick Jephson, Diana’s former chief of staff, on Page Six’s “The Scandal Mongers” podcast.
Jephson refuted the claim, saying Diana “wasn’t just sane, she had a kind of ability to restore sanity to crazy situations,” and that the rumors were spread “by and large, by men, about a woman in a marriage with the intention of helping another man.”
While Charles may have attempted to tarnish Diana’s image, she is still held in high regard around the world. “His tragedy is that whatever he does, says, or does not do, he will be remembered for one thing: that his fairy-tale marriage ended,” royal author Andrew Morton told People. “It will always haunt him; his marriage defined his life.”
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