Camilla ‘didn’t care’ about impressing Harry on first meeting

Prince Harry: This Morning in stitches over x-rated revelations

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Prince Harry left his family, royal observers, and fans stunned after passages from his new memoir Spare were leaked this week, including claims he was involved in a physical altercation with his older brother Prince William. Another to face criticism from within Buckingham Palace was Queen Camilla, who married Harry’s father King Charles III in 2005. The 75-year-old, Harry claimed, acted with “pure formality” when meeting William’s younger brother for the first time, and was only interested in the heir to the throne. Buckingham Palace has not commented on any of the claims.

Spare documents the Duke of Sussex’s life in and outside of the Royal Family, and has so far left critics stunned by the level of intimacy on offer.

Camilla’s relationship with Harry and William has been a source of discussion for observers ever since it became clear she was in a relationship with their father, Charles, in the late Nineties.

Their affair had become public knowledge before they made things official, however. And speculation over their courtship was rife after Charles had divorced the brothers’ mother Diana, Princess of Wales in the early Nineties before she tragically passed away in a Parisian car crash in 1997.

Publicly, Harry and William have always shown a united front when appearing alongside Camilla. Yet speaking about her in his book the Duke of Sussex claimed that their relationship was in fact strained.

The 38-year-old recalled their first meeting, and how his father “appreciated” that “Camilla had made an effort”, adding “that was all [Charles] wanted to tell me”.

Describing their meeting as like looking away while having an injection, he said: “I have a vague recollection of seeing Camilla as calm (or as bored) as I was. Neither of us cared too much about each other’s opinion. With me it was a pure formality.”

“She wasn’t my mother and I wasn’t her biggest obstacle. In other words, I was not the heir. That scene with me was pure formality…”

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Camilla, previously the Duchess of Cornwall, was married to British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, but the pair divorced in 1995, after which time she became romantically involved with Charles.

Their Windsor Guildhall wedding was televised for the public, and watched across the globe. Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and his father Prince Philip did not attend the ceremony, on the grounds that Her Majesty was Head of the Church, which opposes the remarriage of divorced people.

Charles and Camilla went public with their relationship in the early Noughties, but his sons were not pictured alongside their father’s new beau until months later. And Harry’s first encounter with Camilla was reportedly tense.

Aged just 13, and with his mother’s life still fresh in his memory, he is said to have struggled to adapt to his father having a new partner, according to royal biographer Penny Junor, writing in her 2012 book Prince William: Born to be King.

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She wrote: “I think the relationship between them all is warm now but if I’m honest, it wasn’t then. I think they found it hard.

“To be fair to Camilla, she never tried to be mummy but she was the ‘other woman’ and she was there and taking daddy’s time.”

Harry “unnerved Camilla”, another book claimed, this time written by former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown. The 2022 book quoted a courtier as remarking: “When the younger boy was eventually prevailed upon to be in the presence of Mrs Parker Bowles, he unnerved her with long silences and smouldering, resentful stares.”

But when it came to speaking in public, Harry was more than happy to lavish praise on Camilla, including during a 2005 interview to coincide with his 21st birthday.

He described how he and William “loved her to bits”, embracing how she made Charles “very, very happy”.

Yet, an unnamed friend said Harry’s words were “more for a show of unity than a close relationship”, adding: “There were big problems at the start but as Harry and his brother William aged and matured, things got better and they can now co-exist as adults. They were never close with her and they still aren’t.”

Spare is available to buy from all bookshops and audiobook providers from January 10.

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