Camilla’s relationship with Prince William and Harry: ‘Very difficult for stepparents’

Camilla attends Remembrance service at Westminster Abbey

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Camilla, 74, arrived in Jordan yesterday for her visit to the Middle Eastern country with her husband, Prince Charles, 73. During the couple’s visit – postponed from last March – they were received at the Al Husseiniya Palace with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah. Camilla also had her own engagement during the tour – the couple’s first overseas visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Duchess of Cornwall was driven across the capital Amman by Queen Raniam in her electric Tesla car.

The pair attended a children’s centre, which aims to tackle child abuse, where they met local youngsters taking part in different activities.

Since joining the Royal Family, Camilla has put children and promoting literacy at the centre of her charity work.

The Duchess married Charles in 2005 just months after the couple announced their engagement.

Camilla became the stepmother to Prince Charles’ sons, William and Harry, from his first marriage to the late Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997.

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Relationship expert Neil Wilkie told that the role of a stepparent is “very difficult” as he discussed Camilla’s relationships with William and Harry.

He said: “She’s not trying to overshadow the memory of their mother and in normal life it’s a very difficult job being a stepparent.

“Particularly of a birth parent who died because the birth parent who died is often held out as being the perfect person whose life was cut short, cruelly.

“And it’s very difficult for stepparents, firstly to replace them in the eyes of the person they are married to – Charles – and secondly to replace them in the eyes of their children.

“And to do that, well, you just have to stand back to give children space to grow into and space for them to grow their relationship with you.”

Charles and Camilla’s first encounter was at a polo match in Windsor Great Park in 1970, but Charles married Diana in 1981.

Charles and Camilla began having an affair in 1986, according to Sally Bedell Smith’s 2017 biography, ‘Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life: In the Shadow of the Throne’.

Despite a rocky beginning, Mr Wilkie said that Camilla’s relationship with William and Harry as their stepparent “seems to be good”.

He added: “She hasn’t tried to replace Diana. She’s just tried to be somebody who’s there for them, who loves their father, who cares for them.

“So, I think she’s done a really good job in doing that.

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“They see Camilla being respectful of the institution. They seek Camilla being supportive of them.

“I think they like her, they respect her, and they can see she loves their father and makes him happy.”

The expert added that the bond between the Duchess and the princes was “in a good place”.

He claimed that the background to Charles and Diana’s divorce, which was finalised in 1996, the year before her death, had put an initial strain on Camilla’s role in the Royal Family.

He said: “It’s been difficult because of the background of the adultery, while Princess Diana was still alive.

“Camilla was cast as being the bad person breaking up what seemed to be a magical relationship.

“But the reality is, Charles was under pressure to marry somebody suitable rather than somebody who’s divorced so he had to forgo for many years his true love to take on somebody who was really a very bad match for him.”

Mr Wilkie is the author of ‘The Relationship Paradigm’ series of books and creator of the online couples therapy platform, the Relationship Paradigm.
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