According to author Tom Bower in Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles, the bitterness between the two women was so great as they competed for the affections of Diana’s then-husband Prince Charles, Camilla went to some pretty unpleasant extremes to make her contempt known.
At first referring to the princess as ‘a mouse’ during the early days of Di’s marriage to Charles, Camilla later took to referring to her as ‘that mad cow’.
Taking the enmity to an unpleasant new level, Bower sensationally alleges that Camilla decorated the toilet in her country home with unflattering cartoons of Diana.
Camilla was very controlled when confronted by Diana about her affair with Charles at a mutual friend’s party, coldly admonishing her for ‘unacceptable behaviour in a private house’. But in private, Bower claims she was far more forthright in her fury, apparently defending herself by saying she was only guilty of having just one extra-marital lover, Charles, before allegedly making the disgusting allegation that Diana was ‘working her way through the Life Guards’.
For her part, claims Bower, Diana could only see one reason why Charles wanted to be with his less attractive mistress.
‘Charles is obsessed by Camilla’s t**s, and I haven’t got t**s as big as Camilla’s,’ she supposedly told one journalist.
When Diana finally took her complaints to the public in her famous 1995 Panorama TV interview, Camilla was forced to retreat from public view for a full year.
It was then that Charles and Camilla plotted with a PR guru to save their reputations, as Charles’ approval rating hit rock bottom. Camilla apparently feared the public backlash against their affair meant that he would never be king.
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‘I’m not this awful person,’ Camilla bitterly complained. ‘I just wish someone would do something about it.’
Camilla seemed to be in the driver’s seat amid the PR push, allegedly telling her press team, ‘never push Charles too hard'.
‘Always remember his terrible childhood, and how he was bullied at school and by his parents.’
Charles and Camilla’s work planting sympathetic stories in the press slowly but surely helped reduce the intensity of public hostility towards the pair to manageable levels – and today there is even the possibility that Camilla may one day be crowned queen.
But many will never forget what Diana went through – and Bower’s new book looks set to reopen plenty of old wounds.