King Charles’ affair with Camilla during his marriage to Princess Diana features heavily in season five of The Crown, but the shocking scenes have left many wondering how much of the Netflix show is actually true
Princess Diana refused to give up on her marriage to Charles, despite knowing all about his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. She found gifts he had bought for his mistress, saw their letters and knew they had pet names for each other. However one of their biggest rows came after she overheard one of his secret phone calls to his lover – and heard a heartbreaking whisper.
The late princess’ biographer, Andrew Morton, recalls a conversation with Diana, in which she said: “I once heard him on the telephone in his bath on his hand-held set, saying: ‘Whatever happens, I will always love you.’ I told him afterwards that I had listened at the door, and we had a filthy row.”
Charles and Camilla’s affair behind Diana’s back is one of the centre storylines of season five of The Crown, which dropped on Netflix this week.
Before her tragic death, Diana admitted she was so immature at the time she missed many of the warning signs of their doomed relationship, especially when it came to Camilla. Charles, Prince of Wales at the time, dated Camilla before he met Diana but she wasn’t deemed a suitable bride for the future king.
But there was one devastating discovery, just weeks before their wedding, which really broke her heart. She found a parcel in the office of one of Charles’s employees, and opened it to discover a bracelet.
According to royal biographer Andrew Morton, it was engraved with the letters G and F, which stood for Gladys and Fred – the nicknames Charles and Camilla used for each other.
During an interview in 1997, Diana spoke very honestly about the heartbreak she felt at this moment.
She said: “I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way. And then someone in his office told me that my husband has had a bracelet made for her.
“I walked into this man’s office one day and I said, ‘Ooh, what’s in that parcel?’
And he said ‘Oh, you shouldn’t look at that’.
“So I opened it and there was the bracelet. I was devastated, and I said ‘Well, he’s going to give it to her tonight’.
“So rage, rage, rage. You know, ‘Why can’t you be honest with me?’
“But no, absolutely cut me dead.
“It was as if he’d made his decision, and if it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to work.
“He’d found the virgin, the sacrificial lamb – and in a way he was obsessed with me, but it was hot and cold, hot and cold, you never knew what mood it was going to be, up and down, up and down.”
Camilla wore the bracelet publicly for years, even after Charles and Diana tied the knot.
Diana and Charles announced their separation in 1992 and their divorce was finalized in 1996. The King married Camilla in April 2005, and she became Queen Consort following Queen Elizabeth II’s death earlier this year.