- Royal expert Katie Nicholl said Queen Elizabeth II once referred to Camilla as “that wicked woman.”
- For years, the queen refused to sanction Camilla and Charles’s relationship after their affair.
- But Nicholl said that Elizabeth eventually took a liking to Camilla and named her as the next queen consort.
Seven months before her death, Queen Elizabeth II surprised many when she announced that Camilla, the then Duchess of Cornwall, would be known as queen consort when Carlos ascended the throne.
It was a major change from the original plans of the monarchy. In 2005, Buckingham Palace announced that Camilla would become a princess consort, not queen. But real experts told Insider the surprising decision was the way in which Queen Elizabeth reinforced support for Camila.
However, Camilla and Elizabeth’s relationship wasn’t always this strong, according to royal expert Katie Nicholl.
in his book “The New Royals”, which premiered in October, Nicholl talks to British historian Robert Lacey about the Queen’s feelings towards Camilla in the 1990s.
“In 1998, when Charles was trying to persuade his mother to be more accommodating to Camilla, the Queen described her as ‘that wicked woman,'” Lacey said. “Those damning words were reported with anguish by Prince Charles himself.”
The love story of Carlos and Camila up to that point it was already long, scandalous and complicated. They started out as young lovers in their 20s in 1970 and were cheating on each other in the ’80s. The royal family was publicly embarrassed in January 1993 when the press published conversations between the soon-to-be king and Camilla, including the infamous moment when Carlos said he wanted to be her tampon. A year later, Charles admitted to his adultery during a television interview.
“If you’re looking for a problem or a set of problems in the reign of Elizabeth II, they all come down to Charles, and specifically his infatuation and love for a woman, who wasn’t his wife,” Lacey told Nicholl.
the ongoing scandals of the 90s – many of whom have been represented in this season of “The Crown” — were a constant source of anguish for the once stable monarchy. Things were so bad that, according to Nicholl, the queen “did not want Camilla’s name spoken in her presence”.
But after Charles and Diana officially divorced in 1996, Nicholl said plans were put in place to try to legitimize their relationship in the public eye. Mark Bolland was hired for “Operation Mrs. PB”, as it was called, and the public relations expert told Nicholl his initial strategy.
“At this stage, there was absolutely no talk of marriage or Camilla being queen,” she said. “It was more, ‘Can we really spend more time together? Can we go to the theater together and not live in fear of the terrible headlines?'”
Charles gifted Camilla a lavish 50th birthday in July 1997. A month later, Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident. All plans to make Camilla and Charles’ relationship more public were immediately stopped.
The couple continued to keep their relationship under wraps until November 1998, when Charles threw a huge 50th birthday party and made Camilla his guest of honor, according to Nicholl.
“The Queen stood aloof, unwilling to sanction her son’s new relationship,” Nicholl wrote.
Even without the Queen’s approval, the couple went ahead. In January 1999, Charles and Camilla made their first public appearance together at her sister’s 50th birthday party at the Ritz Hotel in London. Months later, Charles and Camilla took their children to a joint trip to Greece.
Nicholl said that things slowly began to change between Camilla and the Queen. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth attended a 60th birthday party the couple threw for King Constantine of Greece. When the Queen invited Camilla to join the royal family for a Golden Jubilee celebration at Buckingham Palace in February 2002, she deemed herself “an official end to hostilities,” Nicholl wrote.
A year later, the couple moved in together. And in 2005, Charles and Camilla finally got married.
The Queen toasted at the couple’s reception at Windsor Castle, speaking of the “terrible obstacles” they had overcome.
“I am very proud and I wish them the best,” she said. “My son is home and dry, with the woman he loves.”