Princess Diana was angry with herself for allowing her despair to degenerate into an eating disorder, which only made things worse. Charles displayed a total inability to cope with her depression and distress. His response to her outbursts was to absent himself and sought comfort from Camilla, the very woman the Princess believed to be at the root of her troubles and referred to as either 'the Rottweiler' or 'the Presence'.
Diana's royal life was not so much the goldfish bowl once described by her father-in-law Prince Philip, but imprisonment behind toughened glass. She could see what was happening to her but was unable to do anything about it. Nor did anyone in the palace see to understand when she tried to tell them about her domestic problems. "Just so desperate. I knew what was wrong with me but nobody else around me understood. I needed rest and to be looked after inside my house and for people to understand the torment and anguish going on in my head. It was a desperate cry for help," Diana said.
Through the early years of the marriage, Diana believed that the Queen was sympathetic but was loyally accepting her son's word that the marriage was breaking down not because of another woman, but because of the Princess's eating disorder and consequent erratic behavior. "I don't know what my husband fed the Queen. He definitely told her about my bulimia and she told everybody that was the reason why our marriage had cracked up," Diana said. To explain the whole situation of her troubled marriage to Charles, Diana asked her mother-in-law the Queen what to do. The Queen replied: "I don't know what you should do. Charles is hopeless."
Charles insisted then that Camilla was out of his life from the moment of his wedding until 1986. But throughout these crucial early years, Diana could not bring herself to believe him, as she recalled: "Charles placed many of his calls to Camilla from his bathtub. Once, after breast-feeding William, I heard him on the phone saying whatever happens, I will always love you. I told him later that I had listened at the bathroom door and we had a filthy row."
On the fact of it, Camilla was a contented wife, married to a debonair Colonel Andrew Parker Bowles, who was a friend of Charles too and one-time boyfriend of his sister, Princess Anne, and was a contented mother of two children, Tom and Laura, but she was also the Prince's mistress. Diana couldn't believe that this bizarre arrangement didn't raise even a single royal eyebrow. It was the lack of disapproval of Charles's adultery in royal circles that burned her. In one furious argument, her husband tersely asked: "Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?"
A royal insider said: "She'd sincerely believed that by marrying the Prince of Wales, she was going to have a wonderful, romantic marriage. You can see how a young girl would fall into that trap. She sincerely believed that his kindness, sensitivity and love for her would provide her with the means to change him into being more the sort of man she wanted. It's always a fatal mistake believing that you can change a man, especially one who is already set in his character and way of life."
Certainly, Diana had been feeling the pressure of her husband's affair for sometime. In 1989, she had confronted Camilla at a dinner party and demanded that she end her relationship with Charles. She told her: "I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on between you and Charles. I wasn't born yesterday. I'm sorry I'm in the way, I obviously am in the way, and it must be hell for both of you, but I do know what is going on. Don't treat me like an idiot. Leave my husband alone."
Diana was gripped by jealousy. She began policing Charles's movements and demanded to know precisely when he was due back. Asking her bodyguard Ken Wharfe about her husband's movements, Diana said: "You know about Camilla, don't you? I don't know how to deal with it. It's there and I can't do anything about it." Diana would telephone the Parker Bowles residence over and over again once the time that Charles was due home had passed, each time hanging up without speaking, until he came back home. Diana could not ignore the signals of Charles and Camilla's affair - furtive phone calls in the middle of the night, letters hastily opened and burned in the fireplace, last minute changes in her husband's daily schedule that caused Charles to be called away.
Not only that, but Charles and Diana's rows increased, were loud and sometimes long, witnessed by every staff member at the palace and was followed by days and sometimes weeks of silence. unfortunately, the royal couple's little children, William and Harry, would follow the sounds of their parents' rows, and scenes of their beloved mother dashing by them in tears on the way to the bathroom became frequent. They never stopped asking her: "Why are you crying, Mummy?"
After 10 years of marriage, the strained relationship between the royal couple became too evident in public and clearly took a physical toll on Diana who appeared very thin and pale when performing royal duties. Charles became increasingly resentful of his wife's popularity, and never praised her for her efforts on public engagements and was more likely to direct snide remarks such as "Not that dress again", which undermined her confidence. Describing her relationship with her husband, Diana said: "It's just so difficult. So complicated. He makes my life real, real torture."
Rumors of Charles's love affair with Camilla became certainty when an infamous taped recording of a private telephone conversation between the couple surfaced in 1992. In the recording, the pair exchanged highly personal endearments and Charles told Camilla: "I love you." In 1994, Charles went on the record about his affair when he admitted in a television documentary that he had committed adultery after his marriage to Diana. He said: "Mrs. Parker Bowles is a great friend of mine. A friend for a very long time. She will continue to be a good friend for a very long time."
After 15 years, Diana's marriage to the Prince of Wales ended on August 28, 1996. The Parker Bowles's marriage lasted 22 years and was dissolved a year earlier, in January 1995. After three decades, precisely 35 years, the Prince of Wales announced his engagement to Camilla. A private civil ceremony took place on 8 April 2005 at Windsor Castle followed by a service of prayer and dedication in St. George's Chapel.
Diana: The Untold Story, By Richard Kay. Publication Date: 01 July 1998
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