According to a biographer of Princess Diana, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall “lives in dread” of Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir, as the ghost of Princess Diana “still rattles at the gate.”
Tina Brown, the author of The Diana Chronicles and The Palace Papers and former Vanity Fair editor, spoke about the princess’ legacy to commemorate the 25th anniversary of her death in a car crash in Paris. Brown’s remarks addressed Diana’s continuing impact on her sons, her ex-husband Prince Charles and his second wife Camilla.
Brown told The Daily Beast that, while the palace’s efforts to transform Camilla’s image from prince’s mistress to popular future queen-consort have been successful, the duchess “lives in dread” of revelations in Harry’s memoir.
“Harry’s memoir will resurface a particular agony for Charles,” Brown said.
“The queen was re-stabilized after the death of Diana, whereas Charles has continually battled to end those ghosts. The rehabilitation of Camilla’s image has been utterly successful, but she lives in dread of Harry’s book. In some ways, Diana’s ghost still rattles at the gate.”
Since the memoir’s announcement by publisher Penguin Random House last year, royal watchers have wondered how the Duke of Sussex will portray his relationships with his family, given reports of a rift.
“I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man, I have become,” Harry said in a press release in 2021.
“I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story—the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned—I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a first-hand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
Given Diana’s distress over Charles and Camilla’s affair, courtiers are concerned Harry will take aim at his stepmother in his book, according to Richard Kay, a journalist and former friend of Diana.
During a 1995 interview for the BBC’s Panorama, Diana made the famous remark, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
“Understandably there is considerable anxiety in Buckingham Palace circles that Harry, 37, will use the memoir to settle perceived scores with family members and senior courtiers,” Kay wrote.
“They are particularly nervous about his attitude towards his stepmother, the Duchess of Cornwall, the women who many of the late princess’s supporters still blame for the collapse of the Charles-Diana marriage.”
Brown wrote that Harry resented Camilla’s taking over his bedroom at Highgrove, Charles’ country home, to convert it into a closet. The prince “would never fully embrace Camilla or understand her appeal,” describing their relationship as merely “cordial,” she added.