Camilla Parker-Bowles Was "Public Enemy Number One" After Princess Diana's Death, Tina Brown Says

People blamed her for having an affair with Prince Charles.

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Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, is now an established member of the Royal Family, but she unfortunately still has her dissenters.

Still, this is nothing compared to the backlash she received first when tapes of a phone conversation between her and Prince Charles during his marriage to Princess Diana were released, and second when the Princess of Wales tragically died in a car crash in Paris.

Royal expert Tina Brown spoke to the Washington Post about the public treatment of Parker-Bowles following both events, and it sounds pretty grim.

"It's actually almost inconceivable how much abuse Camilla took," Brown told the publication (via Express).

"I mean, she was called hag, old bag, witch. I mean, these were the kind of words that were used about Camilla for years," Brown said.

"And when, of course, the dreaded Camillagate tapes leaked, the phone call between Charles and Camilla where he referred, unfortunately, to her as a certain kind of sanitary item." [He jokingly referred to her as a "Tampax."]

A year after the tapes leaked, Diana died and Camilla became "public enemy number one," according to Brown.

"Camilla was the sort of ugly—you know, considered the ugly sort of force that had driven, you know, Diana into such pain and sadness, you know, I mean, the love that Charles had for her," the expert said.

"So, she then has to hide again. But again, stoically just waits it out and goes forth."

For Brown, the duchess has since done a good job of keeping her composure and waiting out the storm.

"And from that moment [the wedding], really, that Camilla became the Duchess of Cambridge, she has not actually put—Duchess of Cornwall, I'm sorry—she really hasn't put a foot wrong," she said.

"She's been supportive. She's been charming. She's been hard working.

"She's taken on a lot of good appropriate causes like, you know, domestic violence for which he's very authentically involved, has a book club, always there with Charles now on the royal tours.

"And he's—she’s made him now—the best thing she's done is to make him an unapologetically happy man.

"And I mean, he's transformed since he's married Camilla, in fact, and that is her biggest service, essentially, to the monarchy so far."

Read Marie Claire's interview with Tina Brown for more insights like these ones.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.