It’s a scene we have a feeling we’ll see play out in The Crown: the face-to-face confrontation between Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the then mistress of Prince Charles (and now his wife of 17 years and future queen consort) at a party. This is all according to Diana’s former protection officer Ken Wharfe, who details what happened after Charles and Camilla snuck off together at a soiree, according to The Mirror.
Speaking to ITV, Wharfe—who worked as a part of Diana’s security team for six years—recalled how the Prince and Princess of Wales attended a party thrown by Camilla’s sister and that, naturally, Camilla herself was there. Wharfe said he and others were surprised Diana went to the party at all, given it was full of folks who were close to Charles and Camilla, and, as Diana said herself in her infamous Panorama interview, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
“Diana didn’t have any particular friendships at that party, but, when we arrived there, it was almost like freeze-framing a scene in a movie, because there was this surprise that Diana had even arrived,” Wharfe said. “But then soon after, within the hour, I heard my name being called. I was in the kitchen somewhere. And I went out and there was Diana, who said ‘You’ve got to come with me. I can’t find my husband or Camilla.’”
Wharfe said he couldn’t refuse the princess, as “clearly this woman was in some distress,” he said. “Eventually we found the prince and Camilla sat on a sofa in the basement of this property, just talking.”
Imagine the scene: standing beside the most famous woman in the world as she confronts, face-to-face, her husband and the woman she knows he is having an affair with.
“I didn’t know quite what Diana was going to do at that point, but, with a great deal of confidence, Diana just went up to both of them and said to Camilla ‘Please don’t treat me like an idiot. I know what’s going on.’”
Camilla’s stunned reaction was a bit sputtering, Wharfe said.
“And Camilla sort of said something, to which still to this day I have never really understood what she meant by that, is ‘Well, you know, you have two wonderful boys.’ Well, it was an incredible moment for me, and certainly for them, as well. That was a defining moment in their life because I think at that point…this was in indicator the end was nigh.”
Charles and Diana eventually separated in 1992 and divorced on August 28, 1996, just 368 days before Diana lost her life in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997. Wharfe’s new book Diana: Remembering the Princess marks the 25th anniversary of her death this month.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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