In Prince Harry’s memoir Spare, he singles out his stepmother, Queen Camilla, for particular criticism, implying that she plotted to become queen. In a recent podcast appearance, Camilla’s son Tom Parker Bowles has disagreed with Harry’s characterization and emphasized that she married King Charles III for love.
“I don’t care what anyone says—this wasn’t any sort of end game,” Parker Bowles said on The News Agents, a podcast hosted by journalists Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel. “She married the person she loved and this is what happened.”
In Spare, Harry calls Camilla a “villain” and describes the aftermath of his and Prince William’s earliest meetings with her, the details of which eventually wound up in the press. “Shortly after our private summits with her, she began to play the long game,” Harry writes. “A campaign aimed at marriage, and eventually the crown, with Pa’s blessing we presumed.” In January, an insider told Vanity Fair that Camilla was “astounded” by Harry’s allegations.
Sopel and Maitlis also asked if it was strange to think of his mother as a queen. “Not really because she’s still our mother,” Parker Bowles said. “I say ‘our’ but not the royal ‘we’, speaking for my sister and me. She’s our mother.” Camilla had Tom and his sister, Laura Lopes, when she was married to her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles.
Parker Bowles also spoke about the upcoming coronation, which will include his son Freddy Parker Bowles as a page alongside Prince George. “I don’t think he knows quite how big it’s going to be, I don’t think he has a sense of the occasion,” he said of his son. “He’s a 13-year-old boy who loves football.”
He noted that his mother might be anxious but hasn’t complained about the task of the coronation. “I think anyone would be anxious on an occasion of this sort of importance in terms of the historical. And yes, I think I’d be terrified if I had to sort of walk out wearing ancient robes…” he said. “She’s 75, but you know, it’s tough to do it. But she’s never complained. You just do it. Get on with it.”
Parker Bowles is a food writer and cookbook author, so naturally he had a few opinions about the coronation menu, which will feature a spinach “coronation quiche” invented for the occasion by royal chef Mark Flanagan. “He’s a really, really good chef,” he said. “So, I wouldn’t dare start telling him what to do.”
On the other hand, he is not fond of coronation chicken, the dish that was designed for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. “What happened over the years is it became this awful, turgid, sad, sort of gloopy mess, yellow, horrid. I mean coronation chicken done badly is appalling,” he said. “And I think what started off as something quite nice and probably quite exotic for the ’50s has now become something really horrible.”
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