Prince Harry didn’t love the idea of his father remarrying. In Spare, which comes out on January 10, Harry wrote about his initial reaction to King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ 2005 wedding — and he wasn’t exactly supportive… at least, not at first.
“Despite Willy and me urging him not to, Pa was going ahead. We pumped his hand, wished him well. No hard feelings,” Harry wrote of the 2005 wedding, per Page Six. “We recognized that he was finally going to be with the woman he loved, the woman he’d always loved.” (Charles’ affair with Camilla began in 1986, per reports. They previously dated in 1970 and apparently were still in communication when Charles and Diana got married in 1981.)
“Fate might’ve intended for him in the first place. Whatever bitterness or sorrow we felt over the closing of another loop in Mummy’s story, we understood that it was besides the point,” Harry continued.
Apparently, Harry and William both had concerns about Camilla and her role in their lives. “I remember wondering … if she would be cruel to me; if she would be like all the evil stepmothers in the stories,” he explained. “Willy had been suspicious of the Other Woman for a long time, which confused and tormented him. When those suspicions were confirmed, he felt agonizing remorse for not having done or said anything before.”
Despite eventually supporting his father’s decision, it seems that Harry has always maintained some distance from Camilla. In the 2022 book The Palace Papers, author and Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown quoted a courtier who explained their tense relationship. “When [Harry] was eventually prevailed upon to be in the presence of Mrs. Parker Bowles, he unnerved her with long silences and smoldering, resentful stares,” she wrote, per Page Six.
Apparently, it was a different approach than William’s. Brown told The Telegraph, “William has accepted Camilla in terms of what she means to his father. He’s been grown-up about it. ‘My father loves this woman, I can’t fight it, so I won’t.’ Harry, on the other hand, can’t stand Camilla, he doesn’t want Camilla to be queen, he’s very angry that it’s happening. He has not made his peace with it and he probably never will.”
It’s not like they were ever one big happy family — especially considering the impact of Charles and Camilla’s affair on Princess Diana. “They are not a blended family and never have been,” a royal source told The Daily Beast in February 2022. “You have to remember, she didn’t actually ever live with William and Harry. Harry was 21 when they married. She always kept her own house and there was no question of her intervening in the lives of the boys.”