Princess Diana’s furious birthday party row with Camilla revealed: ‘All hell broke loose’

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PRINCESS DIANA had suspected Prince Charles Camilla Parker Bowles from the start of their marriage – however, in 1989 she confronted Camilla for the first and only time in her life at a birthday party.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles married in their spectacular royal wedding in 1981.  The Prince of Wales’ first love, however, had been Camilla Shand, who he met in the early Seventies. When Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973, she “broke Charles’ heart”, however the pair rekindled their romance in around 1979. 

The heir to the throne broke things off when he became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer, nevertheless Diana would always remain suspicious of her husband’s old flame.

Indeed, as Charles would later admit in a “disastrous” 1994 interview, he rekindled his affair with Camila Parker Bowles in 1986, after his and Diana’s marriage had “irretrievably” broken down.

The Prince and Princess of Wales would separate in 1992, before finalising their divorce in 1996.

However, in 1989, Diana confronted Camilla for the first and only time in her life about the affair. 

Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles Image Getty
Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles Image Getty

Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles (Image: Getty)

Princess Diana pictured in Image Getty
Princess Diana pictured in Image Getty

Princess Diana pictured in 1989 (Image: Getty)

Royal author Tina Brown, in her 2007 book “The Diana Chronicles” writes: “In February of 1989 at Sir James and Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s house in Richmond, she had a showdown with Camilla at the fortieth birthday party of Camilla’s sister Annabel Elliot. 

“Charles had never expected Diana to attend what she had already referred to as a ‘ghastly’ party.

“Like Camilla, Annabel would have expected Diana to understand that the ‘and Princess of Wales’ on this particular invitation was strictly a matter of form and should be tactfully declined.

“Diana, to Charles’ great discomfort (and the other guests’ amusement), refused to play the game.

“‘Why are you coming tonight?’ Charles asked her testily on the way to the party.

“Ken Wharfe, who drove them there, says HRH ‘needled’ her all the way about her decision to go. 

“She later called it ‘One of the bravest moments of my entire ten years.’’

After dinner, Diana noticed that Prince Charles had disappeared.

Prince William and Prince Harry with their parents in Image Getty
Prince William and Prince Harry with their parents in Image Getty

Prince William and Prince Harry with their parents in 1989 (Image: Getty)

The Prince and Princess of Wales pictured in Image Getty
The Prince and Princess of Wales pictured in Image Getty

The Prince and Princess of Wales pictured in 1989 (Image: Getty)

Going down to the basement, with Ken Wharfe in tow, she found the prince and Camilla “huddled up in intimate conversation in the nursery”.

Diana told her biographer Andrew Morton that she said: “Camilla, I’d love to have a word with you.”

At this, Charles and an unnamed male guest fled the room, and the two of them “shot upstairs like chickens with no heads, and I could feel upstairs all hell breaking loose”.

Diana said that although she felt “terrified”, she sat down next to Camilla and calmly said: “I would like you to that I know exactly what’s going on between you and Charles. I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Though she admitted to being “terrified” of Camilla, Diana recalled staying “deathly calm”.

She said: “The voice inside me had said, ‘just go for it.’”

Penny Junor, in her 2017 book, “The Duchess”, adds that “Camilla was furious that Diana should have made such a public scene”.

Source: EXPRESS CO UK