PRINCE CHARLES reportedly fell into a “deeper depression than at any time in his life” in the mid-Eighties – but, according to a royal biography, he was able to bounce back with some help from Camilla Parker Bowles.
Charles’ marriage toPrincess Dianawas riddled with difficulties, which many experts have put down to their 13-year age gap and completely different personalities. Their incompatibility only became more visible as the years went by. Both ended up turning to extra-marital affairs in an attempt to escape their failing marriage, and avoid public scrutiny.
Diana revealed her struggles during this period of her life in a bombshell interview with BBC Panorama back in 1995, but Charles remained significantly more tight-lipped about his experience.
In the 2007 biography, ‘Charles: The Man who will be King’, author Howard Hodgson examines how the Prince of Wales was suffering in silence, too.
Mr Hodgson explained: “His home life with the Princess was dismal; Mrs Thatcher and her government weren’t as receptive to his ideas as he would have liked; his courtiers were always cautioning him against upsetting her; the press ridiculed him; his father was unsympathetic; he had no close relationship with his mother; he still missed the guiding hand of Mountbatten; Anne had drifted out of his life; and his wife had banished most of his friends — and even his dog.”
The biographer continued: “He knew by his work in the inner cities that it was wrong to feel sorry for himself, but he couldn’t help it as his fragile self-confidence ebbed away.”
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles (Image: Getty)
Charles and Camilla started to confide in one another in the Eighites (Image: Getty)
He added that the heir to the throne “sank deeper into depression than at any time in his life” — apparently even surpassing the misery he felt at Gordonstoun boarding school, which he allegedly later likened to “Colditz in kilts”.
Mr Hodgson explained: “As his moods worsened he became increasingly temperamental and hard for his staff to please.”
Instead, Charles pushed himself to exercise as much as he could, hoping it would relieve his angst — although to the outside world, it looked as though he was prioritising the polo match instead of his royal duties.
At the time, he told reporters: “If I can get a game of polo I feel five hundred times better in my mental outlook.
Charles and Camilla pictured together in 1979, before the Prince of Wales courted Diana (Image: Getty)
“But without some form of exercise, I’m afraid to say I get terribly jaded and, well, not depressed, but below par.”
Mr Hodgson, however, remarked: “His friends thought this was a brave but ridiculously understated comment.”
The biographer explained how the Prince of Wales’ friends decided to put him in touch with his old flame Camilla Parker Bowles, even though the pair had not spoken in private since his marriage to Diana in 1981.
Their friendship blossomed quickly. Charles was able to confide in her about his troubled marriage, and she could talk to him about her difficulties with her allegedly unfaithful husband.
Charles and Diana’s marriage crumbled during the first few years (Image: Getty)
The Prince and Princess of Wales both started having affairs (Image: Getty)
Mr Hodgson explained: “It may be supposed that his previous close relationship with Camilla made this possible: he was certain that he could talk to her and whatever he said would remain secret.”
It was not long before they struck up a romantic relationship once again.
Camilla helped to “bolster his confidence” and make him realise he did make an impact on people’s lives.
Charles turned to polo in an attempt to escape his angst (Image: Getty)
Diana later claimed that Charles had been seeing Camilla throughout their marriage, although that has been disputed.
Their ongoing affair became a source of great pain for the Princess of Wales.
The couple eventually divorced in 1996, and Charles wed Camilla in 2005.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK