Royal U-turn? How Diana arranged ‘friendly lunch with Camilla’ before pair became enemies

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PRINCESS DIANA was known to resent her love rival and Prince Charles’ mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, but an unearthed biography revealed how the two once had a friendly lunch together.

Diana and Charles only met a handful of times before he asked her to be his bride in 1981. Both he and his close friends thought she was an ideal match for him as the heir to the throne — including his former flame Camilla. The two of them had a brief fling in the early Seventies, only to resume it again in 1979 — but both of them had always been aware that Charles intended to be loyal to the woman he took as his wife.

Writing in his 2007 book, ‘Charles: The Man who will be King’, he explained how Camilla attempted to welcome Diana after it was announced she would soon be the Princess of Wales.

Camilla left her a note, saying: “Do let’s have lunch soon when the Prince of Wales goes to Australia and New Zealand.

“He’s going to be away for three weeks.

“I’d love to see the ring. Lots of love, Camilla.”

Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana

Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana (Image: Getty)

Camilla and Charles resumed their affair in 1979

Camilla and Charles resumed their affair in 1979 (Image: Getty)

Mr Hodgson commented: “It was genuinely friendly and the intentions were good.

“She and Diana had by now got to know each other quite well and Camilla thought they were friends.

“She wanted to support her because she thought she was fun and made the Prince happy.”

However, the women’s later recollections of the lunch contrast dramatically with one another.

Lady Diana Spencer was thrust into the spotlight when she was just 19 and became Charles' fiancee

Lady Diana Spencer was thrust into the spotlight when she was just 19 and became Charles’ fiancee (Image: Getty)

Diana claimed that Camilla used the lunch to find out if she liked horse riding and intended to hunt on horseback when in Highgrove.

She believed this was an attempt from Camilla to discover when she might be able to see Charles without his then-fiancee interfering.

A decade later, Diana told her biographer Andrew Morton: “Bearing in mind that I was so immature, I didn’t know about jealousy or depression or anything like that…”

Diana said: “I thought as far as she was concerned that was her communication route. Still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way.”

Diana and Camilla pictured together before Diana's wedding

Diana and Camilla pictured together before Diana’s wedding (Image: Getty)

The Prince of Wales thought Diana was a perfect match as a potential wife

The Prince of Wales thought Diana was a perfect match as a potential wife (Image: Getty)

Camilla instead reportedly remembers the lunch as being “entirely friendly” with Diana on “sparkling form” and showing off her ring, according to Mr Hodgson.

He added: “There were no tricky moments at all.”

Biographer Tina Brown, in her 2007 book ‘The Diana Chronicles’ recalled a particular conversation with Camilla’s former brother-in-law Richard Parker Bowles which provides an alternative explanation as to why she was “pro-Diana”.

She claimed that Camilla appeared to “initially encourage the relationship between Charles and Diana because she thought Diana was gormless”.

In a 1985 Vanity Fair article, Ms Brown expanded on her point.

Diana claimed in her 1995 Panorama interview that

Diana claimed in her 1995 Panorama interview that “there were three of us in this marriage” (Image: Getty)

She explained that Camilla saw Diana as “the blushing little Spencer girl” and had “deduced she was not going to give them any trouble” if they continued their affair.

However, Diana became incredibly jealous over Charles’ relationship with Camilla.

She revealed in later life that she had one confronted her husband’s lover and asked her to leave her family alone.

The Princess of Wales claimed she had said to Camilla: “I know what’s going on between you and Charles, and I just want you to know that.”

Camilla allegedly replied: “You’ve got everything you’ve ever wanted.

“You’ve got all the men in the world falling in love with you, you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?”

Diana said: “I want my husband.”

However, the two did not stop their affair, and in her infamous 1995 Panorama interview, Diana said: “There were always three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Source: EXPRESS CO UK