It was taped in 1989 while Charles and Camilla were still married to their spouses, and saw Camilla suggesting the King should become a box of tampons so he could live inside of her.
Three years later, following the separation of Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, the Daily Mirror published the transcript.
It came after the release of Andrew Morton’s tell-all biography of Diana, so Charles and Camilla’s affair was already known to the public. But the content of the steamy conversation still made headline news across the country.
According to Diana’s former personal protection officer Ken Wharfe, the backlash to the tapes was “savage”.
In his 2017 book, Guarding Diana: Protecting The Princess Around The World, Mr Wharfe wrote: “The backlash was savage. Establishment figures normally loyal to future King and country were appalled, and some questioned the Prince’s suitability to rule.”
He continued: “Cartoonists lampooned him in the press. One cartoon, featuring him talking dirty to his plants, particularly amused [Princess Diana], who collapsed into fits of giggles on seeing it.”
During their intimate telephone conversation, Camilla said: “I can’t start the week without you.” Charles replied: “I fill up your tank.”
One of the most peculiar jokes inspired the moniker ‘tampongate’ — during their racy chat, Charles told Camilla he wanted to be her tampon, saying: “Oh God. I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier.”
Camilla responded: “What are you going to turn into, a pair of knickers? Oh, you’re going to come back as a pair of knickers.”
This exchange was followed by jokes about Charles turning into an entire box of tampons and of being “chucked down the lavatory.”
They signed off the phone call by confirming how they love one another, and Charles even told Camilla: “Your great achievement is to love me.”
She replied: “I’d suffer anything for you. That’s love. It’s the strength of love.”
The recording of the private phone call was said to have been made by a radio enthusiast who was using a hi-tech scanning device.
After its publication in the Daily Mirror, other British tabloids ran the story with headlines ranging from “Camillagate” to “Charles and Camilla: the tapes”.
The tapes reportedly triggered the divorce of Camilla and her first husband Andrew Parker-Bowles, who was said to have been “publicly humiliated” by the leak.
The pair divorced in 1995 after two decades of marriage, but have remained good friends and co-parents to their children, Laura and Tom.
In 1996, following months of negotiations and two bombshell interviews, Charles and Diana announced their divorce.
“No The Crown did tampongate! This is awful oh god the King of England everybody,” one person tweeted, while another told viewers to “please brace yourself”.
“HOW am I learning about Tampongate through The Crown, and not through some annual story telling ritual from the generation above me. This is vital nation building information,” one person asked. Another added: “A full and dramatic recreation of tampongate in The Crown, this is actually incredible. I love this show so much.”
Guarding Diana – Protecting The Princess Around the World by Ken Wharfe and Robert Jobson was published in 2017 by John Blake Publishing and is available here.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK