Their absence for large chunks of the year at boarding school also helped preserve their mother’s secret. Plus she was always there for them at half term and in the holidays. Yet now having been an entirely private wife and mother, Camilla was suddenly a household name she was painted not just as a Scarlet woman, but as one who had caused the Princess of Wales years of torment and pain. From then on, it became impossible for Camilla to leave her home without being photographed and then the poisonous letters began to arrive on December 9th 1992. Prime Minister John Major announced that The Prince and Princess of Wales had opted for separation but had no plans to divorce. The following month the Sunday Mirror published the transcript of a tape recording that was immediately dubbed Camilla Gate, it was a telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla, recorded in 1989. The sort of late-night chat that should never be overheard, it lasted 11 minutes and was undeniably genuine, but the recording wasn’t of one single conversation, it included bits of several conducted on different nights and spliced together. Charles would often phone Camilla late at night no matter where he was in the world, he felt better if he could hear her reassuring voice before he went to sleep.
The part of the tape that everyone remembers was embarrassing beyond words Charles was saying, he couldn’t bear being without her, he said I’ll just live inside your trousers or something, it would be much easier what are you going to turn into milah? Said with a laugh, a pair of knickers they both laughed oh you’re going to come back as a pair of knickers! Oh god forbid a Tampax, he laughed Just My Luck. Their conversation boosting Charles’s confidence telling him he was under estimating himself as usual, showing an interest in his work and making him feel good about himself which no one else did, and he in turn was tender and loving and passionate, telling her how proud he was of her and how her great achievement had been.
To love him Camilla was branded a marriage record, an adulterer while the serially unfaithful Andrew parker-Bowles found himself in the curious position of being the wronged husband. The harassment intensified, Camilla became the butt of lewd jokes, crude cartoons, and lurid headlines. She had disturbing phone calls at all hours of the day and night, she received abusive letters and became a virtual prisoner alone, for a lot of the time in a big house. In the country with no security life became horrendous not just for her, but for all her immediate family. How anyone comes back from that sort of public humiliation is hard to imagine. Most people would have been crushed by it, but Camilla internalized the pain and presented a brave face, she has a strong instinct for self-preservation. A tendency to put her head in the sand and not think about things that are too difficult. She also has an unerring ability to laugh even in the most terrible of situations, and her family are the same, they closed ranks rallied round and kept her spirits up her mother.