King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, have had a long, famous, and loving relationship. The two were famously involved in an affair while Charles was still married to Princess Diana, one that captured newspaper headlines the world over.
Yet despite their troubles, the couple fought through the negativity directed at them. In May, they will become King and Queen when Charles is formally coronated.
Today, many have found renewed interest in the British Royal Family thanks to the television series The Crown. The show, currently in its fifth season, explores Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the many events that shaped it. It also highlights certain scandals that many might have forgotten about.
One such scandal was what many dubbed “Tampongate,” or “Camillagate.” In December 1989, a very explicit phone call between Charles and Camilla was secretly recorded and later leaked to the press.
It pretty much confirmed that the two had engaged in an affair, which naturally led to no end of drama for the Royal Family.
So what did Charles and Camilla talk about? Well, a few years ago, the full transcript of the private conversation was published. Suffice it to say that it’s rather juicy …
King Charles and Camilla’s relationship goes back decades. In fact, their love story can be traced all the way back to 1972, when they first met at a polo match.
In the book “Charles and Camilla Portrait of a Love Affair,” author Gyles Brandreth claims that Charles and Camilla were introduced by their mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the Chilean ambassador.
The couple dated for a while, but stopped when Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy. By the time he returned, Camilla was involved and engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles.
Bowles and Camilla married in 1973, but Camilla maintained a close and friendly relationship with Charles. Back then, the king had started dating 16-year-old Diana Spencer.
When Diana was introduced to the Bowles couple, Camilla thought the young lady was “sweet and cute” and approved of her. At first, Diana and Camilla got along well. But things soon grew uncomfortable.
“I met [Camilla] very early on. I was introduced to the circle, but I was a threat, I was a very young girl, but I was a threat,” Diana explained in the book Diana: In Her Own Words.
According to Prince Charles’ authorized biography, as quoted by Town & Country, Charles and Camilla’s affair started in 1986. Charles was still married to Princess Diana at that point. She found out about it – and confronted Camilla.
Things for Charles and Diana continued as usual, at least from the public’s perspective. But it wasn’t long before the couple’s fairytale life was over.
In 1992, the couple announced their separation, though both continued with their official royal duties. Four years later, in August of 1996, they reached a final agreement for the divorce.
By that stage, things had already reached the ears of the public regarding Charles’s relationship with Camilla. And what happened in December 1989 pretty much confirmed that they had actually been having an affair for years.
Just months after Charles and Diana formally separated, the press published a full transcript of a telephone call between the then-future King and Camilla.
The phone call revealed an intimate and sexual exchange between the couple. According to The Diana Chronicles, the person who recorded it had kept it for himself for years.
In his book Dogs and Lampposts, former Daily Mirror editor Richard Stott revealed that the Merseyside resident that had recorded the phone call had had “a few pints of lager and a curry and decided he would test out his latest gadget, an electronic homing device that picks up Cellnet signals.”
Charles happened to be staying close by, and the amateur radio enthusiast, by accident, picked up on his call. He recognized Charles’ voice from the beginning, though had no plans of handing the recording over to the papers.