Tom Parker Bowles, son of Queen Consort Camilla, has hit back at Prince Harry’s claim that his mother played an “end game” to become Queen.
Parker Bowles is the eldest child of Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles, who were married from 1973 to 1995. They also share daughter Laura Rose Lopes (née Parker Bowles).
On Thursday 20 April, the 48-year-old British food writer appeared on The News Agents podcast where he discussed Camilla’s marriage to Charles, insisting that she just “married the person she loved”.
“I think change happens but I don’t care what anyone says – this wasn’t any sort of end game,” he said. “She married the person she loved and this is what happened.”
His comments come after the Duke of Sussex labelled his step-mother as the “villain” in his highly-publicised memoir, Spare, which was released last January. In the tell-all memoir, Prince Harry claimed that the Queen Consort leaked stories about the royal family to the media to bolster her image as part of a “long game” for marriage and the crown. “I have complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who I thought had recently sacrificed me on her personal PR altar,” he wrote.
However, sources close to the Queen Consort have said that Camilla was “hurt” to be branded as the “villain” by Harry.
Asked if his mother would be anxious in the run-up to the coronation, Parker Bowles said it was difficult for her to take on such a role during the ceremony but “she’s never complained”.
“I think anyone would be anxious on an occasion of this sort of importance in terms of the historical. And yes, I think I’d be terrified if I had to sort of walk out wearing ancient robes … ” he said. “She’s 75, but you know, it’s tough to do it. But she’s never complained. You just do it. Get on with it.”
He said it was not really weird to think of Camilla as “the Queen”, “because she’s still our mother. I say ‘our’ but not the royal ‘we’, speaking for my sister and me. She’s our mother.”
His remarks reflect those made by Charles and Camilla’s former royal butler, Grant Harrold, who told The Independent that she would be “nervous” and “terrified” ahead of the historic event.
“[Charles] has done this for so long, the only thing that will worry him is that he is very particular and likes everything done and to go perfectly,” Harrold said during an etiquette event this week.
“He’ll be more focused on making sure everybody knows what they’re doing. He’ll trust his team, including the household team, the office, secretaries, he’s going to trust that they’ll get it right so that he just has to worry about making sure he gets the crown on the right way.”
The Duke of Sussex has confirmed his attendance at King Charles and Queen Camilla’s coronation on Saturday 6 May. In a statement, Buckingham Palace announced Prince Harry will attend the ceremony while his wife, Meghan Markle, will stay at home in California with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
“Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that the Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6 May,” the Palace said on 12 April. “The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
Prince Harry’s confirmation at the King’s coronation comes after months of speculation over whether the royal couple would attend the ceremony. It was reported that Harry was seeking an “apology” from Charles and Prince William before he made any commitment to the ceremony. Ahead of the publication of his memoir, Harry said in an interview that the “door is always open” for reconciliation.
In the same interview, Parker Bowles spoke about planned protests that are set to take place during the coronation on 6 May.
“Everyone has a right to think what they want,” he told podcast hosts Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel. “You know, we live in a, thankfully, a free country.”
Republic is an activist group that calls to “see the monarchy abolished and the King replaced with an elected, democratic head of state.” The group says its supporters will march along The Mall on 6 May, which the King will proceed down from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. The demonstrators have been known to carry yellow protest signs emblazoned with the words, “Not My King.”
When asked whether he was worried that anti-monarchy demonstrators would “get in the way” of the King and his mother’s coronation, Parker Bowles backed their right to protest. “If people want to protest, that’s their right to do so, I think,” he added. “If people protest, people protest. You’re allowed to protest, we’re all allowed to have different views. I think that makes for an interesting and civilised country.”
Republic is set to stage the largest protest action in its history by lining the coronation procession route and gathering in Trafalgar Square. From there, they will march down the procession route towards Westminster Abbey – the site of the coronations of England and Britain’s monarchs since 1066.
Additional reporting by PA.