Much of the volume of media attention paid to Prince William and Prince Harry has focused on their alleged feud. However, that may be missing the mark completely. Might there be a feud, but one in which the two princes find themselves on the same side? When Prince Charles and Camilla tied the knot, they gained two half-siblings. Now, it seems like the real feud is between Harry and William and their step-siblings – Camilla’s two children.
Remarried at last
On April 9, 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles got married after a long relationship, which originated all the way back in the 1970s. The wedding took place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall and was followed by a religious service at St George’s Chapel. The Queen and her husband, interestingly, didn’t attend the civil wedding ceremony, but did attend their religious service, and held a reception for the newlyweds in Windsor Castle.
Charles remarrying has been a point of contention in the U.K. for years following Diana’s untimely demise. Now that he’s done it, though, William and Harry have gained two new half-siblings – whether they wanted to or not!
Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles is the daughter of the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex. From a very early age, Camilla socialized with many members of Britain’s Royal Family, so was already involved in a royal circle. In 1972, she met the young Prince Charles and were romantically involved, but their relationship didn’t amount to anything.
Initially, the public didn’t accept their relationship, but they still got married in 2005. That day, he became the stepfather to her two children; Laura Lopes and Tom Parker Bowles.
Laura Lopes is the youngest of Camilla’s children. The 41-year-old was educated at an all-girls school in Dorset, and later went on to study at a well-respected university in Oxford. Camilla always said that she wanted the media to respect her children’s privacy, which has led to Laura leading an extremely private life.
Laura married a gentleman called Harry Lopes. The couple has had three children together named Eliza (2008), and twin boys called Gus and Louis (2009).
Tom Parker Bowles
Tom Parker Bowles is the eldest of Camilla’s children. He is primarily known for being a successful food writer.
At 43, Tom has authored several cookbooks, works for The Mail on Sunday as their restaurant critic, contributes to Esquire magazine, and often appears as a judge on culinary reality shows. In 2005, Tom married Sara Buys. The couple have had two children – Lola, born in 2007, and Freddy, born in 2010.
Initially, Prince William and Prince Harry apparently disliked Camilla. They reportedly refused to spend any time with their stepmother, which would have inevitably put a strain on any potential relationship they may have had with their stepsiblings.
Camilla was going to have to work very hard, especially as both the public and members of the Royal Family, were still hurting after the passing of Princess Diana. A woman whom the crowds loved immensely.
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana was the first wife of Prince Charles and the mother of William and Harry. Diana had a very close relationship with her sons and broke royal ‘norms’ in raising them. She wanted to show her boys that there was more to life than the monarchy and more to life than being a Prince.
She spent a lot of time trying to protect their privacy and devoted everything she could to them. When she passed away, they were beyond devastated.
At 15 and 12, William and Harry experienced every child’s nightmare. After their mother’s passing, the Princes had to walk behind her coffin in front of millions of people. This is scarring, and a terribly damaging experience for any child to go through.
They had experienced numerous amounts of grief from the media, that their mother had always tried to protect them from. Now, without her support, they were having to face the press, seemingly alone.
The Princes were always exposed to the media. Everything they did, every movement, was documented. Diana desperately tried to protect them from their lack of privacy, and even allegedly told William on a number of occasions not to worry, because the cameras were there for her, not for him.
She was their protector, and their number one support system. Anyone that then ‘replaced’ her in their eyes, wasn’t going to have an easy time building a relationship with them.
As the eldest son of Prince Charles and Diana, William had a lot of pressure on him. This pressure was then heightened even more when his mother passed away. Although their family had been separated for a long time, he felt that his home life had become even more broken.
It was reported that William blamed his father for their mother’s passing, as he was all too aware of the affair his father was reported to have had with his lover, Camilla.
Prince Harry is the youngest of the two Princes. He was extremely protected by his mother, who wanted to ensure that Harry never felt second best to his brother, who was heir to the throne. Prince Harry was extremely close to his mother, making it almost impossible for Camilla to be a likable figure for him.
But, anyone who was seen as a potential stepmom for the boys was going to have a tough job with both of the princes.
Charles and Diana
Charles and Diana always had a seemingly strained relationship with one another. It was reported that the relationship was shrouded in deception, jealousy, and dislike right from the get-go. Before they were introduced, Diana looked up to Charles.
He was a ‘pin-up’ for her and her friends, and they all had crushes on him. However, nobody ever images that they would end up being husband and wife. Unfortunately, this marriage was far from a fairytale happy ending.
Jealousy and deception
Charles and Diana’s relationship was obviously closely watched by the media. Camilla was always a sensitive topic for the couple, as they both knew that they had a long history before Charles and Diana got married.
There had been a number of rumors and speculations regarding Charles and Camilla’s relationship over the years, which was frowned upon time and time again. This wouldn’t be a good start for any couple, let alone a couple that involved the future King of England.
The turning point
One particular story that was reported regarding the relationship between Camilla and Charles was recorded just before Charles and Diana’s wedding day. Allegedly, Diana saw a package that was addressed to Camilla on Charles’ private desk.
As any young bride would, she insisted on knowing exactly what was in the package. To her disbelief, according to sources, it contained a personalized gold bracelet for Camilla. She was heartbroken by this deception, and this was potentially the turning point in their relationship.
William and Harry
William and Harry will have grown up reasonably unaware of the gossip that surrounded their parents. However, as they got older and understood about the media more and more, they will have definitely heard the name ‘Camilla’ appear.
The boys could only be protected so far. It was reported that William was banned from reading the newspaper when he was at school. However, classmates still asked him questions that meant he heard rumors one way or another.
Despite being protected from the media, William and Harry were all too familiar with the name ‘Camilla.’ When his father announced their engagement, it was reported that Harry and William were not best pleased with their father’s intentions. It wasn’t only the media that had made Camilla’s presence with the boys known.
When their mother was alive, after she and Charles separated, she allegedly called Camilla ‘Charles’ woman’ in front of her impressionable boys. This would have had significant effects on them, so have the boys been able to build a relationship with their stepsiblings, who had nothing to do with the initial rumors?
Allegedly, Prince William would have terrible fights with his stepsister, Laura, when they were children. It was reported that they would blame each other for their broken homes, and it never looked as though a relationship would ever form between them.
According to sources, William relentlessly blamed Camilla for breaking up his mother and father, which caused tension between him and Laura. It would appear that they would bicker about who had the ‘worse family life,’ and neither of them would back down.
Taken a backseat
The relationship between Harry and his stepsiblings is substantially less documented than that of William’s. Harry appeared to take a back seat when it came to having anything to do with his new stepbrother and stepsister.
Although this would appear to be a good thing, it also meant that there was quite literally no relationship between them. However, over the years, people change. Time brings forgiveness and maturity, so what has this meant for their relationships?
In recent years, the Princes have grown substantially closer to their stepmother, Camilla. In an interview, it was recorded that Harry had said that Camilla was a wonderful woman, and he has realized over the years that she makes his father extraordinary happy.
He mentioned that the happiness she brings his father is the most important thing and that he and William love her dearly. Despite the dark history surrounding their relationship, the Princes now have a warm, respected, and loving relationship with their stepmother.
The little bridesmaid
Given that the relationship between the Princes and Camilla has blossomed over the years, it is no surprise that the relationship between the siblings has also mended. William and Laura no longer blame one another for their parent’s broken relationships and even have a fond friendship with one another.
It is really telling that Laura’s daughter, Eliza Lopes, was a bridesmaid at William and Kate’s wedding back in 2011. It was even reported that Harry brought a toy for her to play with, just in case she got bored of the big event.
Harry and Meghan
It is also no secret that Laura attended Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018. The royals don’t invite just anyone to their weddings, so we can assume that she has a fondness for both of the Princes, despite their past.
Harry appears to have wanted the history between the two families to be brushed under the royal rug, and build a relationship with his step-siblings, for the whole family’s sake. After all, he is a respectable Prince.
When Laura Lopes got married in 2006, the couple had a beautiful ceremony. Their wedding was not labeled as a royal wedding, however, their guest list may suggest otherwise. The ceremony was attended by Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto, Prince Charles, and last but not least her two stepbrothers, Prince Harry and Prince William.
It was also an interesting observation that the couple invited William’s then-girlfriend, Kate, to their wedding as well. Clearly, they were all wanted to show their support for the couple.
Brothers and sister
The siblings all seem to get on perfectly well now and have built a relationship despite the initial tension between the two sets of siblings. It would appear that when they stopped blaming one another for their painful pasts, they all got on pretty well.
Don’t let the media fool you, Harry and William very rarely speak about their brother and sister, but this isn’t because they are on rocky terms. Instead, the princes respect their siblings’ privacy and avoid talking about them publically to respect their wishes. Despite a dark history, the boys really did gain a brother and sister.
The dirty details
In her book Harry and William, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl gives more details about how the two pairs of siblings went from pointing fingers at each to being able to coexist in peace and eventually become one family.
It wasn’t easy. As we’ve seen earlier, William relentlessly blamed Camilla for breaking up his parents’ relationship. But on the other side of the equation, Laura also blamed Prince Charles for breaking up the marriage between her mother and father.
Not afraid to speak her mind
Apparently, Laura was so angry with the dissolution of her parents’ marriage, she couldn’t care less she was dealing with the Prince of Wales – she would give him a piece of her mind whenever she had the opportunity.
Katie Nicholl reports in her book that when Charles called Camilla on her family home, Laura would pick up an extension and shout at him, ordering the Prince to “stop calling mummy and leave our family alone.”
A surprising statement
With time, they were all able to be kinder with one another, and eventually feel like they could happily be a part of each other’s lives. But that doesn’t mean they feel as though they’re equals.
Camilla Parker Bowles’ son, Tom Parker Bowles, was recently a guest on “Good Morning Britain.” There, he gave a rare statement that he probably meant as a way to quench people’s curiosity, but only made them more eager to know what goes on with the Royal Family…
Not one of them
The statement was about his and his sister Laura’s relationship with the royals – Tom said he and Laura are “not quite part of the Royal Family.”
But while this may sound like there’s a problem within the family, that’s not really the case. What Tom was referring to was the fact that before she married Prince Charles, his mother wasn’t a royal, and therefore, her two children haven’t been given any royal titles or royal roles.
Who knows what the future might hold
“My mother married into it. She’s part of it,” Tom said, adding that he and his sister are “just one the side,” as they’re the “common children.” However, it’s been suggested that this might change in the future.
There have been rumors that once he ascends to the throne as King, Prince Charles may bestow royal titles upon his stepchildren. The claim hasn’t been confirmed by the Palace, but who knows? Maybe one day they will not only be family – they’ll be one big Royal Family.