When it became apparent that Prince Harry was serious about his new girlfriend, Meghan Markle, King Charles’ wife, Camilla, was eager to help the American TV actor become accepted by the royal family and deal with rabid press attention and criticism, according to a new biography of Camilla.
“The queen consort knows more than anyone how difficult it is to become accepted into the royal family and wanted to help any newcomer,” author and royal expert Angela Levin writes in an excerpt of her new book, “Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: From Outcast to Queen Consort.” The excerpt was published in The Telegraph Thursday.
But Meghan didn’t seem interested in Camilla’s help after she moved to London in 2016, according to Levin. “She seemed bored, was unresponsive and preferred to go her own way, with the result that the queen consort’s advice landed on stony ground,” Levin writes in the excerpt.
Three days after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the publication of this excerpt of Levin’s book is certain to add fuel to speculation that rifts in the royal family may never be healed. While the family put on a public show of unity as they mourned their matriarch, who died Sept. 8, at age 96, reports before and after the funeral offer reasons for why the trust between Harry and his father, King Charles, and brother, Prince William, remains broken.
During Harry and Meghan’s time in the U.K. for the funeral, Meghan’s every move, fashion choice and expression at official events was endlessly scrutinized. Fans praised her beauty and strength in the face of a hostile monarchy and media, but her critics found reasons to say she appeared upset, angry or was engaging in what they say was her usual attention-seeking behavior.
Now comes this excerpt from an an author who has become a controversial figure in the industry of royal punditry. Levin is considered one of Harry and Meghan’s fiercest critics, with supporters of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saying that she helps to foment public abuse of the couple on social media.
Over the past week, I’ve noticed high-profile figures come to the defense of Harry and Meghan against the flagrant bullying, and for the first time, people like Angela Levin are feeling the heat. Even the UK press is being called out for their anti-Meghan coverage.
— Christopher Bouzy (@cbouzy) September 16, 2022
No doubt, there will be questions about if and how much Camilla participated in Levin’s biography, which reads as pretty sympathetic so far. Among other things, the excerpt in The Telegraph offers the queen consort’s perspective on the source of tensions between Harry and his father, and the animosity between the royal family and Meghan.
As Levin writes, the former Camilla Parker Bowles spent years being ostracized by the royal family and dealing with negative press attention and public insults.
She was the other woman in the demise of Charles’ marriage to the late Princess Diana, who famously proclaimed in a 1995 interview, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” When the globally beloved Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997, it was thought that the British public, and William and Harry, would never accept Camilla.
By the time Charles and Camilla married in 2005, William and Harry appeared to have come around, appreciating that she never tried to act as their new surrogate mother. At the time, Levin said Harry was quoted as saying, “She’s a wonderful woman and she’s made our father very, very happy … William and I love her to bits.”
Nonetheless, Camilla was never sure whether Harry wasn’t just being polite when he praised her in 2005, Levin said. An insider told Levin that Camilla “always felt quite wary of Harry and used to see him out of the corner of her eye looking at her in a long and cold way. She found it rather unnerving. Otherwise, they got on quite well.”
Fast forward to 2016, when Harry began to introduce his family to his new girlfriend, a mixed-race woman who was born in Los Angeles, co-starred on a TV legal drama and expressed interest in philanthropic causes.
“Camilla warmly greeted Meghan when she came to London,” Levin writes. “Prince Charles enjoyed talking to her, especially about the theatre and arts. Camilla felt the experience she had coping with public abuse, press insults and frostiness from the royal family put her in a good place to help Meghan adjust to the restrictions of royal life, and was equally keen to help Meghan find her feet.”
Camilla invited Meghan to lunches and spent a lot of time offering advice on how to handle the pressure, Levin writes. A source told Levin, “She doesn’t want to see anyone struggling and she is fond of Meghan.”
After Harry and Meghan married in May 2018, Camilla continued to offer the new duchess her support. One of Meghan’s first causes as a working member of the royal family was to contribute to the book, “Together: Our Community Cookbook,” which showcased more than 50 recipes from women from the Grenfell community, which had been devastated by the deadly 2017 fire at the Grenfell Tower in London.
To show their support for Meghan’s first solo project, Charles and Camilla invited her to a lunch at Highgrove, their country home. Camilla’s friend, Lucia Santa Cruz, told Levin: “As a surprise, Camilla went out of her way to make sure the lunch consisted only of recipes from Meghan’s cookbook, and that included a very hot salsa. It was a really nice gesture.”
But this gesture had “no impact” on Meghan warming to her role in the monarchy, according to Levin. In 2020, Meghan and Harry announced that they were stepping away from royal life and moving to California.
Recent reports say that Harry planned to write negative things about Camilla in his upcoming memoir, which was expected to be published later this year, but The Telegraph reported last week that Harry would delay its release until 2023, to respect the mourning period for the queen’s death.
A source told Levin that Harry’s father and stepmother have “become hateful in his mind” while “Meghan has been horrible about her too.”
Camilla believes that Harry’s negative feelings about her “could be part of his therapy process to relive certain things and he may want to blame someone else for his own mistakes,” a source told Levin. Another source said: “What has happened and how (Prince Harry) has behaved has been very upsetting for her. There have been a lot of hurt feelings all round, but like all families you have to embrace it all and hope it will improve.”