Christopher Andersen, author of a new royal biography of three powerful Windsor women—the Queen, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Kate Middleton—has lifted the lid in dramatic style on what he claims is Camilla’s hostility to Kate and her mom, Carole.
In his compelling book, entitled Game of Crowns, which is released today, the best-selling royal writer explores the complicated dynamics and rivalry between the three women.
The story that’s attracted a great deal of attention is his bold claim that Camilla Parker-Bowles attempted to drive a wedge really between Kate and William, and encouraged Prince Charles to urge his son to break off the relationship.
It was certainly a headline-grabbing claim, so where did he hear this salacious gossip?
“I’ve been covering the Royal Family for 40 years,” Andersen tells The Daily Beast, speaking by phone from his New York City home, “First for Time magazine and Time Incorporated and then in the course of writing books. This is my fifth book on the Royal Family, and the other four were all New York Times best-sellers.
“I have people telling me information about what’s going on behind the scenes—some on the record, some not—and I’ve always protected them and they’ve been wonderful.
“I was in London when the breakup [of William and Kate] occurred.
“I was shocked, completely stunned, everyone thought it was only a matter of time before William was going to ask Kate to marry him.
“And then people started telling me that Camilla was behind it.”
To fathom why Camilla would want to break up Will and Kate, says Andersen, you have to understand that “Camilla is a bit of a snob.”
“She’s an aristocrat, she has always been moving in Royal circles. She had always thought of herself as the heiress to Alice Keppel, her great-grandmother, who was the mistress of Edward VII. She was very proud of that connection, she boasted about that as a child and as an adult and that’s what she intended to be; part of the Royal circle in the role of mistress to the future king, and then the king.
“She did not look at Kate as someone who was worthy of joining the Royal Family. Kate is the first working-class woman to be accepted into the Royal Family. She is descended from coal miners and her mother was a flight attendant. So for all those reasons Camilla never really felt that Kate Middleton as an individual and the Middleton family as a whole were going to be worthy of entering into the Royal Family.
“I was told at the time of the breakup, and later on as well, that Camilla basically whispered in Charles’s ear that it was really time to make—to force—William to make a decision one way or the other.
“It has been since confirmed publicly that Charles did suggest to William that he either make a commitment to Kate or basically set her free, as it were. Now, his motives for doing that may have been pure but Camilla’s…not so much. She was the instigator of this.”
Camilla’s alleged plan to shoo Kate off the scene backfired spectacularly when, after just a few short weeks of separation, William decided he could not be without her.
Andersen says that immediately after William broke up with her via cellphone, Kate turned to her mother, Carole, for support.
“Carole Middleton engineered the romance between Kate Middleton and William. It was Carole who urged her daughter not to go to Edinburgh University but to St Andrew’s, it was Carole who was constantly at Kate’s side every step of the way, leading her through that courtship with William, and when the breakup occurred, it was Carole Middleton who came to her daughter’s rescue; Kate was ready to fold up her tent, but Carole Middleton convinced her to go out there and basically make William jealous.
“It was a strategy that worked. There were all these wonderful photographs of Kate standing in the bow of the ship in the all-women’s boating regatta, and the pictures of her dancing in discotheques and cuddling up to other men and that sort of thing. It made William insanely jealous right away and of course he wanted her back.”
Carole may not be included in the title of the book, but she is a powerful presence throughout it. Andersen details the determined way in which she has made her way into the heart of the royal establishment, no mean feat given the hostility she has encountered.
“Early on in the relationship, there were many derisive comments made about Carole’s ambitions, about her chewing gum at inappropriate times, using language that was not quite right. A lot of this was stuff leaked by Camilla and her minions and handlers.
“You have these competing camps of rivals here. On the surface everything is copacetic. Everything is all smiles and warmth and congeniality, but beneath that are the different warring factions.
“Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s cousin, put it perfectly when she said there’s nothing cozy about the relationship between, for example, the Queen and Charles, because the family isn’t set up to be cozy. Those attributes don’t necessarily apply to the Royal Family.
“So the Middletons are viewed as interlopers to some extent by Camilla. She and Charles have complained that they don’t have the kind of access to Charlotte and Princess Charlotte and George that they would like. Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton are very much in the grandchildren’s lives. When William and Kate went to India last week, for example, it was Carole Middleton and Michael who basically took care of George and Charlotte.”
Have the old guard, as represented by Camilla, accepted the Middletonisation of the Royal Family?
“Right now, in the war over the hearts and minds of the people, the Middletons are winning. And they are the primary influence in the lives of both William and Kate.
“People in Camilla’s camp have certainly fed information to the press and information that’s not exactly flattering about Kate Middleton and specifically about Carole Middleton, Kate Middleton’s family. So it’s a subtle war but it’s an ongoing one.
“But William and Kate really are the future of the monarchy. And I think the Queen realises that better than anyone.”
And if she has any sense, Andresen’s unspoken message is, Camilla had better cop on too.