In love with the same man, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Princess Diana were never destined to be lifelong friends. Body language expert Judi James spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the foes’ relationship, as captured in the very few photographs they had together.
Judi began: “There are two sets of images of Diana and her arch-nemesis Camilla and they are equally iconic.
“The photos of Camilla lurking in the pews among the other guests on Diana’s wedding day look like an illustration from a fairy story as the beautiful young princess is watched on her wedding day by the woman since known for having her claws firmly embedded in the heart of the Prince that Diana is marrying: the woman supposedly behind Charles’s ghastly ‘whatever in love means’ comment during what should have been the romantic engagement interview.”
When asked by the media if they were in love, Princess Diana’s innocent “of course” was very much overshadowed by her husband’s somewhat bizarre answer.
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Regarding this moment, Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton reported: “You can actually see the light go out behind her eyes, she felt almost a world collapse.”
The Princess had known about her husband’s other relationship for some time: “We always had discussions about Camilla.
“I once heard him on the telephone in his bath on his hand-held set saying, ‘Whatever happens, I will always love you’. I told him afterwards that I had listened at the door and we had a filthy row.”
Aside from the wedding, the other instance the two love rivals were photographed together was at the 1980 Ludlow races, where Camilla was chosen to escort the younger Diana.
Rather than glowering at each other, the “intimate” posing between them “could almost pass as friendship”, if not an almost mother-daughter style bond.
Judi stated: “At the time the poses were judged on face value because we were all sold on this fairy-tale romance between a young woman and a dashing, if slightly crusty bachelor Prince.”
But what is striking about the two women together was their startling differences.
“Diana was getting papped for the first time during this period and her body language here made her look dazzling but vulnerable, like a hunted deer. Her head is down and her eyes are up to the camera while her mouth forms her signature shy, unsure smile.
“Her hands are either stuffed into her pockets in what looks like a desire to hide or they are clasped in front of her torso in a barrier gesture.”
Although it was “reassuring” that 19-year-old Diana had someone there to make her feel “less shy and anxious”, Camilla blended into the background against the backdrop of this new, younger royal, suggested Judi.
“Diana’s dazzle was so great that we barely noticed the woman she was with.
“At thirty-three years of age and clad in sensible, unflattering tweeds, Camilla looked like a lady-in-waiting who might have been chosen for her confident, maternal presence. She strode out beside Diana with her chin raised and her large bag clutched to her torso.
“While Diana stood facing her with her head bowed in fear, Camilla grinned openly at her as though trying to laugh off any sense of threat.
“And when they both stood in the stands their body poses looked mirrored, as though Diana was trying to copy the more confident pose of this woman who appeared experienced in surviving royal life.”
Camilla was trying to cultivate a “close” relationship with Diana, suggested Judi, possibly with ulterior motives, as exemplified when she sent a letter to the bride-to-be asking if she could see her engagement ring.
Judi concluded: “It’s sad to see the painfully young Diana who we knew was feeling isolated and lonely apparently finding refuge and support in the company of her romantic rival.
“On the surface the body language here suggests an ideal blend of a nervous girl with a reassuring and maternal-looking mentor. But the back-story places a totally different spin on it.”
In light of the affair and all that is now known about the “three-person marriage”, it is rather a somewhat sinister image, implied the body language expert.