Amanda Platell: Why I've finally forgiven Camilla

Amanda Platell always felt a deep sisterly bond with Diana because their husbands betrayed them at the same time. Now, in words she thought she’d never write, she explains… ‘Why I’ve finally forgiven Camilla’

  • Diana separated from Prince Charles in 1992, and they divorced in 1996
  • Amanda Platell’s marriage fell apart in 1990 after her husband cheated on her
  • UK-based writer admits she wasn’t a good wife – working 6 to 7 days a week 
  • Explains why embittered ex-wives, like her, should embrace Camilla as Queen 

The news that Camilla has Her Majesty’s blessing to be the next Queen hit me with a jolt. It not only reminded me of poor Princess Diana’s death 24 years ago but, from the depths of my mind, it also rekindled a host of long-hidden emotions.

Because, for me, Camilla’s rise has always been intensely personal. Like Diana, I was cheated on by my then-husband.

And in the 80s and 90s, for jilted women of my generation, the Princess became our standard bearer. Unable to escape our own suffering, we clung to hers in solidarity. It was a sisterhood of sorrow — although with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps I should say victimhood.

Every time we saw Diana’s pain, we felt our own agony churned up all over again. And, my, how we hated Camilla, who symbolised for us the victory of the loathsome mistress. As the news sank in this week of Camilla’s triumph, I asked myself how Diana would have felt on hearing of it.

She would, of course, have been gutted to see her nemesis so glorified.

Amanda Platell explained why every embittered ex-wife who, like her, once clung to the Diana banner of the wronged woman should just get over it and embrace The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles (pictured)

What agony for the Queen of Hearts to learn that the woman who stole her husband’s affections would not just replace her as his wife but become a real Queen as well! Like so many women back then, I felt my life held extraordinary parallels with Diana’s.

I’m not saying I moved in royal circles, of course, or that I was anything like as beautiful and beguiling.

But she was just four years younger than me. And her glorious wedding took place in 1981 — I took the day off work to watch the fairytale ceremony even though I was an ambitious, shoulder-padded career woman — while I married in 1984.

We had both found our princes. And we both thought we’d keep them for ever. Then it all went wrong. Charles cheated on Diana; my husband cheated on me.

She separated from Charles in 1992; my marriage fell apart in 1990. She divorced in 1996; my own decree nisi had come though just a few years earlier. Both of us carried that burden of self-righteous suffering.

The narrative was quite simple. The husband has an affair and is condemned as a horrible man. The woman who sleeps with him is considered evil personified.

There are the endless nightmares in which your beloved and his mistress appear as a loving couple; and the times you wake up in a terrible sweat imagining them together while wide awake.

As any woman who has gone through this knows, the anguish is so searing it seems unbearable — and it lasts for years and years.

Princess Diana (pictured) separated from Charles in 1992 and divorced in 1996, while Amanda’s marriage fell apart in 1990

And yet, as those years passed and the grief faded, I found that my certainty about where the faults lay in my marriage began to crumble.

In the same way, my rigid view that Camilla was the fount of evil changed.

I questioned why we — the ‘wronged women’ — had never considered ourselves a tad culpable for the breakdown of our own marriages. I know I never did, until recently.

My change of heart has now reached the point where, having not seen my ex-husband in decades, I emailed him a few weeks ago to say I wanted to apologise. It was a hard message to write, finally admitting with the wisdom of age that I was as much at fault for our divorce as he was.

Yes he cheated on me, but he said at the time it was ‘a cry for help’ — something I refused to even countenance.

My response was to change the locks, shut him out of my life and file for divorce

But looking back now, I realise I wasn’t a very good wife —working six or seven days a week, leaving our tiny South London flat early each morning, not returning until late.

I stopped ‘seeing’ him, if that makes sense. I took him for granted.

How naïve of me to think the most beautiful man I had ever seen — drop-dead gorgeous, tall, clever and funny, someone I’d married with such hope on a clear blue summer’s day in Sydney, Australia — would be happy with half a married life while I got on with my career.

Amanda said looking back, she wasn’t a good wife —working six or seven days a week, leaving their tiny South London flat early each morning, not returning until late. Pictured: Amanda on wedding day in 1984

In that email, I told my ex-husband that I had now arrived at a place where I remembered only the good times in our relationship and there were so many — our first date at a Hall & Oates concert, backpacking across the world as newlyweds, arriving in London to an exciting new future and jobs (perhaps not so exciting for him).

And I confessed that perhaps I hadn’t been a very good wife. He was both surprised to get my message and heartened by the fact that I now shouldered some of the responsibility for our break-up.

I am sure that Diana made mistakes just as I did and, were she alive today, may even have admitted to her part in the disintegration of their marriage.

After that fairytale wedding, life for her became all about her new-found stardom.

Overnight the former nursery assistant turned into the most famous and photographed woman in the world, eclipsing her husband to her evident relish. Nor was Diana exactly a saint in the matrimonial stakes herself.

Add in her bulimia and mental distress, and it’s clear that Charles — though far from faultless — had a very difficult time too. It takes two not to tango.

Nothing can take away from the distress we all felt over Diana’s death on that awful August day in 1997, but fast-forward to 2005, when Charles took his new wife Camilla on their first official tour to America, and there were finally tangible signs of hope. For the first time, Camilla was by his side in an official capacity, wearing a royal tiara made for Queen Mary in 1911.

There was no sign of the glamour of those tours Charles made with Diana, but to our great relief the awkwardness and tension we associated with them had gone.

Amanda said the simple truth is that Diana married the wrong man and Charles has found happiness with the love of his life. Pictured: Charles and Camilla 

The America tour was dubbed The Fred and Gladys Show after their nicknames for each other, and they looked like any other middle-aged, happily-married couple.

It was then that I wrote it was perhaps time to forgive and forget. Even though I had been her most ardent critic, I said we should all accept Charles and Camilla as husband and wife.

My mailbag was soon bursting with letters from wronged women saying you can never forgive an adulterer.

Well, I beg to differ. You can, and I have. Others have too.

Ever since then, as I’ve written obligingly about Charles and his wife, I’ve noticed that the hatred of Camilla, the Cruella de Vil of mistresses, has softened.

Yes, there are still hardcore Camilla haters but frankly I defer to the Queen, who has resoundingly accepted her.

Let’s not forget Her Majesty has changed her mind, too — when she learned that her son was having an affair with married Camilla, she described her as ‘that wicked woman’ and banished her to social Siberia.

Yet as the years have passed, Camilla has withstood the ostracism and the barbs so many of us have thrown at her with grace and quiet determination.

She has stood by her man for decades and clearly made him happy. Little wonder our Queen has at last given her blessing to Queen Camilla.

The dwindling army of Camilla haters have punished her for long enough. The simple truth is that Diana married the wrong man and Charles has found happiness with the love of his life.

Thanks to the Queen’s wisdom, the future of the monarchy is settled: Charles will become King and Camilla his Queen.

May I humbly suggest that every embittered ex-wife who, like me, once clung to the Diana banner of the wronged woman should just get over it — and embrace Fred and Gladys.

Camilla and Diana shared a star sign — an irony that wasn’t lost on the Princess: by Diana’s friend and astrologer DEBBIE FRANK

  • Debbie Frank cherished her role as astrologer to Princess Diana for eight years
  • UK-based astrologer says Camilla and Diana both shared the water sign, Cancer
  • Reveals how the astrological charts long predicted the Royal Family’s destiny

Something about the Queen’s recent announcement that the Duchess of Cornwall will become Queen Consort when Prince Charles accedes to the throne feels written in the stars.

Although I have been an astrologer since the 1980s and will always cherish my role as astrologer, and friend, to Princess Diana — an eight-year professional and personal relationship that endured until her death — I don’t believe your life is totally written in the constellations.

But just as Prince Charles’s destiny has been to become king, it feels almost as strong that his destiny is to be with Camilla.

They are so intrinsically bound that this moment confirming Camilla’s influence behind the throne has long felt inevitable.

Debbie Frank, who cherished her role as astrologer to Princess Diana (pictured) for eight years, says the astrological charts predicted the Royal Family’s destiny

From all that I know — through observations, conversations and studying the astrological charts — Camilla has always had it in her to hold this position.

After all, she has rocked the monarchy to its very core — imagine having the power to come between the future king and queen. And it is, I believe, no coincidence that just as the recent alignment of the planets has foreshadowed a time of decision-making for the Queen, a time to put affairs in order, so too has there been something auspicious in the position of Camilla’s Pluto — the planet of power.

It is aligned with the Queen’s Leo Moon and has received Saturn’s defining stamp of approval in recent weeks.

It does not surprise me in the slightest that the time has come for Camilla’s role to be formalised, although it may shock some to learn I do not believe this is a role Camilla has sought out. On the contrary, her astrological chart, which I have examined, as I have for Prince Charles, paints a clear picture of someone who doesn’t seek out the public eye.

In this respect, she is almost the polar opposite of Diana, who was so sensitised to the position she was in that she struggled to manage her emotions. And yet, would you believe, Camilla and Diana share a star sign? The water sign, Cancer.

That fact was not lost on Diana, who followed a royal tradition set in motion by the late Queen Mother in her fascination with astrology. But the rest of their charts could not be more different.

Debbie said Camilla (pictured) is emotionally intelligent and knows what people need and she likes to nourish them, while Diana’s nurture spread far and wide

Charles and Diana, Scorpio and Cancer, are both water signs. But Charles’s Moon sign is Taurus, which makes him stubborn and also gives him a love of the Earth and nature.

Your Moon sign represents your emotional, private side, while your Sun sign is your outward personality, what the world sees. It’s crucial in a relationship to have compatible Moon signs, but Diana had a Moon in Aquarius, making her free-spirited and outward-looking. Spot the problem? Astrologically speaking, it didn’t work.

And then there is Camilla. The alignment of the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury in Cancer when Camilla was born in July 1947 was in what we call the 12th house, considered to be the hidden, private area (the birth chart is divided into 12 ‘houses’, each associated with facts of an individual’s life).

Put simply, this means underestimate Camilla at your peril, as she holds so much in reserve.

She is emotionally intelligent, she can read the room, she knows what people need and she likes to nurture and nourish them — but whereas Diana’s nurture spread far and wide, Camilla’s instincts are all focused on Charles.

Debbie (pictured) said Charles feels misunderstood by the world and Camilla is also deeply private, but together they will always share emotional intimacy

So Diana was extroverted and fun, Camilla more restrained and observant of protocol.

Diana had a passion and intensity about her which is plainly visible in her chart. Mars, the planet of her power and drive, is close to Pluto and Uranus, a signature that made her emotionally intense, and made it difficult for her to manage those feelings.Camilla has a more easygoing chart; while her focus is on her husband, she likes to talk to people about ordinary things — there’s no tantrum signature!

Curiously, she has the same royal signature, Leo rising, as Charles. Leo, the king of the jungle, has always been seen as the royal sign.

Charles is a complex man and feels misunderstood by the world; he doesn’t give away his feelings easily — Camilla is also deeply private, but together they will always share emotional intimacy.

She is the perfect support act, an endless font of nurturing and sustenance for Charles.

And in tying up loose ends, the Queen is recognising what her son needs and what the astrological charts have long predicted.

  • What’s Your Soul Sign? Astrology For Waking Up, Transforming And Living A High Vibe Life, by Debbie Frank, is out now (£12.99, Hay House).

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