Prince Charles’s New Unauthorized Biography Details Decade-long Battle with the Queen Over Camilla

Kenzie Bryant
“While Ma’am is away, the mice will play.”

Queen Elizabeth II, who you know and love from her appearance in history and The Crown, is a less-than-supportive supporting character in a new book. The Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion, and Defiance of Prince Charles is Tom Bower’s entry into the great tradition of unauthorized biographies of British royals. It includes naughty tidbits from the life and times of Princes William and Harry’s father, and they should all be taken with a large grain of salt. The Daily Mail published an excerpt on Monday that detailed the alleged push and pull between the Queen and her son over his Camilla affair.

The whole story is a lot of back-and-forth over the prince’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, which spanned decades and both of their first marriages. The fulcrum of the story began in 1995, after Princess Diana and Charles were separated, but a year before their divorce. Charles reportedly asked his mother to not interfere in his relationship with Camilla while they were gathered in the sitting room at the family’s Balmoral estate. Girded by “several martinis,” the Queen allegedly responded by “I want nothing to do with” that “wicked woman.” Queen “Head of the Church of England” Elizabeth hadn’t forgiven them for adultery, nor the contents of the 1989 “Camillagate” tapes, an eight-minute recording of their intermittently sexy bedtime exchange, according to Bower.

On Charles’s side was Princess Margaret (naturally), and a couple other go-betweens. None were successful in swaying the Queen. In fact she further punished him by relegating him to the lesser palace, St. James’s Palace, which is “cold,” over Clarence House (he eventually moved in after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, died in 2002).

Before the Queen finally relented and the couple tied the knot in 2005, they played a fun game, where Charles would invite Camilla to events and tinker with the seating chart, but not tell the Queen. At one such event, Charles was reported to have said to guests, “While Ma’am is away, the mice will play,” which is a very saucy thing to say indeed.

The whole exposé will be available on Thursday in the U.K., just in time to benefit from the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding induced Anglophile boost.