Royal Commentator Puts A Timeline On When The Princess Diana And Camilla Drama Officially Began

Love triangles are a staple in any good romance story, but few have gone down in history like the Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Camilla Parker-Bowles saga. Royalists are likely aware that Camilla and Charles carried on an extramarital affair while the prince was still married to Diana. And as the late Princess of Wales herself even told Martin Bashir in his controversial BBC Panorama interview: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." 

But there's a bit more to the story than meets the eye. Per Town & Country, the Duchess of Cornwall had established a relationship with Charles back in 1970, before he left the U.K. to serve in the Royal Navy — and by the time he returned, Camilla was engaged to her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles. When Charles proposed to Diana in 1981, there was a bit of an awkward moment when he was asked by a TV interviewer whether he was in love with his bride-to-be. He responded by saying, "Whatever love means." Perhaps he was still wrestling with his feelings for Camilla at the time?

Things went even more sideways when Camilla sent Diana a private message to congratulate her on her engagement to Charles. As reported by the Mirror U.K., Camilla's note read, "Such exciting news. Love to see the engagement ring." It's therefore safe to assume that tension between these two ladies was present early on. But when did the drama officially begin?

Princess Diana looked for Camilla in the crowd on her wedding day

Fans have long speculated about the drama between Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles — but as of October 17, royal commentator Julie Montagu put some of the public's questions to rest. In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, Montagu revealed that Diana was worried about Charles' relationship with Camilla prior to her wedding. "I think the fixation was always there in the back of her mind, but of course, I suspect it really started on the wedding day itself," Montagu told the outlet. "The fixation started on the wedding day because we know that Diana looked out at the enormous congregation with thousands of people. ... And she saw [Camilla], she looked for her and in one sense, it was looking at her saying, 'Right, he's mine. I've got him.'"

In hindsight, we now know that Diana's fears were justified. As she told interviewer Andrew Morton for his 1992 book, "Diana: In Her Own Words," she'd also discovered personalized jewelry that Charles had gifted Camilla (via Oprah Daily). Furthermore, while on honeymoon with Charles, Diana found "two photos of Camilla in his diary, in addition to cufflinks gifted to him with their initials 'C' and 'C' intertwined." It must have been devastating for Diana. 

Even as she looked for Camilla in the church to "feel comforted by the fact that she's at the vicar and Camilla's in a pew," as noted by Montagu, it was Camilla who ended up winning Charles' heart.