The book comes more than 20 years after the breakdown of Charles and Princess Diana‘s tumultuous marriage. When the princess died following a car crash in Paris in August 1997, Charles’ plans to bring Camilla, with whom he had a relationship before and during his marriage to Diana, out into the open via a series of charity events had to be canceled as the mourning population would not have appreciated the woman dubbed by Diana as the “third person” in her marriage being pushed back into the limelight.
Investigative writer Tom Bower — whose book Rebel Prince: The Power and Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles is being serialised in the Daily Mail — says a year or so after the news of the tragedy in Paris, Charles, Camilla and their PR man and assistant private secretary Mark Bolland, met and agreed to a new plan: To “demythologise Diana by portraying her as a manipulative hysteric,” writes Bower.
The next step was to cooperate with author Penny Junor who was planning to portray Diana as “an unbalanced and unfaithful wife, suffering from a borderline personality disorder, who had compelled Charles to return to his true love,” Bower claims.
What followed was a trip to New York, including a reception where Camilla met high society movers and journalists. The former head of Charles’ charities in the U.S., Robert Higdon, is quoted as saying of Camilla: “For her to get up in the morning and survive until nightfall is a major effort.” (She was reported to be “the laziest woman to have been born in England in the 20th century” by another source.)
Higdon adds, “It was even hard for her to get out of bed. She tries her best to do nothing during the day. It was horrible, a disaster.'”
Although the campaign wasn’t without it’s hiccups, there was a gradual release of positive stories and the couple became confident enough to appear in public formally for the first time since Diana’s death – when they stepped out of the Ritz hotel in London in 1999, in front of hundreds of photographers.
Other claims in the book include that Camilla had newspaper and magazine cartoons that lampooned Diana in her downstairs bathroom.
When Diana died, Charles “dithered” about flying to Paris to bring the princess’s body home, and the Queen told him, “‘I think you should get out there.” Other courtiers have reportedly said that Charles insisted on making the flight against his mother’s wishes.
When Diana famously confronted Camilla at a party at the home of mutual friend Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Camilla “coolly” ticked off Diana for “‘unacceptable behaviour in a private house,'” reports Bower.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE