What did Queen Elizabeth really think about her son Prince Charles‘s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles?
She didn’t hold back, according to a new biography by British investigative journalist Tom Bower. In an excerpt published on Tuesday in the Daily Mail, the author claims that Charles — who carried on an affair with Camilla during his marriage to Princess Diana — confronted his mother about welcoming Camilla into the royal family during the summer following Diana’s death in 1997. Her response was brutally frank.
At the time, the Queen had drunk “several martinis, and to Charles’s surprise she replied forcefully: She would not condone his adultery, nor forgive Camilla for not leaving Charles alone to allow his marriage to recover,” Bower writes in Rebel Prince: The Power and Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles.
Bower claims the Queen even called Camilla “that wicked woman,” and said, “I want nothing to do with her.” Charles “tearfully” then called Camilla to inform her of his mother’s response.
Despite Charles having the support of his mother’s sister, Princess Margaret (who died in 2002), she would not budge. Things eased after that year when his maternal grandmother, the Queen Mother, also died — as she was also publicly skeptical about accepting the relationship.
The couple ultimately wed in 2005, but not without controversy, Bower says. Because their affair had been a factor in the breakup of both of their marriages, they were not permitted to marry in the Church of England, so instead they wed formally in Windsor Town Hall. (They then had a blessing at St. George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed on May 19.)
In the run-up to the ceremony, the Queen didn’t invite Camilla to ceremonies or official dinners and “even hinted that there was very little special Welsh gold left to make Camilla’s wedding ring,” Bower notes.
The Queen barred Charles’s close aide from organizing the reception and halted all talk of a glittering event for 650 people. Bower claims that Charles wallowed “in gloom” when a friend asked, half-jokingly, if the Queen might abdicate. Her son replied no.
“Can you imagine her looking out of the window of Clarence House and waving to me as I paraded in a carriage down The Mall?” Charles, 69, is said to have answered.
Since then, the Queen, 91, has publicly softened her stance on the marriage — and her daughter-in-law. She has invited Camilla, 70, to join her at various events, including the Windsor Horse Show, where the two women, who share an interest in horses, can be seen chatting enthusiastically about the animals.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.