The agony of seeing another woman try to take the place that their mother, Princess Diana was something the boys had to see when they were really young.
When the entire world mourned the death of Princess Diana, one of the most beloved royal ladies, there were two young boys, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old, grieving over the loss of their mother, tragically taken away from them too young and too soon.
But in the midst of having to deal with that grief, they also eventually, had to see someone else taking over as their father's partner and future wife. In 1997, Prince Charles sat down with his sons and talked to them about his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. And Prince William was particularly hesitant to meet her at the time. It was two months after this that they were faced with the death of Princess Diana, according to Popsugar.
For about a year, Prince Charles decided to keep his relationship low-key, looking out for the best interests of his children. But eventually, the boys could see how happy Charles was with Camilla in his life and decided to make the effort to build a relationship with, no matter how hard it presumably might have been for them. When Prince William and Camilla were left alone to talk for the very first time, royal author Penny Junor said, "About half an hour later, Camilla came out saying, ‘I need a gin and tonic!’" as reported by Express.
It took everyone a while to become comfortable with each other. And until then, there was some bitterness within the family. Prince William had a number of arguments with Laura Parker Bowles, Camilla's daughter. Royal author Katie Nicholl, wrote, "William and Laura used to have terrible fights over who was to blame for their broken homes."
According to Nicholl, a family friend said, "William would blame Camilla for all the hurt she had caused his mother, which would send Laura into a rage." Laura, too, needed her own time to cope with her new step-family, as Nicholl reported, "Laura was not having any of it. She would take a hard line and fire back at William 'your father has ruined my life.'"
But with time, Prince William and Prince Harry were able to build a better relationship with their step-mother as they grew older. Years later, Prince Harry opened up about how he and Prince William are close to Camilla. He described her as "a wonderful woman and she's made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing," according to BBC.
He added, "William and I love her to bits," and mentioned that "she's not the wicked stepmother".
By the time Prince Charles and Camilla exchanged wedding vows in 2005, the princes had a much better relationship with Camilla. Both Prince Harry and Prince William were the British royal wedding's equivalent of groomsmen and Prince William was the "best man" of sorts to his father.
However, there are speculations that their improved relationship is merely for the cameras and the public eye, while behind closed doors there is still distance between them. "In public, they are all smiles, but behind the scenes, they do not like Camilla and see little of each other," author, Tom Bower told New Idea. "This is partly because of what happened to their mother Diana, but also because Charles spent so little time with them when they were younger."
No matter what their relationship with Camilla might be, she may never be able to take the role of their mother, Princess Diana in the lives of Prince Harry and Prince William. Even after two decades, they still carry their mother in their hearts and always will. According to E! News, Prince William said in Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, "They always live with you, people you lose like that. My mother lives with me every day."