«Tampaxgate»: the controversial scene in The Crown VS the real phone call between Carlo and Camilla

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As if it couldn’t get any worse for the royal family, in an episode of the fifth season of The Crown which chronicles what was arguably the worst personal year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign – between shattered child marriages and tabloid scandals, and the Windsor Castle fire – the Netflix series recreates one of the most humiliating moments of Prince Charles. In the episode “The Way Ahead”, which airs about two months after Charles finally became king, Dominic West And Olivia Williams rebuild the intimate 1989 telephone call between Carlo and Camilla which was recorded illegallythen years later printed and parodied all over the world, and nicknamed “Camillagate” by some, “Tampaxgate” by others.

The conversation

“God, I want to feel inside you, all around you, up and down in you,” says West, in the role of Carlo, reading excerpts from the actual transcript of the infamous phone call. “God, I just wish I could live in your pants, it would be so much easier.” “What will you turn into?” Laughs Williams as Camilla, “into a pair of underwear?” “Oh, God forbid, a Tampax”, Carlo jokes, “My luck.”

The Crown 5between criticism and controversy

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The fifth season of The Crown has already sparked criticism for debuting so soon after the queen’s death and, with 10 new episodes chronicling the British royal family from 1991 to 1997, is likely to bring back unpleasant scandals to the public’s conscience. Judi Dench asked that the series add a tab before each episode that makes it clear that these are dramatized episodes. (Netflix added a disclaimer to the description of the Season 5 trailer.)

Critics might be particularly upset by “The Way Ahead,” which particularly blurs the line between reality and fiction, given that some details of the episode’s incident (such as Camilla’s husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, who answers Carlo’s phone call) are invented, while others, like most of the transcription, are taken up word for word.

The biography also reports their words

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In a phone call with Sally Bedell Smith, who wrote about the conversation in Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, the biographer of the royal bestseller told a Vanity Fair: “It seemed more than ironic to me that when much of the series is invented – invented dialogues, invented scenes – it would take refuge in reality when it suited their purposes and belittled the royal family.”

If you look beyond bad language, Smith admits that the extended conversation – which was more serious than sexy – provided new and interesting insights into the relationship between Carlo and Camilla when it was first published in British newspapers in 1993.

“What I found fascinating was not so much the language they used, which opened the eyes of the heir and his fiancée, as the fact that it showed their dynamic:” He needed to be constantly reassured because he felt very vulnerable … She was very motherly to him. He was insecure. These are the things I have tried to point out [nel mio libro]. But I think it takes on a completely new and potentially harmful aspect when those words are recreated … ».

Private wiretapping

The original phone conversation was supposed to be private. In December 1989, Camilla was in the family home to talk to Prince Charles during the night. Her husband was away on business, according to Charles’ biography written by Smith, but her children were home for the holidays. And Prince Charles, who had just finished a grueling tour, was speaking from the house of a friend, Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster. Somehow, in a mystery that has not yet been solved, the audio of the call was captured. The official story is that a radio amateur stumbled upon the conversation with high-tech scanning equipment. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, As the tape surfaced in the month that a private phone call from Princess Diana was captured, with a high quality recording, the possibility has been raised that ‘British domestic intelligence agencies may have been involved in recording the original conversations and , for unknown reasons, have them leaked to the press ».

In January 1993, a few weeks after the end of the Queen’s “annus horribilis”, the British newspapers Sunday Mirror And People they published the entire transcript of the call. As if the transcript wasn’t overwhelming enough, a direct telephone line was set up to allow listeners to hear the actual audio. There were also cartoon parodies and television sketches: al Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey concluded the show playing Carlo in a tampax costume. Speaking of the impact the Tampaxgate had on Carlo and Camilla, Smith says, “It hurt him and her a lot. His popularity plummeted and people questioned his suitability to be king. ‘

Press comments

In 1993, The Observer she wondered, “Can a man who jokes to become his mistress’s Tampax actually become the king of England?” Can that man and the British monarchy survive the fact that these private secrets have become public and published all over the world? ‘

L’Evening Standard commented: ‘After 40 years of trying hard to do his best, and after 10 or 15 years of public service where the prince has offered us his views on everything from gardening to global warming … it must be It is disconcerting for him to realize that the general public probably remembers only two of his statements: his comparison of a proposed project to modernize the National Gallery as a “monstrous carbuncle” and his desire to reincarnate in Mrs. Parker Bowles ‘Tampax.’

The Los Angeles Times he added: “The man who will one day ascend the throne of the United Kingdom must distance himself from associations with infidelity and the Tampax jokes.”

Diana’s stepmother

Believe it or not, one person who publicly defended Carlo during the explosive aftermath of the phone call was Diana’s stepmother, Dame Barbara Cartland.

“It’s scary that people try to make believe that this shakes the monarchy,” said the actress quoted by The Observer, “This pseudo-constitutional fuss is idiotic. Speaking of Diana’s collaboration with Andrew Morton for a hot report the previous year, he added: “Now it is clear that [Diana] collaborated with the press. People who marry a royal family should be prepared to behave as such. Everyone has heard his version of his story and no one has heard his version. He is very unfair to Charles. ‘

At the time of the “Tampaxgate,” Charles “was totally silent” about the humiliating scandal. But the prince made a change during that time, according to those closest to him: “He put a sign in his dressing room that said, ‘Be patient and bear,’ and I believe that was his mantra.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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