Fascinating Facts About William and Harry’s Forgotten Stepsiblings
Royal family trees often have a long and complicated history, so it’s no wonder that there are some forgotten siblings within the current house of Windsor. Princes William and Harry have a stepsister who not many people know about and a stepbrother who caused quite a bit of trouble in his younger years. Read on to learn more about William and Harry’s often-forgotten stepsiblings.
A Marriage Not Built To Last
Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, in what then was considered the “fairytale wedding of the century.”
It was no secret to the public that there was tension brewing beneath the surface of their marriage, which was known to be partly caused by Camilla Parker Bowles.
“There Were Three Of Us In This Marriage”
“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana would tell the BBC in 1995 about the issues in her marriage to Prince Charles.
The third person, of course, was Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles’s ex-girlfriend from the early ‘70s, who he never seemed to have gotten over.
Charles Pursued The Affair After His Sons Were Born
Diana had Prince William and Prince Harry in 1982 and 1984, respectively, which she cites as “some of the happiest years of her life.” But it all came to a halt when she suspected that Charles pursued an extramarital affair with Camilla.
Charles would later admit in 1994 that he and Camilla resumed their romance as early as 1986.
The Truth And The Tragedy
Charles and Diana finally divorced in 1996. Despite the divorce, the pair managed to remain civil in order to co-parent their sons.
In 1997, Charles sat down with his boys to explain his relationship with Camilla, tentatively trying to arrange for all of them to meet. This was put on hold following Diana’s death in the same year.
William And Harry Didn’t Want To Meet Her
William and Harry were very close to Diana, who was very hands-on in raising them. They were initially resistant to meeting Camilla, especially after Diana’s death.
Regardless, Charles quietly continued his relationship with Camilla and sought to rehabilitate her public image. He knew she needed to be seen with the boys, but it would take quite some time before they warmed up to her.
William And Harry Weren’t The Only Ones Affected
Camilla’s children are Tom and Laura, born in 1974 and 1978, respectively. Tom became one of Prince Charles’s godsons.
A little older than William and Harry, Tom and Laura were more aware of what was going on at the height of the drama between their parents.
The Princes’ First Meeting With Camilla
Their eventual first meeting with Camilla went over well, but it took a while for the princes to fully accept her.
It was an adjustment for everyone, Camilla’s children included. William, Harry, Tom, and Laura weren’t very keen on merging their families. In fact, they had a very hard time getting along.
William And Laura Could Not Get Along
“William and Laura used to have terrible fights over who was to blame for their broken homes,” writes royal biographer Katie Nicholl in her 2010 book Harry and William.
Nicholl adds, “William would blame Camilla for all the hurt she had caused his mother, which would send Laura into a rage. Laura was not having any of it. She would take a hard line and fire back at William, ‘Your father has ruined my life.’”
Laura Told Charles To Stop Calling
Whenever Charles would call Camilla on the phone, Laura would reportedly pick up and tell him to stop calling.
“She could care less that it was the Prince of Wales; she blamed him for breaking up her parents’ marriage and was not afraid to tell William so,” writes Nicholl.
Their Lives Were Invaded By The Paparazzi
Growing up, Tom and Laura also had to deal with the repercussions of their mother’s public affair with the Prince of Wales.
“When it first started we thought it was entirely normal growing up to have five or six paparazzi hanging around – we would go up there with binoculars and say, ‘Oh look mummy there’s five today,’” Tom revealed to A Current Affair in 2015. Unlike the princes, Tom and Laura didn’t receive training on how to deal with any of it.
They Still Tried To Live Their Lives Normally
Tom went on to say that despite being associated with the royal family, they continued to go about their lives as “straight-out commoners.”
“It was plain common sense, and I certainly learned the hard way through whenever I got into trouble for being caught with [substances]… I thought everyone else was doing it why can’t I do it but I found out soon why – it goes to the front page of the News of the World.”
They Hated The Media
Tom and Laura grew up with a certain disdain for the media. Tom referred to the media as “bullies” and added, “they made you very angry, and when you were 15 or 16, and you’re coming out of an airport, and they were really winding you up, and all I wanted to do was smack them in the face.”
Eventually, he and Laura overcame their uncomfortable situations and worked out their differences with William and Harry.
Eventually, William And Harry Warmed Up To Camilla
William and Harry developed their relationship with Camilla slowly over time. By the time Camilla and Prince Charles tied the knot in 2005, the boys had nothing but good words to say about their new stepmother.
After the nuptials, Harry told the BBC that Camilla is “a wonderful woman and she’s made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing.”
She Wasn’t The “Wicked Stepmother”
Harry went on to say that he and his older brother loved Camilla “to bits.” “To be honest with you, she’s always been very close to me and William… but no, she’s not the wicked stepmother. I’ll say that right now,” he said.
As for Tom and Laura, royal sources say that the kids were able to get along quite well when they let go of their painful pasts.
William Supported Laura On Her Big Day
It seemed that William and Laura, who initially had the worst spats when they were younger, also patched things up. This was evidenced by the fact that he, Harry, and Kate Middleton were all invited to Laura’s wedding in 2006.
Laura married aristocrat Harry Lopes, and they went on to have three children together.
Laura’s Daughter Was In William’s Wedding
Laura’s daughter Eliza helped serve as one of Kate’s bridesmaids at Prince William and Kate’s wedding.
Eliza, who was only three at the time, can be seen holding onto a toy snake in official royal photos of the wedding. The toy was given to her by her step-uncle Harry.
Tom Made Headlines Back In The Day
Tom Parker Bowles has been in the spotlight quite a bit for his part. After graduating from Oxford, Tom dabbled in film public relations and was a bit of a hard partier.
In 1999, he admitted to having a substance problem and was reportedly arrested after he offered some to an undercover officer.
Prince Charles And Laura Had To Set Him Straight
When he received the call from Prince Charles, Tom had to reassure his stepfather that he had never taken substances in front of his stepbrothers.
According to the BBC, it was his sister Laura that finally told him, “You’ve been a bloody fool. Pull yourself together.” Since then, Tom has mad an effort to shed his party boy image.
Tom Is Now A Well-Established Foodie
Tom Parker Bowles has since found a passion for food writing. He is also a published cookbook author and has served as a judge on cooking shows.
He is married to Sara Buys, an editor for Harpers & Queen and British Town & Country. They have two children together.
Laura Stays Out Of The Spotlight
Laura has understandably chosen to live her life out of the spotlight. Not a lot is known about her personal life.
What the public does know is that these days Laura is a working mother who has a successful career as an art curator.
Camilla Was The “Good Cop” Of Their Parents
Despite the drama surrounding their upbringings, Tom has recalled the happy memories he had of his mother growing up. “When I was getting a telling off for a bad report or something like that, my mother would be in the window behind my dad making faces,” he told 9 News Australia.
“You need the good cop and you need the bad cop, and she was definitely the good cop,” he added.
He Couldn’t Believe His Mother Was Put On Blast
When “Camilla-gate” broke out in which an intimate conversation between her and Prince Charles was leaked in 1993, Tom could barely handle the news.
“I sort of remember not looking at the paper… I just felt [expletive] off. I wasn’t going to read that sort of stuff about my mother, just as much as she wouldn’t want to read it about me or my kids certainly wouldn’t want to read it about me,” he once recalled to the press.
Camilla Cared About Having A Good Time
Tom went on to say that his mother Camilla loved to focus on him and his sister having fun, rather than disciplining them over serious matters like school.
“She just cared we were happy and she was happy that my father had the role of having to be the disciplinarian… She was always great fun, she still is great fun, she never worried,” Tom told 9 News Australia.
He Knew That Prince Charles Made Camilla Happy
Tom, who is the eldest of the four children, saw how happy his mother was with Prince Charles.
“All you care about your parents is they’re happy and my mother is exceptionally happy at the moment… [Prince Charles has] always been a kind and good and lovely man,” Tom said.
Tom Thinks The Royal Life Suits His Mother
At the very least, Tom is impressed with the way his mother has adapted into life as the spouse of a royal.
“My mother never really worked, except for bringing us up of course, and now, at an age most people are thinking of retiring, she is suddenly having up to 20 to 30 engagements a day. She’s brilliant at it, she’s always been brilliant with people,” Tom has once said of his mother.
Tom And His Wife Separated
In 2018, rumors swirled around him and his wife Sara, stating that they were separating.
“They are being very clear the separation is not final and they are not getting divorced. There is no one else involved. The concern of both Tom and Sara is for the stability and happiness of their children,” a source told The Sun.
They Have Opinions On Meghan Just Like Everyone Else
When American actress Meghan Markle joined the royal family as Prince Harry’s wife, Tom was asked about his thoughts.
“I think she’s wonderful,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. When asked what advice he’d give he said, “I think she should carry on what she’s doing.”