Awkward Prince Charles Moments That Were Caught On Camera12/22/2020
Prince Charles has been in the public eye since the moment he was born. The eldest child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip — and the heir to the British throne — Charles has spent his entire life in the spotlight. From his bachelor days to his marriage to Princess Diana Spencer, the birth of his two children, and his second marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles hasn’t been able to avoid the press, the cameras, or the attention from the public.
While it is very difficult to imagine just how challenging a life in the public eye can be, Charles has had his fair share of awkward slip ups, awkward comments, and downright tense public conversations. In his younger years, his failing marriage to Spencer resulted in some very awkward moments (both on and off the camera), and sometimes the prince didn’t even have to say anything: The body language spoke for itself.
We went through Charles’ life and his many, many moments in the public eye and tracked down the most cringeworthy and tense interactions out there. Some are painfully funny, while others are downright uncomfortable. Here are the awkward Prince Charles moments that were caught on camera.
Things got so awkward when Prince Charles made this comment about his future wife, Diana Spencer
Things started off on a bad footing. Speaking to the press after his engagement to Diana Spencer was announced, Prince Charles made the most uncomfortable comments about his bride. As noted by Harper’s Bazaar, the newly attached couple were told by a journalist that they, “both look very much in love.” Spencer replied, “Oh, yes. Absolutely.” But Charles’ answer that followed stopped us in our tracks. “Whatever ‘in love’ means,” he said. Um … yeah, we’ll let that speak for itself.
Charles’ comment sparked a revival in controversy after the fourth season of the hit Netflix show The Crown became available for streaming, as the painfully awkward moment was included in the show. It seemed like some people just couldn’t believe that Charles actually said that comment in person, but as Harper’s Bazaar noted, it all happened. To make matters worse, Charles kept talking, and said that being “in love” is up to “your own interpretation.”
“Charles turned around and said, ‘Whatever in love means,’ and that threw me completely,” Spencer said in a later (secretly recorded) interview. “I thought, ‘What a strange question — uh, answer.’ God, absolutely traumatized me.”
Prince Charles caught on audio tape: The Camillagate tapes wrecked the royal family
This caught-on-tape moment between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles completely rocked the royal family to its core when it was leaked. As noted by The Mirror, a transcript of a 1989 phone conversation between Charles and Parker Bowles was released just a month after he and Diana Spencer announced their official separation in 1992, and brace yourselves because it is bad.
The pair, whose friendship and continuing affair seemed like the worst-kept secret, exchanged sentiments like the following: “I can’t bear a Sunday night without you,” from Parker Bowles and, “Oh, God. I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier,” from Charles (very appropriate for a married man with two children). Some of the conversation is far more raunchy, and you can still read the transcript today if you feel like it (although we can’t recommend it).
The scandalous leaked audio was given the nickname “Camillagate” and was one of the first concrete pieces of evidence of the relationship between Charles and Parker Bowles that the royal family was exposed to. Spencer called the conversation “sick.” We don’t blame her.
It was the moment not caught on camera that did not bode well for Prince Charles
Perhaps no photo of Diana Spencer is more recognizable than when her sitting in front of the Taj Mahal. It is a tragic photo, and it was the uncomfortable dynamic not caught on camera that spoke volumes. As noted by the BBC, Spencer visited the monument in 1992 while Prince Charles was on “diplomatic work elsewhere” in the city. As noted by People, Spencer was asked by the press about her experience at the Taj Mahal and what she would be taking away from her visit. “It was a fascinating experience — very healing,” she said, but when pressed for a more explicit answer, she said, “Work it out for yourself.”
Apparently, the whole ordeal made Charles incredibly angry, and it most likely threw even more fuel on a marriage that was already going up in flames. “That picture of her as a lonely, neglected, beautiful girl who didn’t have anyone to love her back just broke everybody’s hearts,” journalist Tina Brown told Express. “She knew what she was doing. And it made Charles absolutely crazy.” The couple officially split later that year.
Talk about awkward: This on-tape interview with Prince Charles in 1994 was so uncomfortable
Prince Charles clearly did not like speaking about his marriage to Diana Spencer or addressing the very rampant rumors about infidelity, but that didn’t stop Jonathan Dimbleby from asking the heir to the throne about his rocky marriage in a documentary interview in 1994. The caught-on-camera moment saw a very uncomfortable Charles when Dimbleby leveled this charge against him.
“The most damaging charge that is made in relation to your marriage is that because of your relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles,” Dimbleby said. “From the beginning, you were persistently unfaithful to your wife and thus caused the breakdown.” Charles did not like that, and in the clip which can be seen here, he visibly squirms at the question.
“These things are so personal. All I can say is that there’s been so much speculation,” Charles said. “Mrs. Parker Bowles is a great friend of mine, I have a large number of friends that I am terribly lucky to have … When marriages break down, awful and miserable as that is, it is most often that your friends are the most important and helpful and understanding.”
Call it a funny gaff, but Prince Charles seemed to snub this U.S. politician in an awkward encounter
Moments like these tend to go viral, and that was the case when Prince Charles seemingly snubbed Vice President Mike Pence at an event honoring the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Caught on camera, Charles is seen shaking hands down a line of world leaders and dignitaries but completely skips over Pence, causing the veep to give the prince a very awkward pat on the back of his arm as he walks past.
According to the BBC, the snub was by no means intentional, and the palace released a statement after the fact clearing up any confusion. Charles and Pence had a “long and warm conversation” before the ceremony took place, so while it looked like there was some tension there, there apparently wasn’t.
It wasn’t the first time that a member of the Trump administration got into awkward press coverage with the royal family. As noted by the BBC, President Donald Trump got into uncomfortable territory when the Queen was waiting for him to arrive — reportedly looking at her watch while waiting for his entrance. Awkward.
Prince Charles let out a little yelp during this funny yet painfully awkward moment
Talk about an awkward moment. While visiting the Orokonui Ecosanctuary in New Zealand in 2015, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles had a bit of a run-in with an unruly bumblebee. They were seated in front of photographers, the prince holding a tuatara reptile, when a bee came out of nowhere and got a little too close for comfort.
As noted by Sky News, the bee made its way over the Parker Bowles first, who shooed it out of the way. It made a beeline (pun intended) for Charles, who let out a yelp as the buzzing creature approached him. We’d be lying if we said that we never screamed and ran out of the flight path of a buzzing bee or wasp (or anything that flies around and can sting you), but the caught-on-camera moment between the heir to the British throne and a tiny bumble bee was too funny.
As Sky News reported, “After what was only a split second — but might have felt a lot longer to Charles — the bee flew away and the prince visibly laughed with relief.”
Things got extremely weird when Prince Charles met this iconic girl group
It was like two fandoms had united when Prince Charles met The Spice Girls, but things between the royal and the “Wannabe” singers got awkward. As noted by Time, Charles met the British superstars in May of 1997 at a royal gala performance honoring his charity. It was The Spice Girls’ first “big British gig,” and given that “Wannabe” was sitting at number one on the U.K. charts at the time, it was no wonder that they were invited. But things went downhill quickly.
Spice Girls members Mel B and Halliwell both broke royal protocol when they kissed Charles on the cheek. Mel B continued to take things further when she asked Charles if the group could “score a dinner invite,” and to top it off, she recommended to him that he get his tongue pierced. Ginger then chimed in and told Charles that she thought he was “very sexy” and proceeded to give a “pat” on the butt — it was originally reported that she had pinched him, but the story changed. Seems like this was all too much for the heir to the throne to handle.
The awkward tension between Prince Charles and Diana is off the charts in this caught-on-camera interview
Just days before the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, the couple sat down with the BBC. What could’ve been a glimpse into the romantic world shared between them was actually one of their most awkward moments, and the BBC’s Angela Rippon — one of the two interviewers — looked back on the sit-down in 2020 with a much different perspective.
“Watching the interview now, in the light of these revelations, a number of moments which we dismissed as ‘shy Di’ gestures or good-natured joshing are freighted with meaning,” Rippon wrote in The Telegraph. “I brought the interview to a close by thanking them both and saying, in effect, ‘On behalf of the whole nation, our warmest congratulations to you both. And we all wish you a long and happy life together.’ … She looked away to the left and down at the floor … Today, I read that reaction quite differently, and with genuine sadness.”
You can watch the full interview, but Rippon’s words capture the awkwardness between Charles and Spencer and, in hindsight, are a sad precursor for what was to come.
Prince Charles awkwardly forgot to kiss Diana Spencer on their wedding day
It seemed like everyone in the United Kingdom was celebrating on the day that Prince Charles and Diana Spencer got married, all except for two people — Charles and Spencer. As noted by Oprah Magazine, Spencer was extremely apprehensive about the wedding and wanted to call it off, mostly because she had found out about Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
“At the time he was seeing Camilla, Diana had lunch with her sisters at Buckingham Palace and discussed her predicament with them,” wrote Andrew Morton in Diana In Her Own Words. “She was confused, upset, and bewildered by the train of events. At that moment, as she seriously considered calling off the wedding, they made light of her fears and premonitions of the disaster which lay ahead.”
To top off an already very awkward and uncomfortable day for the couple, Charles reportedly forgot to kiss Spencer at the end of their wedding ceremony and only did so when they were later standing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace as they were being urged on by the public. Not a great way to start off a marriage.
Prince Charles vs. bald eagle — this awkward moment was caught on camera
It seems like some of Prince Charles’ funniest and most awkward moments have to do with an animal of some kind. While attending the annual Sandringham Flower Show, Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles came face-to-face with a four-year-old bald eagle named Zephyr, and the photos of the interaction are too good to be true.
The royal couple were talking to Zephyr’s handler when the massive bald eagle flapped his wings and caught the prince and his wife by complete surprise. And given that a bald eagle’s wingspan can be as wide as eight feet, it’s no wonder that the caught on camera moment saw a very disturbed looking Charles and a very thrown-off Parker Bowles.
As noted by People, Charles and Parker Bowles had met Zephyr at the flower show the previous year, but he didn’t show off for the royal couple during their first encounter. Of course, the photos were seen by just about everyone, and Charles’ spokesman even released a statement about the awkward incident. “It was less dramatic than the pictures suggest,” the spokesman said.
The fallout from Diana Spencer's shattering interview resulted in this very awkward dynamic between her and Prince Charles
It was the interview that was the last nail in the coffin in Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s marriage. In November of 1995, Spencer gave an on-camera interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir where she told the truth about her marriage. Their issues were evident even from their body language earlier in the year when they stood on completely opposite sides of their children, looking more like school chaperons than a loving couple.
The interview breathed new life into the tension between them, and the real damage was done to Charles and the royal family when Spencer said that she didn’t think Charles would be a good king. “I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don’t know whether he could adapt to that,” she said. The fallout from the interview was severe, and as noted by Town and Country Magazine, the Queen wrote to both Charles and Spencer and urged them to get a divorce. By August of 1996, just nine months after the interview, the split was official.
This uncomfortable speech Prince Charles made did not age well
Nothing seemed as tense and awkward as when Prince Charles was caught on camera saying that he’d be better off having two wives. Yes, you read that correctly. As noted by the International Business Times, Charles and Spencer were on a royal visit to South Korea when Charles got up and “made an informal speech in front of the South Korean officials.” What he said is truly so awkward.
“I’ve come to the conclusion, it would have been far easier to have had two wives,” he said, saying that the crowds of people who swarmed Diana would be better off if there were two wives, one for either side of the street.
As noted by Express, it wasn’t the first time he had said it. Charles had made a similar joke while the couple was on their royal tour of New Zealand in 1983, and we can’t imagine it was well received by Spencer then, let alone the second time. Royal biographer Andrew Morton told Express that, “[Diana] was seething and dying inside because she was jealous and angry at [Charles’] relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles.” We can understand why.
These moments between Prince Charles and Diana Spencer during the royal tour in Australia were just as awkward as they looked
It was no secret that Prince Charles became increasingly jealous of the public attention Diana Spencer received, but never was it so severe as when the couple were New Zealand. They had only been married for two years, and were new parents to William, but the crowds swarmed wherever Spencer went. As put by the New Zealand Herald, “Day after day, the hordes waited in the heat for hours on end for the chance to glimpse a real life princess, and day after day after day, Charles was made to confront his wife’s new-found superstar status.”
It was a resentment that Charles reportedly couldn’t handle. “The pressure on us both as a couple with the media was phenomenal, and misunderstood by a great many people,” Spencer said to the BBC’s Martin Bashir in 1995. “We’d be going round Australia, for instance, and all you could hear was, ‘Oh, she’s on the other side.'” When asked if the media attention was flattering, Spencer said no. “With the media attention came a lot of jealousy.”
This body language expert broke down this awkward interaction between Prince Charles and the Queen
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles finally got married, but things might not be peachy between them and the royal family. According to Judi James, a body language expert who spoke to Express, the awkward tension is still visible and was spotted during a (socially distanced) event in 2020. The Queen still projected “the strongest signals of confidence,” but her own stance was not echoed by all that were present — she conversed just with Charles, while Parker Bowles was in the background.
“The Queen … actively chats to the band, engaging Charles in the conversation while Camilla stands back slightly, with her rigidly-placed arms suggesting an air of tension or awkwardness,” James analyzed. We can’t imagine that the couple had a pleasant talk about this dynamic after the fact.
But it’s not the first time that the Queen has made her thoughts about Parker Bowles known. As noted by People, the Queen once had a few too many martinis and confronted Charles about Parker Bowles, calling Parker Bowles “that wicked woman” and saying that she didn’t want anything to do with her. Yikes.
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