If you love the intersection between scandal and royalty… Tom Quinn is your man. A history buff with an undeniable enthusiasm for the British monarchy, Tom has written some of the most unique books about what happens behind the wrought iron gates of Buckingham Palace. The author doesn’t just delve into the stories of our favorite faces though… he introduces us to some of the wildest characters that the British royal family has ever let near them. From The Queen Mother‘s Backstairs Billy to Alice Keppel, the great-grandmother of the Duchess of Cornwall.
In his most recent release, Scandals of the Royal Palaces: An Intimate Memoir of Royals Behaving Badly, Tom chronicles some of the naughtiest and most boisterous behavior known to date. This book is a must-have for fans that love the history of the British royal family.
Kinsey Schofield: Tom Quinn, thank you so much for talking to me! I had so much fun… wait, is Scandals of the Royal Palaces being rereleased?
Tom Quinn: No, it’s a new book! Well, it came out in the UK in November. So, it’s probably coming up for a paperback edition soon.
KS: Ok, perfect. Because when I went to purchase it – it said preorder. And I was like, ‘Oh, well, now I feel especially fancy that I’ve read this book!’
TQ: There’s always that slight delay between a book coming out in the UK and coming out in the States. That’s probably the explanation. I never know why, why they have that delay. But there’s always a slight delay.
KS: Ok. What I thought was so fascinating about this book is that it’s the first comprehensive list of scandals that exists… or a bible of royal scandals that exists. The reason you say that, in the book, is because the monarchy really had a hold over media and editorial… up until a certain point. Can you explain that to me? How they were able to kill bad stories about themselves?
TQ: Yes, it’s true! Although the extent to which they’ve been able to control bad stories has varied over time. For example, in the medieval period when there was no media and you could be imprisoned or executed for saying anything out of turn about the monarchy, obviously they were above criticism then. But surprising, by the time you get to the Georgians in the 18th century, they were absolutely lampooned! They were criticized horribly! But they had lost so much political power by then, it was difficult for them to react the way medieval monarchs would have done. They couldn’t just lock people up or execute them. That meant that people realized, this is about 1750, that you could criticize the royal family. Many people still objected to it… but then when you got to the Victorian period, for some reason, the pendulum had swung the other way and no one ever criticized Queen Victoria! She was seen as so untouchable that the media suppressed stories about her and about her son’s misbehavior, later Edward VII; he behaved terribly! He committed perjury, had strings of mistresses, but the press never mentioned it. Then in the 20th century, we had a series…we had George V and George VI and they were so well behaved that the media got into this habit of thinking of them, almost as if they were saints! So again, there was no criticism. Then it really only started again, the business of the media being critical, it really only got going again in the 1960s because that was the first modern permissive era. When suddenly you could say anything, you could wear anything, there was that sudden freedom in the 60s… and of course, that included being able to criticize the royal family. So, I think real criticism of the royal family, mostly in the 18th century, and after 1960 and of course, we still have that criticism now because… why would it disappear? The royal family is always interesting but sometimes, certain members of the royal family behave very badly as we’ve seen recently with Prince Andrew, for example.
KS: And that’s what surprised me, I guess. Because when I was reading this book, in my head, based on other books I’d read, I assumed that the criticism didn’t begin until Wallis and Edward… so I was shocked to realize that there was this rollercoaster and it really just depended on the likability, perhaps, of whoever was in leadership. And that kind of determined whether they went for them. Except, I think that Queen Elizabeth is so likable so I’m always confused by criticism that she receives.
TQ: The thing about Elizabeth is, she’s very much like, you refer to this rollercoaster and it’s true, where you have a monarch who behaves very well, as Queen Elizabeth 99.9% of the time does… there doesn’t seem to be much criticism. The Queen is very clever because she never puts a foot wrong so it’s very difficult to criticize her. When the media criticizes the Queen, and it has happened… occasionally… she never complains and she never explains, and that makes it go away and the younger royals don’t seem to realize that. They always want to fight back and all that does is it draws more attention to whatever scandal or whatever criticism is being made in the newspapers. Especially in the UK because the newspapers, they’re like bulldogs. Once they get their teeth into you, they don’t let go. And so, if you try and fight back, instead of the media forgetting about it in a week or two, they try to dig up all the other stuff about you so you don’t just get one criticism, they go into your history, they dig up all the dirt from the past. In a way, the Queen has played a very cunning hand and the younger royals haven’t done that. It’s very difficult to know why given that they all say they admire the Queen, they admire the way that she has avoided, to a large extent, criticism. They can’t seem to emulate her. That’s the mystery.
KS: Right. But when you say the younger royals, I mean, Prince William, he has sued the media. I mean, I’m knowledging that. But don’t you think in a way he has taken notes and does emulate her as much as possible? I don’t feel like he fights back to the extent that Harry does.
TQ: No. You’re absolutely right. When I said the younger royals, I was thinking much more of the younger royals with the exception of William and Kate. I think, and I think a lot of that actually, a lot of William, as you say, has sued the media, but he doesn’t make an enormous fuss about… he doesn’t try to make it a world issue, as Harry and Meghan have often tried to do. So William has sued, but it’s quite low key. And a lot of that, I think is Kate’s influence on William because she… I mean, the Queen adores Kate because she sees Kate as the next reliable Queen. Because she doesn’t complain. She doesn’t explain, just as Elizabeth doesn’t complain and doesn’t explain. So she’s a chip off the old block as it were. And I think Kate’s influence on William has been to calm down that, you know, the thing that I think he shares with Harry, I think occasionally he is a bit of a hothead. But Kate says, ‘Look, we just we should just ignore this and it’ll go away.’ And you can see that much of… There has been some unkind coverage of Kate, but generally, it’s just been teasing her about the fact that you know, her uncle was a builder, and her mother was an air stewardess. It hasn’t been any more unkind than that. And I think they’ve left her alone because they can see echoes of Queen Elizabeth and even the worst tabloids here, you know, The Sun, for example…. They are very reluctant to criticize in a really visceral way… The Queen… and now Kate, to a large extent is getting the same treatment. And of course because she’s with William and the two of them are, as it were a team, they’re not being criticized. I mean, a lot of people have said it’s extraordinary how Kate and William don’t get terrible brickbats thrown at them but Meghan and Harry do. You know, there’s this enormous difference. And I think it’s largely to do with Kate.
KS: Right? That’s interesting. I have a PR background and I’ve always felt like… I’ve never thought of Meghan Markel as anything BUT a beautiful woman. I just love her with Harry. I got engaged at Kensington Palace because that’s where they announced their engagement… I loved them. And it just feels like a couple of missteps, PR wise, that is the reason that they’re criticized. I admire both of them… but sometimes, you know, you’re sitting there whining about Daddy cutting off your allowance… but we’re literally sitting in the middle of a plague… are instructed not to leave our homes. If we do we have to wear a mask, small businesses are going out of business. We’re scared for our safety and our family’s safety. And I’m like, ‘I’m having a really hard time digesting this Oprah Winfrey interview.’
TQ: Yeah, I think you’ve put your finger on it. The problem is they’ve got this… They’re so entitled, they have so much money that they don’t really understand how less fortunate people live. And so when they make these pronouncements people say exactly what you’ve just said, you know, or it’s almost like, ‘Are you living in the same world that we’re living in?’ You know, complaining that Prince Charles hasn’t given them another 20 million pounds when they’ve already got, you know, 30 or 40 million? So, I think that is the big problem. And I think you’re right, I mean, I’m sure they have good PR people, but I’m not sure they always listen to them, you know, because what they should be doing is… if they are criticized, if they can certainly respond, I think that would be good. But if they do it in measured tones, and don’t seem to be in a rage against it, don’t bring in all sorts of other stuff that’s not related, just say ‘Look, that story wrote about and it’s just not true.’ And leave it at that. And then they… it would seem, I think, even to the press, eventually a more mature approach, and the press would leave them alone because they wouldn’t get the reaction. What the press wants is to really enjoy Harry and Meghan and get them to scream and shout and bring in all this other stuff. And so it’s exactly the thing they shouldn’t be doing but unfortunately, you know, they do it. I think, myself, it’s because Meghan is a very strong, I mean this in the best sense, she’s a very strong dynamic character. And she can’t understand why she can’t control events. You know, I think that’s the difference. Harry has grown up in an environment in the royal family where to a large extent, you don’t have to strive for your position… you’re born with that position. And I think he’s dazzled by Meghan’s ability, you know, to climb the rocky face of anything. But, of course, trying to do that with the royal family and the press… it’s the one thing, however determined you are to change things, you can’t do it… because the royal family exists, largely because it never changes. So if someone comes in and tries to change it, all that’s going to happen is… there’s going to be a clash. And it will be the person trying to change it who has to leave, which is what we’ve seen with Meghan and I think is a great pity because at first, she was hugely popular here. She was like a breath of fresh air. But nobody likes to see later on all the fights and all the squabbling.
KS: Well, I’m jumping. I have a list of questions here and I’m jumping ahead because you said something that made me want to go into this right now…. I have written down that you said… I think somewhere you say, oh, ‘Megan wants to emulate Diana’s legacy as this really compassionate person and this loving, caring person.’ Something you just said reignited this thought in me, why has she not been able to do that? Is it because she’s trying to control the narrative? Is it because she’s, you know, Diana went behind everybody’s back and had her friends tell people or had Richard Kay or Andrew Morton say someone else told them this when it was really her? Is Meghan, just not… Is she just not playing the game in a similar way?
TQ: Well, I think you’ve put your finger on something very interesting. A lot of Diana’s appeal was that she seemed to be almost an innocent. But actually, that was a very cultivated image, as you’ve rightly said, she was brilliant at manipulating the media. But she didn’t do it in the same way that Meghan’s tried to do it… by confronting them head-on… and doing it herself. She did exactly what you’ve just said. Diana always did it through these back channels. So it could never be attributed to her. So she always appeared to be, you know, when things went badly for her… it was always someone else being nasty to her, whether it was the media or Prince Charles or whatever. But she managed to get her story out and get more sympathy because, exactly as you say, it didn’t seem to come from her. And I think Meghan hasn’t been able to do that. And I’m sure that’s because she doesn’t have… I think Diana – amazingly – went from being this innocent girl who really didn’t know much about anything… you know, she’d grown up in a big house… I mean, by the way, Diana was really more aristocratic in many ways than the rest of the royal family because they’re all descended from German Princes. She is descended from the Churchill‘s from the Saxon nobility of England. But despite being this innocent, 18 year old, who seem to know nothing, within about five years, she completely manipulated the world’s media, which presented her as both a sort of Mother Teresa figure, but also as a vulnerable, very beautiful woman. It was an extraordinary thing. And I think, to some extent, Meghan looks at this and thinks, ‘How the hell did she do it? Why can’t we do it?’ And I think it’s because you know, Meghan is much more of a pugilist you know, she wants to fight back herself. She doesn’t want to do it in the way that Diana did it, but she probably should.
KS: Right. Yeah, I agree. So when I was reading this book, one thing that occurred to me was, it seems like Prince Charles is trying to slim down the monarchy. This book completely justified that to me… because it feels like Princess Margaret… even Princess Diana to an extent and The Queen Mother… Backstairs Billy… James Hewitt, Princess Margaret, with her husband, Tony, it feels like the people that don’t really have a purpose, or that are kind of like on the fringe of the royal family. They all like these people that treat them normally but what they’re really doing is they’re allowing people into their life that don’t necessarily respect the monarchy. And then you have orgies at you know, the Queen Mother’s house. And then you have James Hewitt selling a book, and then you have Tony being absolutely horrible to Margaret. So it seems to me almost… by reading this book… I thought, ‘My God, Prince Charles is absolutely justified in trying to slim down the monarchy. It’s so much easier to control!’
TQ: Yeah, exactly. When it’s an enormous squid-like creature with tentacles everywhere, you can’t control it. But I think the reason that the royal family developed like that, it really stems from Queen Victoria, who used… for example, in my book about the history of Kensington Palace, I point out that Kensington Palace was used by Queen Victoria and previous modern monarchs, but particularly by Victorian to put all her distant relatives in. And it became very difficult for the British government to say ‘Hang on a minute, why have we got second cousins and third cousins?’ Because they don’t dare criticize Queen Victoria… they were all actually terrified of her on a personal level because she didn’t have the power to insist that all these people be given free apartments in Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. She just assumed it could happen. And the government’s too frightened to say no. And that has continued right down to, as you say, Prince Charles suddenly stepping back and saying, ‘Hang on a minute, we’ve got all these people on the fringes who are living the state’s expense, and they are attracting the fire of the media. We need to slim it.’ Yep. So I agree with you. He’s completely right. I mean, often Prince Charles is portrayed as someone who talks to plants and is a bit eccentric and almost always a bit dotty but in that respect, in his aim to slim the monarchy down, I think he’s very wise because it will reduce, it will eliminate even much of the criticism because you won’t get as you say, you won’t get scandals. I think scandals in the royal family often arise because you’ve got people like Princess Margaret, and Prince Harry, and various other people. Prince Andrew particularly, they don’t have enough to do, they don’t have an official role, but they can’t go out and get an ordinary job like the rest of us. So they get into trouble. You know, what’s the old phrase? ‘The devil makes work for idle hands?’ And I think that’s the problem. And if Charles can reduce it, I think, you know, it will keep the royal family going for another century, which is what the royal family really wants. They’re very ruthless. They will do anything to make sure the monarchy survives.
KS: Well, you say that but I do wonder: Is Prince Harry trying to bring it down? I constantly wonder that… Is Prince Harry just trying to have a voice? Or is Prince Harry out to end it? Because sometimes I don’t know what side he’s on.
TQ: Yeah, I agree. Very difficult for Harry. I think he’s… I remember having this: You know, when you meet the first person, and I think she really was the first person who absolutely dazzled him… I think, you know, he’s just been completely swept up in that. And he will do, in the nicest way, whatever Meghan wants. You know, she’s taken him out of this fairly boring, I mean, they are quite boring for someone who’s young, because, you know, if you’re Prince Harry growing up, you can’t do what you like… because you’re constantly pestered by the paparazzi and you’ve never had a normal life where you’re under this pressure. So Meghan was like a door opening… and, you know, going through that into the sunlit uplands… where everything would be different… he could have fun without all the criticism… as well as, of course being completely madly in love with Meghan. I don’t think Harry actually wants to destroy the royal family, even if some of his behavior looks as if it might include the risk of that happening. I think he just really does want to find a role. I mean, it’s very much like his great-great Uncle Edward VIII after he abdicated with Mrs. Simpson, he thought he would have a role but suddenly he found he had nothing to do and the rest of his life was just, you know, spent moving around the world with actually very little to do… couldn’t get a job and the British government wouldn’t give him a job and he was no longer King… so it was a very sad life. I think the real danger of Harry’s behavior is that Harry will end up like that, you know, he doesn’t really have a role in the royal family because he’s the spare as it were, rather than the heir but there’s still lots of hospitals to open… meetings to go to… charities to support. He could have had that limited role but in California… what can you do? So I think really rather than damage the royal family… I think he’s just madly in love with Meghan and wants to make her happy. But one interesting thing that an insider told me while we’re on the subject… is that they both, Meghan and Harry, believe that when the elder royals die… in other words… Elizabeth… they may well be able… when Charles is King… they may well be able to come back and be the part-time royals that they really wanted to be. So that they would be six months working royals and six months you know, in the States or wherever doing their own thing. That was something that Queen Elizabeth absolutely said ‘No. Couldn’t happen.’ But I think Meghan and Harry are hoping that Charles, Harry’s father after all, will be more of a modernizer and will say to them, ‘Ok, if you want to be part-time royals, that’s fine.’ Because I don’t think Harry and Meghan really want to spend the whole time in the States and not be part of the royal family. They just don’t want to do it all the time. And they see the solution in the future.
KS: But it is interesting that…. you know… it’s just it’s exactly like you said that Harry is just going with the flow. Meghan’s attitude is very much ‘My way or the highway’ and she has a very American attitude of ‘I have a better solution. I have the solution, period, exclamation point.’ And it seems like they don’t bend for anybody… because I look at what they were presenting… the ideas that they were presenting before Megxit and what I see is Edward and Sophie… getting caught in that scandal where she’s bragging about her contacts with royals in her PR firm… and then being so embarrassed about what happened with Sophie that, I mean, to me, the Queen is looking at that as an example of you cannot be halfway in and halfway out, you either have to be all in or all out. And I sometimes wonder, do they not look back at specific events and think, ‘Oh, they don’t like this idea, because it’s been tried before and it failed.’?
TQ: I think that’s right. Yes. I mean, when Sophia and Edward got into a scrape because they were muddling royal duties with commercial duties… that I think is the big fear with Harry and Meghan. And I think Meghan just doesn’t get it. She thinks, ‘Well, you know, you play the cards you’ve been given. I’ve married into the royal family, this is a huge advantage. Why can’t we do something commercial with it?’ But of course, for the British Royal Family? I mean, I think that epitomizes the problem between the two outlooks. You know, there’s Meghan thinking: ‘Well, the royal family is a brand. You know, it is something we can exploit even if we exploit it for good.’ Which I know Meghan would like to do, you know, to give hope to people and inform people and try and change the world for the better. Even allowing for that because it has a commercial element… it does remind the royal family back here that you can get into terrible trouble when you do that. Because obviously, you’re then using your royal status to promote a business which is there to make a profit and that’s anathema to the royal family. And I think because it’s been tried… I remember years ago before Edward married Sophie, he set up a TV company and yeah, it was found that he was using his contacts, his royal status to get work and to influence the way that work was done… And the Queen just said, ‘That’s it. You can’t do that.’ And so I think that’s carried on and it’s why Meghan and Harry weren’t allowed to be part-time royals. But I still think they might be able to come to an accommodation with Charles when the royal family gets smaller because Harry is, after all, his second son… it’s not as if he’s a more distant relative.
KS: One thing I wanted to ask you was, am I wrong for feeling like Princess Margaret would have loved Meghan Markel? (I should clarify: initially. Margaret would have been livid over the Oprah interview.)
TQ: Oh, you’re absolutely right. She would have I mean, they were both from the same mold completely. Yes. And, in fact, I think Margaret would have thought that she had helped move the royal family forward to a position where they were prepared to allow Meghan to marry into the family. Because, you know, as you know, as the world knows, Margaret wasn’t allowed to marry someone because he was divorced. And the British public, to the amazement of the establishment, they all sided with Margaret and said, ‘You know, not allowing her to marry someone just because he’s divorced is ridiculous, it’s medieval.’ And so she got so much sympathy for that… Margaret did… that I think the royal family, in future, began to think, ‘Okay, we’ve got to at least modernize a bit.’ And so that’s why we were able to have Kate. Kate would never have been accepted in the royal family in the 1950s or 60s. And Meghan, certainly not. So, in those respects, I think Margaret would have been delighted to see her tragedy turned, in a sense into a triumph for Kate and for Meghan… but especially Meghan, because, you know, she really wasn’t even British. So, you know, that was remarkable. Someone that is biracial, an American… with Mrs. Simpson there in the back of people’s minds. There’s always this fear. ‘Oh, no, it’s an American woman!’ But then again, that just shows how the royal family can modernize in some ways, because they know it looks good, and it will help them survive.
KS: Also, you talked to a woman named Kitty Power. She told you Diana was messy. I’d never read that before… that Diana was messy and she would apologize to the staff. That is just so sweet to me.
TQ: Yeah. Well, the thing is… that was another contrast that various servants said to me about the difference between Meghan and Diana. I think Meghan was always worried that people wouldn’t treat her as if she really was a member of the royal family. So she was overly harsh and got cross with the servants… occasionally shouted at them. Whereas Diana had grown up in this enormous house with the Spencer family. She’d had servants from the time she was a toddler. So she was very good at dealing with it and she was always very kind to them. And she was always very, almost very self-deprecating. And because she was always apologizing, right, just, as you say, for being messy… But I think that became particularly bad during the period after she and Charles fell out with each other and it got really difficult and she had mental health problems. So even while she was really suffering badly… she was still always very sweet to the staff. And, I mean, that was almost her trademark. And it was genuine. You know, there are other wonderful stories… she had tea with one of the servants in a small flat about a mile away and she would play with the children in the yard because they had no idea who she was. But she was very good at… I wouldn’t say deliberately disguising herself, but you know, she only had to put on a sort of hat and dark glasses and a big scarf and nobody realized who she was because she spent months wandering up and down Kensington High Street… which is one of the busiest shopping streets in London… and no one ever recognized her. So she was very sweet. And I think to some extent, wanted to be an ordinary person. I mean, having been swept up in the royal family, I think she realized that there was some gain but there was an awful lot of pain. So she enjoyed these times when she could go and chat with the servants or even go into tea with the servants or play with ordinary children. No, she was the genuine article.
KS: I love hearing that. And another thing that surprised me about your book… we’ve never heard that Diana didn’t get along with women… but I think because of the Camilla Diana and a storyline, we assume that she got along better with men or that there was just some friction with women. You write that she got along really well with women. And I loved hearing that because that is not a narrative that, you know, you just think that she’s kind of this little this beautiful being that, you know, I guess just couldn’t get along with Camilla so she probably didn’t trust any other women. But that is so great to read that she was a friendly person to everybody.
TQ: Oh, she really was… she got on very well with the female members of staff and she got along with her sisters very well. No, she was really popular and friendly with women who she’d met. And I think that the myth about her being more of a woman who sort of was a man’s woman, as it were, I think that came because she had such a glamorous appearance, and she had a way of looking at the camera. That was almost the kind of look a model would have, you know, so I think people thought, ‘Oh, she’s doing that to make men think she’s attractive.’ But actually, I don’t think she was. I think she was a very friendly person. I think she was very unselfconscious as far as much of her image… I think it was partly because she was shy… it almost looked like she was trying to be alluring in some way. But she was both… I think she was conscious of being very beautiful and I think it irritated her that people thought ‘Oh, she’s only doing this for the men!’ Whereas in fact, as you say, she had close friends. I mean, she did the thing that, you know, I know my daughter does. My daughter’s in her late 20s and she’s very good at having these very intense close relationships… which actually help whenever she has a problem. Talking to other women really helps. I think Diana definitely had that. You know, I mean, she had to survive some really difficult times and it was the women around her who helped her to do that.
KS: Well, and they were probably such good friends… that that’s why we don’t hear from them. You know?
TQ: Yeah, I think that’s right. Yeah, we hear about the men because, the men she had relationships with, partly because some of them told the press, some of them were married, much more difficult to keep these love affairs quiet. But you know, very easy, relatively easy to keep her friendships with other women quiet and I think it’s a side of her that we should hear more about.
KS: I agree. I totally agree. I love this story. I’m not going to give too much away because… I would buy this book flat out just to read the story again! It made me laugh out loud… but one of Diana’s lovers getting caught with his pants down! One of the greatest things… stories I’ve ever read. It just made me love her even more because… you kind of say that this person who is unnamed, gave her this confidence because she did seem… we were talking about the differences between her and Meghan Markel. Diana did float for several years… around in a state of not wanting to offend anybody… and not wanting to do anything that might jeopardize her status with the family. And so all of a sudden, it seems like she got this whoosh of confidence because of this person. And there’s this cute little story about that. And I wish I could know more. But you’ve got all these secrets. I’m totally jealous.
TQ: Yeah, some of the people I couldn’t name because some of them are still alive or people had spoken to me and said, ‘Look, I will tell you a few things, but you mustn’t use my name.’ But yeah, the story about the man being caught in Kensington Palace, locked out of the apartment that Diana had… in his shorts in the middle of the night… and hiding behind a palm tree or a potted plant… It’s a great story! And I think it does speak volumes about the fact that, as you say, Diana had reached a point where she just said, ‘I’m not going to be this terrified girl who stays in her room and desperately, lives only not to offend people. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to have some fun. Charles has gone off with Camilla, why on earth am I sitting here worrying? And waiting for him perhaps to come back?’ And she did. She then began to live. And I think, you know, that was partly because she had good friends partly because I think deep inside, as she got a little older, she did have a natural confidence. You know, and as we said earlier, that confidence came out in many ways. First of all, you know, she was very attracted to men, she was very good with men. And so, you know, it’s not that she lacked for admirers. And at the same time, she became, while she was doing that, and becoming confident with that, she was becoming better at dealing with the press, dealing with, you know, creating an image. I mean, it was a remarkable transformation from an innocent, you know, timid little girl to this earth-shattering woman who seemed to be master of everything that she touched. It was remarkable.
KS: This legend. It’s amazing. I wanted to ask you: If you could base this next question on what they’ve accomplished today… What do you think Harry and Meghan’s legacy will be 10 years from now?
TQ: Based on what they’ve done up till today, I think their legacy will be mixed. I mean, always they will produce a mixed reaction in the rest of the world. I think many people do admire the fact and believe it’s genuine, the fact that they want to do good and use their position to help people. I think people do believe that. But then there’s also this fear that actually a lot of it is self-serving. And a lot of it is trying to make themselves rich… richer, and more famous. And so I think there will be these two elements, to some extent, always conflicting with each other. And I’m not sure that will change over the next decade. I think that will probably remain the same because they are conflicted. Meghan is a very ambitious, very powerful woman. Harry wants to make her happy. They want to do things that so far, the royal has not permitted. And so there always be attention. So I suspect their legacy will be, ‘Here is another royal couple who have made waves…’ not always badly. I mean, sometimes making waves is a good thing. So I think there’ll be given credit for some of those waves.
KS: Now, I could kick myself for not asking you this earlier because this was one of my main questions… It feels like right now, because they want Camilla to be Queen Consort… it really feels like all these people are coming out of the woodwork to change the narrative that Diana cheated first. And you specifically said: ‘It seems very unlikely that Diana would have strayed into the arms of other men if Charles would have been able to give up Camilla.’ Now, I mean, that’s all I need! But I just wanted to stress that because I feel the same way! You show up on your honeymoon and your husband has pictures of his ex-girlfriend? I feel emotionally cheated on right then and there. But are you seeing that at all? Where now, all of a sudden, people are now saying Diana cheated first? And do you have an opinion?
TQ: I’m absolutely convinced that Diana did not cheat first. I think she was really in love with Charles, she was very innocent, then she was swept up by this, you know, the heir to the throne. And we know that Charles was seeing Camilla even on the night before his wedding to Diana and he had that very old fashion… He’s probably the last heir to the British throne to grow up with that idea that if you’re the heir to the throne, or the King, you can have as many mistresses as you like and your wife should just put up with it! I know. It’s horrible! But that was the tradition. That was the tradition up until then. So I think you’re right. I think there are… in certain quarters… we’re been given this information in a very subtle way that Diana was the first to cheat in order that Camilla should sort of not be criticized, given that she’s going to be Queen Consort. I think that’s happening in a very subtle way. And I think it isn’t fair and it isn’t true. But of course… in the way of the things… that will happen for a while and then you know, some revisionist Historian will come along and say: ‘Hang on a minute! That’s completely wrong. It was Charles!’
KS: Make it you, Tom! You be the one!
TQ: I’ll be the one! In my next book!
KS: Oh my God…. I don’t know if you can tell but I had so much fun talking to you. Please keep me updated. I want to know about all of your books. I want to know everything. Thank you for your time today and you are so, so fun to talk to and I love your brain. It’s got to be so much fun to have all that knowledge in there.
TQ: Thank you so much. Very nice to talk to you!
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