In tales of princes and princesses, the trope of the wicked stepmother is timeless. At best, these unwelcome new family members are depicted as cold and neglectful – at worst, they pose a treacherous threat.
The latter is precisely the image Prince Harry painted of his stepmother Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Queen Consort, in his memoir Spare, which was released earlier this year.
But speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, US author Denis Liam Murphy thinks Camilla is more like the “Cruella” of the family, thanks to Harry.
He said: “Harry is painting Queen Consort Camilla as the ‘Cruella’ of the family – and this can have a lasting impact on his own children, and their future opinions and views, with a ‘one-sided’ knowledge.”
In Harry’s book, the 38-year-old royal revealed that, in 2005, he and Prince William pleaded with their father not to marry Camilla.
Charles, who is now King, had been engaged in a long-standing affair with Camilla during his 15-year marriage to Princess Diana.
Harry writes in Spare: “Despite Willy and me urging him not to, Pa was going ahead. We pumped his hand, wished him well. No hard feelings. We recognised that he was finally going to be with the woman he loved, the woman he’d always loved.”
In the 1996 Disney film, Cruella De Vil is an eccentric heiress who wishes to use the skins of 99 Dalmatian puppies to create a spotted fur coat. She is regarded as a “witch” and a “devil woman” and her infatuation with fur drives her to murderous insanity.
Despite this, the author of ‘The Blame Game: How to Recover from the World’s Oldest Addiction’ and expert in ‘blame’ said it’s likely that Harry and Meghan will attempt to “encourage the children to continue to have some form of relationship with their father’s family, where they can, geography and logistics willing.”
But this isn’t happening over the Coronation weekend, due to Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet being forced to stay at home in California with their mother.
Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry will attend the coronation of King Charles next month, but his wife Meghan, will remain in the United States with the couple’s children.
The palace said in a statement: “Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
There had been widespread speculation over whether the Sussexes would travel to the United Kingdom for the historic occasion.
Prince Harry’s son, Archie, will be turning four on May 6, the day that the coronation of King Charles takes place, which many believe is the reason Meghan is staying behind.
Mr Murphy added: “Harry is seemingly on a path to purge himself of all past resentments that have built up over his life – towards his family and the press – He needs to learn how playing the victim doesn’t serve you in the long run.
“So again, at some point, he can begin to recognise it isn’t our past events that define us, it is our blame-based perception of them.
“The whole situation between Harry, his brother, father and stepmother is infused with blame, from both sides. What often gets missed is that it takes two to tango.
“One person often has a better victim story than the other, but actually both parties have some part to play. Normally it is a deep unconscious contribution that has been hidden under years of self-control.
“Regardless of the labels, ’father/son’ – all relationships are difficult when blame is present. This is because there is only anger and conflict while we are playing the blame game. And the longer it goes on, it always leads to separation.”
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