Camilla pays tribute to ‘dear friend’ Carolyn ‘Chubby’ Benson who died aged 73 on same day Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview aired
- Duchess of Cornwall’s best friend died same day as bombshell interview aired
- Carolyn Benson was 73 and had known Camilla since they were schoolmates
- Duchess paid tribute to best friend as she comes to terms with her death
- She is also having to cope with the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s interview
The Duchess of Cornwall paid tribute to her ‘dear friend’ Carolyn ‘Chubby’ Benson who died aged 73 on the same day Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview aired.
While dealing with the fallout following the Duke and Duchess’s bombshell interview this week, it has been revealed the Duchess of Cornwall has also had to cope with the devastating loss of her friend.
Camilla’s best friend, affectionately called ‘Chubby’, was 73 and had known the Duchess since they were schoolmates at the now defunct ladies’ academy in Southover Manor, East Sussex.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s best friend, Carolyn ‘Chubby’ Benson has died, aged 73. The friends had known each other since they were at school together in East Sussex
The Duchess of Cornwall’s lifelong friend died on the same day as the Oprah interview aired. Pictured: Camilla seen for the first time after the bombshell interview
During a bombshell interview with Oprah earlier this week (pictured), Prince Harry and Meghan made several claims about the royal family
Speaking about her loss, Camilla said: ‘Chubby was a life enhancer and dear friend who I, like many others, will miss enormously.’
While coming to terms with her grief, Camilla has also been faced with comforting Prince Charles following the shocking claims his son Prince Harry and wife Meghan made about the royal family.
During the Oprah interview, Harry and Meghan made a series of claims about the institution and said they experienced open racism from family members and staff.
On Thursday, Prince William became the first senior royal to address the allegations, insisting the royals were ‘very much not a racist family’.
Camilla has been dealing with the fallout of the interview as well as the loss of her best friend, whose late husband was Old Etonian racing figure Charles Benson.
The pair would host Saturday dinners at their London home, a stone’s throw from Harrods, which were described as the greatest sporting ‘salon’ ever assembled.
Some sporting legends to attend their famous dinners include cricketer Allan Border, Ilie Nastase or Jackie Stewart, alongside Albert Finney, Diana Rigg, or Bryan Ferry.
Carolyn’s mother, Jean Gerard Leigh, was the woman whose photograph was used to help trick the Germans into falling for one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, Operation Mincemeat, which inspired the classic film The Man Who Never Was.
The Queen and Prince Charles (pictured together in 2019) have backed Prince William after he spoke out to insist the Royal Family are ‘very much not a racist family’
Pictured: Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gesture during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021
During the shocking Oprah interview Harry and Meghan claimed they had experienced open racism from family members and staff, and alleged a member of Harry’s family even expressed ‘concern’ about ‘how dark’ their unborn son would be.
There has been much speculation about which member of the royal family they were accusing of racism.
But during the interview the couple would not be drawn on who had deeply offended them.
They also said the family had been unsupportive of the pressures they were going through, leaving Meghan feeling suicidal and fuelling their decision to quit the UK.
Harry said he felt let down by his father, who, he claimed, refused to take his calls at one point, and admitted there was still a gulf between him and his brother.
Although they had not been expecting to receive an easy ride, the royal family were said to be stunned at the ferocity of the allegations hurled in their direction.
Prince William speaks with a child during a visit to School 21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus disease lockdown restrictions in east London, March 11, 2021
Prince William was the first senior royal to address directly the string of allegations made in the explosive Oprah interview, insisting they are ‘very much not a racist family’
There was significant internal debate as to whether to rebut many of them, but instead the Queen personally opted for a ‘compassionate but firm’ approach.
The most popular royals, according to a new YouGov poll
These are the most popular royals (rated very positive of positive) according to a YouGov poll of 1,664 Britons between March 10 and 11:
The Queen: 80 per cent (net: +66)
Prince William: 76 per cent (net: +60)
Kate Middleton: 73 per cent (net: +57)
Princess Anne: 64 per cent (net: +49)
Prince Charles: 49 per cent (net: +7)
Prince Harry: 45 per cent (net: -3)
Prince Edward: 41 per cent (net: +15)
Camilla Parker Bowles: 39 per cent (net: -2)
Meghan Markle: 31 per cent (net: -27)
Prince Andrew: 7 per cent (net: -75)
A statement on her behalf read: ‘The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’
She added: ‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.’
Days after the interview Prince William spoke to insist the royals were ‘very much not a racist family’, a move which was backed by the Queen and Prince Charles.
On Thursday he became the first senior Windsor to address directly the string of allegations made in the explosive Oprah interview.
Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, the official homes of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, were both said to be supportive of William’s solo intervention.
William admitted he had not even spoken to Harry about the TV show – four days after it aired. His reaction laid bare his clear hurt over the claims made by his brother and sister-in-law.
The prince’s comments were praised by insiders, who said the 38-year-old did ‘very well given the emotion and enormity of it all’.
The prince was speaking as he and his wife Kate visited a school in east London to support a youth mental health support service.
Aides had initially insisted the couple would not answer questions about the interview because it would ‘not be appropriate’ in a school setting.
As well as appearing to deepen rifts between them and the royal family, the Oprah interview has had a devastating effect on the Sussexes’ popularity, with ratings falling to their lowest levels yet.
Prince Harry’s popularity has plunged 15 points, according to a recent YouGov poll, and Meghan’s has also sank by 13 points in the last ten days.
Opinions of Prince Harry appear to be extremely split among Brits, with 45 per cent stating they have a positive opinion of him, while 48 per cent regard him negatively.
Meanwhile, in a sign of unwavering show of support, Britons continue to be most fond of the Queen, with four in five people (80 per cent) liking her, the survey says.
Prince William and his wife Kate also remain very popular, according to the poll, with about three quarters of Britons giving them favourable reviews.
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