"The Firm," as the Royal Family called itself, seemed oblivious to the people's pain; the public's anger over the monarch's icy indifference was mounting with each passing day. Prime Minister Blair urged Charles to pressure his mother into returning to London immediately to deal with the growing hostility toward the Crown. But how? "She simply will not budge," Charles complained at one point to Camilla. "I don't know what else I can do to make her understand."
Ironically, behind the scenes, Camilla -- now unquestionably the most reviled woman in the land -- played a role similar to Tony Blair's. Charles had always been reluctant to defy his mother, and now, in a series of intense phone conversations, it was Camilla who gave her prince some much-needed backbone. She urged him to give the Queen an ultimatum: either she would return to London and address the people on television -- or he would. "The Queen must be made to understand," she told him bluntly. "You must do this, Charles. The monarchy may come down if you don't." Camilla was not alone in this assessment.
At long last the Queen grudgingly relented on all fronts. She approved plans for a televised public service at Westminster Abbey befitting the young woman Britons now called their "Queen of Hearts." She would return to London and order that the flag over Buckingham Palace be lowered to half-mast. And she would address her people. The Queen's televised speech, in which she paid tribute to Diana "as an exceptional and gifted human being," was the performance of a lifetime. When it was over, Charles phoned Camilla yet again and asked what she thought.
Excerpted from "After Diana" by Christopher Andersen. Copyright 2007 Christopher Andersen. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.