Brace yourselves—it looks like Tampongate, AKA one of the spiciest stories to emerge from the royal family literally ever, will be getting its time to shine onscreen.
Honestly, we’re not sure how we feel about it. The salacious story naturally sent the media into meltdown when a recording from a private phone call between Camilla Parker Bowles and then-Prince Charles discussing some um, very personal details about their then-extra-marital affair.
Of course, The Crown‘s popularity has stemmed from its focus on some of the biggest (and most scandalous) royal events from the past 90 years, so we’re not exactly surprised this old chestnut has made the plot’s cut.
That said, the actor who played Prince Charles during seasons three and four, Josh O’Connor was vehemently passionate about not bringing it to the screen.
“When they offered me the role, one of my first questions was—I say questions, I think it was pretty much a statement—‘We are not doing the tampon phone call,'” O’Connor told SirusXM’s EW Live in 2020.
“[The Crown] was my one chance for my parents to see something [I’ve acted in] with no shame and there’s no way I was going to scuttle that by talking about tampons on Netflix.”
Lucky for O’Connor, his timeline playing then-Prince Charles in the 1980s and early 90s was cut just at the right moment. But for Dominic West, who plays the older version of the now King of England in seasons five and six… he wasn’t so lucky.
West told Entertainment Weekly that he thought it would be “sordid and deeply, deeply embarrassing”, but another element that can’t be ignored in the infamous story occurred to him.
“Looking back on it, and having to play it, what you’re conscious of is that the blame was not with these two people, two lovers, who were having a private conversation. What’s really [clear now] is how invasive and disgusting was the press’s attention to it, that they printed it out verbatim and you could call a number and listen to the actual tape.”
“I think it made me extremely sympathetic towards the two of them and what they’d gone through.”
What was Tampongate?
In 1993, the transcript of an intimate phone call conversation between then-Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was leaked and plastered across gossip magazines everywhere. The call itself took place in 1989 while both Charles and Camilla were married, though the call made it clear they were in the midst of an extra-marital affair.
At one point during the call, Charles told Camilla that he wanted to “live inside” her trousers, and joked that he could be reincarnated as a “tampax”, a popular brand of tampons.
The transcript was widely published across tabloid magazines and marked a turning point for both Charles and Camilla. While rumours about their affair had circulated for several years, none had confirmed it quite like this, and that same year Camilla divorced her then-husband Andrew Parker-Bowles, while Charles admitted in a documentary that he had been unfaithful to Diana after their marriage had “irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”