Skip to main content

If you’ve been following royal family news, one term you’ve likely come across is “tampongate.” One detail you might be curious about is how Charles and Camilla’s tampongate scandal happened. Who acquired the secret recording? Here’s a look at what tampongate is and how the conversation was acquired.

The ‘tampongate’ scandal

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles attend an event.
King Charles and Camilla Queen Consort | JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images

What is the tampongate scandal and what does it have to do with King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles? When it’s explained to you, it will likely leave you blushing.

Tampongate (also known as Camillagate) has been resurrected thanks to the popular Netflix series The Crown. The series will reportedly cover an intimate phone call that took place in 1989 between King Charles (then Prince Charles) and Camilla Parker Bowles. At the time, Charles was still married to Princess Diana and Camilla was married to Andrew Parker Bowles.

The naughty conversation was leaked to the press and a transcript was published in the tabloids in 1993. During this conversation, Charles is heard telling Camilla that he would like to be reincarnated as a tampon so that he could “live inside” her.

How was Charles and Camilla’s private conversation acquired?


Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant Clashed Behind the Scenes on ‘Notting Hill’ Over His ‘Cruel Comments’

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Learned About Tampons from Alison Arngrim

One question you likely have is how a private conversation between Charles and Camilla was acquired. According to The Telegraph, an amateur radio enthusiast came across the conversation while he was switching through audio channels. The conversation was later sold to a tabloid and published by The People in 1993. The publication printed a transcript and made the audio available to the public.

Although this is an embarrassing situation for the royal family to relive, The Crown writer Peter Morgan says he will not “be unkind” to King Charles, reports The Telegraph. He plans to tell Camilla and Charles’ story from an angle of two people who are deeply in love.

Josh O’Connor refused to re-enact tampongate in ‘The Crown’

Josh O’Connor played Charles during The Crown Seasons 3 and 4. He reportedly refused to re-enact tampongate while he was playing the monarch. During an interview with SiriusXM’s EW Live, he says he made sure he wouldn’t have to do that scene when he was first asked to play Charles.

“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,’” says O’Connor during his SiriusXM EW Live interview (via E! News).

O’Connor said he had played “slightly dodgy characters” before starring in The Crown, and he wanted to play a role his parents could be proud of. He wasn’t comfortable with his parents seeing him re-enacting a scene where two people were talking about being reincarnated as a tampon. “This was my one chance for my parents to see something with no shame and there’s no way I was going to scuttle that by talking about tampons on Netflix,” added O’Connor.   

Another reason O’Connor likely backed away from doing the intimate scene was because he once said he feels protective of King Charles. “I felt really defensive watching this documentary about him in the post-Diana days when he was portrayed as a buffoon, said O’Connor during an interview with Time Out. “He’s unbelievably intelligent, and he was banging on about climate change in the ’70s. I think he’s a bit of a hero.”

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.