A deep dive into tampongate and the true story behind the royal phone sex scandal
‘I fill up your tank’
Watching the tampongate episode in The Crown season five was an experience I never want to relive. Obviously if you’ve watched it then it’s likely you have some questions, like did tampongate really happen and what’s the true story behind it? Luckily we have all the answers so here’s everything we know about tampongate in The Crown season five and the true story behind it.
Where did squidgygate come from and is it the same thing as the tampongate we see in The Crown season five?
Squidgygate is a different event from tampongate but it does show what kind of stuff was happening with the tabloids in a similar time. Squidgygate happened in 1992 and was similar to tampongate in the sense that a random person was said to have “accidentally” wired into a call between Diana and her friend James Gilbey. The conversation was actually recorded in early January 1990 and The Sun published it in August 1992 calling it “squidgygate” after James called Diana “Squidgy” and “Squidge” several times. Not actually too cringe when you consider the ins and outs of tampongate.
Squidgygate is just to show how the royals were being listened to and recorded, their private conversations were also being sold to the press – it wasn’t a fun time to be a royal, let’s put it that way.
When was tampongate recorded?
Tampongate was recorded in 1989, so slightly before squidgygate. The conversation was also said to be found “accidentally” by a radio enthusiast on a scanner. But it wasn’t published by tabloids until 17th January 1993, five months after squidgygate was published.
Okay so here’s the transcript of tampongate, just in case watching it happen on Netflix wasn’t enough trauma for you.
Camilla: “It’s like that programme Start The Week. I can’t start the week without you.”
Charles: “I fill up your tank.”
Camilla: “Yes, you do.”
Charles: “Then you can cope.”
Camilla: “Then I’m alright.”
Charles: “What about me? The trouble is I need you several times a week.”
Camilla: “Mmm, so do I. I need you all the week. All the time.”
Charles: “Oh, God. I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier.”
Camilla: “What are you going to turn into, a pair or knickers? Oh, you’re going to come back as a pair of knickers.”
Charles: “Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck.”
Camilla: “You are a complete idiot. Oh, what a wonderful idea.”
Charles: “My luck to be chucked down a lavatory and go on and on forever swirling round on the top, never going down.”
Camilla: “Oh darling.”
Charles: “Until the next one comes through.”
Camilla: “Perhaps you could just come back as a box.”
Charles: “What sort of box?”
Camilla: “A box of tampax, so you could just keep going.”
Charles: “That’s true.”
Camilla: “Repeating yourself. Oh, darling, oh, I just want you now.”
Charles: “Do you?”
How did Diana react to tampongate?
Her personal protection officer, Ken Wharfe, recounted Diana’s reaction in his book Guarding Diana: Protecting The Princess Around The World. The extract from it says: “‘Game, set and match,’ she said, clutching to her copy of the Daily Mirror containing a transcript of the Camillagate tape as we talked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace. Later, however, she told me that she had been genuinely shocked by some of the baser comments, particularly the Prince’s tampon reference. ‘It’s just sick,’ she said repeatedly.”
Have Charles or Camilla addressed tampongate since it happened?
Royal biographer Howard Hodgson, said in a biography of Charles how he regrets it to this day. The book says Charles “knows that people not sympathetic to him or the monarchy will recall it at the time of his coronation and at all other meaningful moments in his life. He remains deeply ashamed of the embarrassment that he caused his mother, deeply sorry for the pain it caused both his and Camilla’s children.”
Speaking on behalf of Camilla’s children, her son Tom Parker Bowles told The Times in 2014: “I sort of remember not looking at the paper. Because, you know, Jesus, the things we’ve all said to people that we love. That you wouldn’t want the whole world reading.”
I’m traumatised, help!
The Crown season five is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.