Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is speaking out about the heightened media scrutiny that surrounded her highly publicized affair with Prince Charles.
During an in-depth interview with The Mail on Sunday's You magazine, the 69-year-old Duchess recalled the consequences surrounding her decades-long private relationship with the Prince of Wales -- an affair that took place while Charles was still married to the late Princess Diana and she was with her first husband, Andrew Parker-Bowles.
"It was horrid," the royal confessed. "It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn't put my worst enemy through it. I couldn't have survived it without my family."
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Camilla added that life seemed to go on as normal for everybody else, while she practically felt like a prisoner in her own home.
"For about a year, when we lived in Middlewick, I couldn't really go anywhere," she stated. "But the children came and went as normal -- they just got on with it -- and so did great friends."
Nevertheless, the Duchess chose to remain positive, crediting her perseverance to having a happy childhood.
"I don't think I'm tough but I do think I'm quite a strong character," she said. "I would pass the time by reading a lot -- more than I'd ever have been able to in a normal life. I thought, well, if I'm stuck here I might as well do something positive like read all the books I want to read, and try to learn to paint -- though that wasn't a huge success! -- and after a while, life sort of went on."
Camilla remained married to Parker-Bowles until 1995, and Charles and Diana, who separated in 1992, officially divorced a year later.
Despite the media storm surrounding the affair -- most notably following the death of Diana -- the two married in 2005.
The Duchess, who will turn 70 in July, says she barely recognizes herself these days and credits her sense of humor for keeping her in survival mode.
"You also have to laugh at yourself because if you can't, you may as well give up," Camilla said. "I sometimes think to myself, 'Who is this woman? It can't possibly be me.' And that's really how you survive."
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