We often hear about Prince William and Prince Harry feuding with each other. But did you know these two once teamed up for another epic family feud against their stepsiblings?
If you’ve forgotten (or never heard about) William and Harry’s stepbrother and stepsister, their names are Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes. The children of Camilla Parker Bowles and her first husband Andrew Parker Bowles, Tom and Laura became William and Harry’s stepsiblings when Prince Charles married Camilla in 2005. And it wasn’t exactly an easy transition when they entered the Royal Family.
In fact, they all had a pretty epic feud. But who are these stepsiblings? What was the feud all about? And where do they all stand now? Keep reading to learn the answers!
Who Is Laura Lopes?
Born Laura Parker Bowles, Laura Lopes, 44, is Camilla’s daughter and youngest child.
During college, she studied History of Art and Marketing. After graduation, Laura translated that degree into an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. She then tried her hand at journalism for a hot minute, working with her brother Tom at the Tatler.
Soon, though, she returned to art curating, going on to manage London’s Space Gallery and co-found the Eleven Gallery.
In 2006, she married chartered accountant Harry Lopes. He is the son of a baron (as well as a former Cavin Klein underwear model) who is set to inherit Gnaton Hall in Devon and the Skelpick estate in the Scottish Highlands. They have a daughter Eliza, 14, and fraternal twin boys, Gus and Louis, 12. The family lives in Wiltshire, where Laura hosts art exhibitions.
Who Is Tom Parker Bowles?
Tom Parker Bowles, 47, is Camilla’s son and oldest child. After studying at both Eton College and Worcester College, Tom discovered a love of food that would soon transform his life.
After trying his hand at being a publicist, Tom began working as a food critic for the Tatler. Soon, his food critiques were appearing in publications like Esquire, and he served as a judge for a number of televised food competitions. He has written several books, with his third book, Full English: A Journey Through the British and Their Food, winning a Guild of Food Writers Award in 2010.
Tom has two children with his ex-wife Sara Buys, a senior editor of Town & Country. Their daughter Lola is 14, and their son Frederick is 12.
Overall, Tom and his sister Laura both seem like respectable, accomplished people. And they are not much older than William, 40, and Harry, 37, so you’d think they might get along well. Still, a massive feud brewed between the princes and their stepbrother and stepsister.
Royal outsiders from the beginning
Prince William and Prince Harry are constantly making headlines, but this may be the first you are hearing about their stepsiblings. Why is that, exactly?
The simple answer is that Laura and Tom have been royal outsiders from the very beginning. When he appeared on Good Morning Britain in 2019, Tom revealed he and his sister were “not quite part of the royal family to be honest” (via The Daily Express). “We’re the common children. We’re just on the side.”
Joke or not, there is more than a bit of truth to the statement. Tom and Laura don’t have royal titles and don’t typically make appearances at royal events. They really are “just on the side” compared to William and Harry.
Befriending William and Harry
The exact relationship that William and Harry have with their stepsiblings is something of a rollercoaster. At first, though, it seemed like all four of them would be fast friends.
Charles and Camilla went public with their relationship in 1997, a year after Princess Diana’s death. By 1998, Charles had not yet married Camilla, but he was comfortable appearing in public with her despite the controversy and scrutiny their relationship faced. This is around the time that William and Harry seemingly became friends with Camilla’s children.
“The boys [William and Harry] rather look up to Tom as a young man about town,” a royal aide said at the time (via Hello!).
The young royals may have started out looking up to Tom, but William’s relationship with Laura, however, appears to have been rocky from the beginning.
William’s feud with Laura
As near as we can tell, Tom did his best to stay out of any royal tiffs. However, by all accounts, Laura frequently clashed with William in those early days.
Much of the info about their fights comes from royal expert Katie Nicholl and her 2010 book William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls.
In 1986, Charles and Camilla began an affair that lead to Charles and Diana’s divorce in 1996, as well as Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles’ divorce in 1995. Naturally, all the children involved were hurt by their parents’ breakups.
“William and Laura used to have terrible fights over who was to blame for their broken homes,” Nicholl wrote. A family friend revealed to Nicholl, “William would blame Camilla for all the hurt she had caused his mother, which would send Laura into a rage.”
“Laura was not having any of it. She would take a hard line and fire back at William, ‘Your father has ruined my life.'”
That’s not just enough drama for a lifetime. That’s enough drama for a Lifetime movie! Fortunately, their rocky relationship seems to have improved for the better with time.
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Putting aside the drama
Fortunately, the fight between the stepsiblings didn’t last forever. In her book, Nicholl revealed, “When they stopped blaming one another’s parents and let go of their painful pasts, Laura and William got along well.”
Charles eventually married Camilla in 2005, and she was gradually accepted more and more as part of the family. That extended to Camilla’s children as well. Both William and Harry attended Laura’s wedding when she got married in 2006. Later, William even made Laura’s daughter Eliza a bridesmaid at his own wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.
The question is, what happens to Tom and Laura’s place in the Royal Family when Charles becomes king? Tom described their current status as “just on the side.” But could they gain titles in the future?
Will Prince Charles give titles to Camilla’s children?
According to royal commentator Brian Hoey, there is a serious chance that Prince Charles will grant titles to Laura and Tom when he takes the throne, though they will likely be minor ones.
“I think they are bound to get some sort of a title,” Hoey told The Daily Express in March 2022. He pointed out that when Charles becomes king, Camilla will become queen consort, and no child of a British king or queen has ever gone without a title before.
“Charles, even though he said he wants to be a modernizer, he is also a traditionalist, very much a realist. He quite likes ceremonial, and he believes in the honor system in Britain, and I think he will do whatever he feels it’s the correct formal thing to do at the time.”
Whether or not Tom and Laura receive titles, Charles appears to regard them as his second family. He reportedly set up a £2 million trust for them and “is determined that Laura and Tom should be looked after and supported if the worst happens to him,” according to a royal source (via Hello!).
While Tom and Laura may stay out of the spotlight, their place in the Royal Family is basically assured.