Charles and Camilla’s Infamous 1993 Tape Is a Lesson in Scandals, Privacy, and Assault

Trigger warning: this article contains references to sexual assault.

Sharing nudes, sexts, or any sexual recording of your partner, without their consent, is a vile thing to do. As the sex education and birth control network Bedsider outlined, “Sharing images, texts, or video without someone’s permission, especially as a way to get back at or shame them, is a form of relationship abuse.”

Now, does this mean that if you’re not in a relationship with someone, a pair of people, or a group of individuals, it’s okay to share inmate content of them without their consent? No, that’s still a form of sexual assault. But what if those people are royals?

On January 17, 1993, a news source called The People published the full transcript of a phone call between King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Their chat was sexual in nature. It was published without either party’s consent. 

This caused a huge scandal at the time, with Camilla receiving a lot of vitriol and abuse. However, basically nobody was mad at The People. The culture wasn’t upset that the privacy of two people was violated in such a serious manner. 

Related: Active Consent — Definition and How It Differs from Passive Consent

Related: Half of Us Will Experience Online Abuse — So What Does This Mean for Kids Growing Up Now?

Now, imagine if the sexts between two huge celebrities were leaked in 2022. There would be a ton of people online stating that publishing such material would be harmful. There would be calls for these messages not to be public. There would be a discussion about how the person who leaked said sexts would have violated the privacy of said celebrities.

However, King Charles and Queen Camilla weren’t given such a defence. And for the past 23 years, we’ve all been marinating in the belief that this leak is normal. The fact that King Charles and Queen Camilla’s sexual transcript is just out there hasn’t been interrogated. There hasn’t been a larger conversation about whether these individuals were abused.

I’m not a King Charles simp, alright? Nor am I a Queen Camilla stan. In fact, I think that the British Monarchy should be disbanded. However, that doesn’t mean that these two deserved this treatment. That doesn’t mean they deserved to have their consent disregarded. People are people. And nobody should be on the receiving end of an assault.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or head to The Australian Human Rights Commission for a list of state by state resources.

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