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Kanga: The Forgotten Mistress

Updated on September 7, 2014
BritFlorida profile image

BritFlorida loves to track down historical stories, especially scandals and mysteries from the UK.

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Dale Tryon: Prince Charles' other mistress

Ready for another conspiracy theory? I am. This time, we're entering the realms of royalty.

Diana, Princess of Wales,made sure that the world knew about Camilla Parker-Bowles; famously saying that there were three people in her marriage to Prince Charles. In fact, there was Dale Tryon - also known as Kanga - in addition to Camilla.

Kanga, then Dale Harper, was a lively and rather gorgeous Australian girl who left her homeland to live in London in the early 1970s. She was beautiful, bouncy and buxom. She and Charles became 'very fond of each other'.


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Prince Charles

Charles was twenty two in 1970. It seemed unbelievable to me at the time, but he was considered to be the most eligible bachelor in the world. He certainly didn't have movie star looks but I'll admit that his regular polo and other sports had given him a great physique and - for those who care about such things - his eventual wife would be the Queen of England one day. Quite an attraction, I suppose.

A popular subject amongst the men and women of the media was speculation about who the prince would marry. He had only to be seen talking to a marriageable female and the press would be delving into her background.

Despite popular misconception, there are no rules or criteria laid down for the wife of a future monarch but Charles was all too aware that in the media age, he needed to choose a wife with an impeccable background who could cause no scandal. (Little did he know...)

He was in no hurry. But on the other hand, as a healthy young man in his twenties, he considered that there was no reason for him to be celibate. As he once remarked, he didn't see why he should be the only Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress.

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Charles liked intelligent blondes with plenty of personality. He had been very close indeed to the young Camilla Parker Bowles but she, as a smart woman, knew that her past wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of the ever-picky press. She discreetly married another man.

Dale, in the meantime, thanks to her boyfriend Lord Tryon, had become a member of the prince's intimate circle of friends. He adored her lively personality, bright smile and joie de vivre.

But Dale too knew that her background wouldn't pass muster and married her lord. In the upper echelons of society,affairs are rarely frowned upon. What's more, aristocratic men can be very tolerant of their wives' activities - possibly because it frees them to indulge in their own.

The main proviso is that newly-married women are left in peace until they have produced a son and heir (blood is blood, after all). But once that duty has been satisfied, married women are considered to be the ideal.

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Rivalry

Needless to say, the two women were hardly the best of friends as they were both vying for the affections of the same man. Both were intelligent blondes,both had great senses of humour and made the prince feel relaxed and comfortable. But there was one major difference between the two of them.

Camilla was a true aristocrat and as such, understood that the Prince of Wales would be obliged to make a good marriage and provide heirs without the slightest whiff of scandal. She was discreet and dignified.

Dale, now known by the nickname Kanga, was a free-spirited Australian girl who didn't understand the subtle (and some may say, crazy) distinctions. She still believed that she could be queen. Unlike Camilla, she encouraged the press to write about her and eventually even appeared on television shows.

When interviewed on TV, she was always discreet in what she said but it was obvious what she was leaving unsaid. For example, she said that she had several personal letters from the prince but left viewers assuming the worst when she declined to reveal their contents. This was seriously against the unspoken rules.

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Enter Diana Spencer

Camilla understood that Charles had to marry and it's said that she suggested the possibility of Lady Diana Spencer. Diana seemed ideal in several ways but she could never rival Charles' witty and intelligent blondes.

Eventually, Diana committed the very same error as Kanga had done in previous years - she talked to the press and 'revealed all' on television.

Dina tried to become the woman he wanted - she dyed her brown hair blonde but she could never compete with the other two women intellectually and developed eating disorders that meant that she couldn't compete with Dale and Camilla with their curvaceous figures.

It's no wonder that the marriage started to break down. Diana couldn't understand the restrictions of royal life and Charles simply couldn't understand Diana.

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Kanga, meanwhile....

Dale's health was not good. In the early nineties, the royal marriage was near its end but Dale was treated for a recurring illness plus she was then diagnosed with operable cancer. Once she was declared well again, she booked in to a luxurious rehab centre to be rid of her dependence on the painkilling drugs she'd taken during her illness.

Whilst there, she fell from a window breaking her back. She spent the rest of her short life as a paraplegic. However, she always maintained that she didn't fall. She claimed she had been pushed.

According to her best friend, a film actress, Dale's husband went to extraordinary lengths to persuade her that his wife had indeed fallen and that there had been no foul play whatsoever. According to the actress, this was 'protesting too much'.

The couple were later divorced and Dale never walked again.

Did she fall?

Personally,I don't believe any of the conspiracy stories and I think it's a shame that the memory of such a vivacious women should be tarnished.

But here are a few mysteries:

  • There are those who love conspiracy theories and who believe that Diana was murdered. Some of these people also think that Dale was pushed out of the window in a murder attempt.
  • Theorists suggest that it was proved that she was becoming mentally unhinged and that was reason enough for the 'powers that be' to want her out of the way.
  • Kanga was 49 when she died, allegedly (say the theorists) of septicemia. She died just a few months after Diana. There are those who speculate that Charles was having a hard time getting the public to accept him and the last thing he needed was an emotionally unstable mistress coming out of the woodwork...
  • Dale's husband set divorce proceeding in motion shortly after her fall from the window. Some say that it was him who pushed her to avoid the 'scandal' of divorce as he could no longer put up with her mental instability.
  • Yet others are convinced that it was a suicide attempt. By the time of the incident, it was publicly known that the marriage of Charles and Diana had broken down. Two years previously he had publicly admitted - without naming names - to infidelity. And yet he had not been in touch with Dale. Did she finally accept that there was to be no future relationship?

Further reading

For many years, Prince Charles was ridiculed because of his views on the environment and sustainability. Time has proved him to be correct.

In addition, Camilla has been derided because she's not a skinny clotheshorse with movie star looks. But to me,she seems like exactly the sort of lady I'd love to have a chat with over a cup of tea - or better still, a gin and tonic or two.

Just another quick note - since Charles and Camilla cemented their relationship and she became 'official' don't you think that he's a hundred times happier and more jovial than we've ever seen before?

Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair
Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair

I hope that I'm not alone in believing that Charles is now married to his true love. I'm convinced that he was pressured into the marriage with Diana.

Camilla had 'a past' and was therefore deemed unsuitable. What a shame.

 

Mutual interests

Camilla and Charles share the same interests. Both have similar backgrounds and ideals. Diana was never comfortable in the country - she was definitely a city girl.


The Garden at Highgrove
The Garden at Highgrove

Prince Charles has spent years creating his gardens at his home. This sort of endeavour needs encouragement and support.

With Camilla - a true country girl - he found someone who shared his goals for sustainability and the preservation of the planet.

 

Learn more

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

What do you think?

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    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DreamerMeg - fascinating story,isn't it?

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Never knew about her!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @jolou: I agree. He was under pressure to 'breed' heirs to the throne and Diana was probably the best candidate for that, but I'm sure they were rarely happy. Charles is much more jolly now!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 3 years ago

      No question Charles seems much happier. Diana and Charles were very ill suited. I looked back at their wedding on Youtube awhile back and it was clear that he wasn't in love. It should have been obvious at the time, but I guess the world was craving a love story.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Diana Wenzel: True. It must be a strange life when your every move is reported by the media.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Well Kanga is news to me. Not that I'm surprised. Just in case you're wondering, I wouldn't be his type. Thank heavens. Leave me out of the scandals. Such a curious lifestyle.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Elsie Hagley: Thank you for reading!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: Thanks for dropping by!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      What do I think? I didn't know anything about it until I read your article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Your articles are always so interesting. This was fun to read and join in the speculation. Thanks for sharing this. I do agree, Charles seems happier. Not sure about anyone else! Ha!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @evelynsaenz1: She was often in the newspapers in the seventies but of course that was just in the UK so I doubt people elsewhere knew about her. And the story has largely been wiped from history since. Anyone under a certain age wouldn't remember. Oh dear, I'm old.... :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JohnTannahill: Ah, well then, there you go :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      She was quite probably the best looking one of the three ladies, but it's not always about that. A meeting of the minds can sometimes be sexier than the body. This is a story I've never known before, and thanks for sharing it. Superb!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: I think she was gorgeous too. And the still photographs don't show just what a bubbly personality she had. If only she had been more discreet.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SteveKaye: Celebrities rarely have the wonderful life we imagine, do they?

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DeborahDian: Thank you - it's a fascinating subject.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 3 years ago from Royalton

      I have read a lot about the royal family but had never heard of Kanga before. Thank you for the introduction and the scandalous thought of conspiracy. :)

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 3 years ago from Somewhere in England

      The forgotten mistress - I'd forgotten about her.

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      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      This really makes me feel glad that I have lived a dull life.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DeborahDian: Thank you! It's so sad that such lovely lady was marginalised. She had her problems and imperfections but we all do.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      I loved this article and learned so much from it!