How my mother regrets sending me to boarding school at the age of seven, by the Duchess of Cornwall’s son Tom Parker Bowles
- 39-year-old described his prep school as a ‘hotbed of all sorts of things’
- Reminded Camilla of boarding school days when his daughter turned 7
- Duchess said she would ‘never do it again’, but ‘it was the thing you did’
- Mr Parker Bowles went on to Eton and later to Oxford
- Describes Camilla as a ‘brilliant grandmother’ who works ‘incredibly hard’
The Duchess of Cornwall told her son she regretted sending him to boarding school, he has revealed.
Describing his prep school as a ‘hotbed of all sorts of things that are coming out now’, Tom Parker Bowles told how one master at his prep school would join the boys in the shower.
Mr Parker Bowles, 39, revealed that when his daughter turned seven this month, he reminded his mother: ‘You sent me away eight months after this.’
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Revelations: Tom Parker Bowles says his mother, the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured together in 1996) told him she regrets sending him to boarding school at the age of seven, but ‘it was the thing you did’
In an interview with The Times, he claims that she was ‘slightly appalled, saying she’d never do it again’, adding: ‘But it was the thing you did.’
Mr Parker Bowles, a food critic, says his children, Lola and Freddie, go to day schools in London, although he intends to send his son to board at Eton College when he is 13.
He refers to his school days at Summer Fields prep school in Oxford as ‘a hotbed of all the sorts of things that are coming out now’, including one master who take a shower in the morning with the pupils.
Mr Parker Bowles said his father had urged him to speak up if anything untoward happened at Summer Fields.
He said: ‘It was just certain things that weren’t right and I’d say to my dad and he’d say “Well, you tell me if anything happens”. And it never did.’
Food critic to be: A young Tom Parker Bowles enjoys a hot dog during a day out in May 1980
Concern: Mr Parker Bowles, pictured with his family in 1980, said his father, Lt Col Andrew Parker Bowles (left) had urged him to speak up if anything untoward happened at school
He went on to Eton, which he says he enjoyed, but his grades were so poor that his father used to threaten to send him to a comprehensive school if he did not work harder.
Mr Parker Bowles said: ‘He meant it, [saying] “I’m not going to spend all this money on you if you’re not going to pull your f****** finger out”.
‘He drove me past Corsham comprehensive and I just remember thinking how many pretty girls there were, but there were also tough-looking boys, not like the sort of boys at Eton.’
Mr Parker Bowles, who calls himself ‘a good old pleb’, says that he was not a high-flyer at school, although he still got into Oxford.
He said: ‘I was rubbish at everything. I was good at smoking. We knew where a couple of pubs were where you could drink underage, but, apart from a couple of English prizes, I moved like a ghost through that school.’
Choices: Mr Parker Bowles, 39, revealed that when his daughter turned seven this month, he reminded his mother: ‘You sent me away eight months after this’
Joining families: Mr Parker Bowles’s mother married Prince Charles in 2005. He had been been at Oxford when news of their relationship became public
He also revealed the pain of finding out about his mother’s affair with Prince Charles – to the extent of avoiding reading newspapers when the relationship became public. His mother and Prince Charles married in 2005.
He was at Oxford in 1993 when Camilla-gate broke and the nation read a transcript of a very intimate telephone conversation between the pair.
He recalled: ‘I sort of remember not looking at the paper. Because, you know, Jesus, the things that we’ve all said to people that we love … that you wouldn’t want the world reading.
‘I just felt pissed off. I wasn’t going to read that sort of stuff about my mother, just as much as she wouldn’t want to read it about me or my kids certainly wouldn’t want to read it about me.’
Parent: Describing his mother, he said: ‘She is a brilliant grandmother. I mean, she works incredibly hard’
Describing his mother, he added: ‘She is a brilliant grandmother. I mean, she works incredibly hard.
‘She’d be the first to say that she didn’t really have a job apart from being our mother, which she was very good at, and suddenly age 55 she is working.’
Mr Parker Bowles told BBC Five Live yesterday that he ignored criticism of his mother and Prince Charles and was unaffected by Twitter trolls.
He said: ‘There’s absolutely nothing anyone can say about my mother or myself or my step-father that we haven’t heard before. You’d have to be a Dickens or a Nabakov to come up with something really offensive.
‘It’s just words, stick and stones and all that. It’s not real fear or real danger. People moan about Twitter, about trolling, you just turn it off.’
Mr Parker Bowles has written a series of travel books about food as well as a number of recipe books. He was named as one of the most followed restaurant critics on Twitter earlier this year.
Student: Mr Parker Bowles, pictured with his mother last week at the launch of his new book, says that he was not a high-flyer at school, although he still got into Oxford
Education: Mr Parker Bowles, a food critic, says his children, Lola and Freddie, go to day schools in London, although he intends to send his son to board at Eton College when he is 13
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