When their illicit romantic affair went public more than two decades ago, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles knew that the road ahead was going to be tough for them. They knew they needed to do everything in their capacity to win the approval of the public — even if that meant having to use the young Prince William as “human shield.”

There was a time in royal history when Prince Charles and Camilla were two of the most-hated members of the royal family. Since Prince Charles cheated on Princess Diana, seeing the Prince of Wales marry his mistress was a tough pill to swallow for the British public. Even Queen Elizabeth abhorred their relationship and wanted Camilla out of her son’s life.

With Camilla facing a frosty reception from the public, she and Prince Charles had to think of a way to improve her image and win the hearts of the people. In his book “William And Catherine,” royal biographer Andrew Morton revealed that Clarence House strategically took advantage of Prince William to gain positive coverage of the Duchess of Cornwall as the new wife of Prince Charles.

“While William instinctively wanted to be left alone, Camilla deliberately kept a low profile, as courtiers carefully introduced her to the wider world,” Morton revealed. “Prince William was, as Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson points out, effectively used as her ‘human shield,’ information about the young prince being given out for favorable coverage of Charles and Camilla,” he added.

Prince Charles and Camilla knew how Prince William’s acceptance of their relationship could turn the tables for them, so they went on to win the approval of the young prince. According to Morton, the pivotal moment was Camilla’s first meeting with William, which took place days after his 16th birthday at St. James Palace.

Although Camilla was anxious at first, everything turned out well that day. In fact, just a few weeks later, Prince William invited Camilla to join their family outing — a sign that he was slowly letting her into their lives.

“The signs were clear,” Morton wrote. “The young prince’s presence in Camilla’s company was forgiveness for perceived as transgressions. For the watching media and the public, the subtext was obvious: If William could forgive, so could the rest of the world,” he added. As the British public witnessed Prince William’s heart soften toward Camilla, they learned to forgive the ex-mistress for her past transgression and accept her as the new partner of Prince Charles.

Prince Charles and Camilla Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend the opening of a new terminal at the Owen Roberts International Airport on March 27, 2019, in George Town, Cayman Islands. Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images