Erin Davie, the actress who plays Camilla Parker Bowles, the mistress-turned-wife of Prince Charles in Broadway’s new production “Diana: The Musical,” (premiering Nov. 17), is the first to admit that her real-life character isn’t known for her fashion sense.
As a result, she didn’t protest when the show’s costume designer decided to sex up Camilla’s typically stuffy look.
“We made her jackets and skirts a little more tailored than the ones she usually wears,” Davie told The Post.
Unlike Charles’ late ex-wife, Diana — a clothes horse with a passion for top-notch labels — Camilla has, over many decades, been knocked for her love of buttoned-up tweed, despite a team of stylists reportedly being brought in to help the Brit’s image following her marriage to the future king.
Davie concedes that her alter ego’s wig, which replicates Camilla’s lacquered and winged coiffure, is not the slightest bit flattering. “That hair!” she exclaimed in mock horror.
The 44-year-old actress, a Nashville native who moved to New York City 20 years ago, made her Broadway debut in 2006 as Little Edie in the award-winning musical “Grey Gardens,” about the eccentric Hamptons socialite and her controlling mother.
Davie has since appeared in Broadway productions including “Sunday in the Park With George.” and “Curtains.” But the Queens resident reckons her English-accented role of Countess Charlotte Malcolm in the 2009 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” — alongside Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta Jones — helped her disguise her Southern drawl and tackle Camilla’s posh voice in “Diana”
“We have a dialect coach who comes in and tells you what to tweak or fix,” the actress said, admitting: “I still get caught up on things vowel wise so the accent is not perfect.”
Davie revealed that her previous knowledge of Camilla was mostly limited to how unpopular the duchess once was.
Camilla and Prince Charles had dated in their early twenties, around 1970. But, as fans of “The Crown” know, courtiers at Buckingham Palace felt that a so-called “woman with history” wasn’t marriage material for the future king. Instead, Camilla wed army officer Andrew Parker Bowles in 1974 — then rekindled the romance with Charles.
Lady Diana Spencer arrived on the scene in 1980 and, as a 20-year-old virgin bride, tied the knot with Charles on July 29, 1981. Their initial union seemed like a fairytale, but Charles’ enduring passion for Camilla wrought havoc on the marriage.
Ironically, Camilla is the great-great granddaughter of 19th century socialite Alice Keppel, the favorite mistress of Charles’s great-great grandfather, King Edward II.
“I was only aware of the basics but, when I was researching my part, I found out so much that was surprising,” Davie said. “For example, I didn’t know about the recording of the [intimate] phone conversation between Charles and Camilla.”
She was referring to the notorious “Camillagate” tapes that emerged in 1993 in which the prince allegedly joked that he wanted to be reincarnated as her tampon.
“If you didn’t know it was real, you would say this reads like a soap opera,” Davie said.
Things finally came to a head in 1992 when Charles and Diana officially separated. Their 1995 divorce came a year after Diana’s explosive TV interview, in which she famously said: “There were three of us in this marriage.”
After that, Camilla (who divorced her own husband in 1995 as well) was perceived by many as the villainous other woman — to the point that she was once pelted with bread rolls by angry Diana fans in a grocery store.
It didn’t help, Davie pointed out, that “Everybody seemed to be cruel to Camilla, saying how unattractive she was.”
After Diana was tragically killed in a Paris car accident in 1997, it seemed unfathomable that the British — and, indeed, global — public would accept Camilla as Charles’ new partner.
But attitudes towards the now 74-year-old Camilla — who will likely assume the title of Princess Consort when her husband becomes king — has softened. Forgiving subjects appear to have accepted the fact that Charles and Camilla were divided by circumstances but were really, truly in love for five decades.
“I think the most interesting part of their love story is how hard it must have been for them to pine for each other and not be together for so long,” said Davie.
The Camilla she portrays in “Diana: The Musical” is a multi-layered person who doesn’t come across as the baddie. Still, the character’s calculating side is exposed when she reels in Diana and presses Charles to take the naive teenager as his bride. She doesn’t think Diana is a real threat, bur rather someone they can trample over and maintain their affair.
The actress, who lives with her partner Nehal Joshi, an actor appearing at the moment in Lincoln Center’s “Flying Over Sunset,” approached her interpretation of Camilla with delicacy, especially since the duchess is very much alive.
“Our intention is not to make fun of anybody or cause tension,” she explained. “The musical is made with affection and love for these people and their stories. It’s to celebrate them and bring joy and humor to our audience.”
Certainly, Davie’s Camilla delivers a fair few zingers on stage.
The audience can’t help but laugh when Charles’ lover encounters Diana for the first time and tells his future bride that she and the prince are “chums.”
In fact, the actress believes that, if they were to see the show, the long-suffering members of the House of Windsor “might get a little bit of a kick out of it.”
“I feel like they have a pretty good sense of humor,” Davie added. “They’ve had so much shit happen to them, I think they can handle a musical celebrating the story.”
Returning to the issue of Camilla’s powers of attraction — the actress has to wear falsies in her bra since “she has a bigger bust than me” — Davie said her sexier, on-stage appearance reflects the way the duchess has always been seen by Charles.
Now, Davie said, “I see her the same way.”
Photos: René Cervantes; Stylist: Elise Sandvik/See Mgmt; Hair: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT using Eva NYC; Makeup: Markphong Tram/ABTP using RCMA Makeup/Melody Joy PR, Stylist Assistant: Ryan Castelli