- King Charles III is the current ruling British monarch of the United Kingdom.
- He is married to Queen Camilla.
- The king was previously married to the late Princess Diana.
- King Charles III and Queen Camilla were officially crowned at the coronation on May 6, 2023.
King Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles‘ love story is one that has spanned decades. Camilla was King Charles’ first great love, and their connection to one another could never be severed despite royal duties and marriages. Both King Charles and Queen Camilla married other people, with Charles marrying Princess Diana in 1981. Through scandal and tragedy, their bond could never be broken. They finally got their happy ending 35 years after they first met.
Now the couple is embarking on a new journey: as King and Queen. Take a look at the royal couple’s complicated relationship timeline that covers 50 years ahead of their coronation.
The Beginning Of Charles & Camilla
King Charles and Camilla met for the first time at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in 1970. They begin dating and develop deep feelings for each other. However, when Charles goes off to serve in the Royal Navy, their romance fizzled.
When Charles returned, Camilla was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles. They married on July 4, 1973. Andrew had previously dated King Charles’ sister, Princess Anne. Camilla and Arthur had two children: Tom and Lauren. Charles and Camilla remained close during this time, with Charles even becoming Tom’s godfather.
Diana Enters The Picture
Lady Diana Spencer and Charles met through Diana’s sister, Sarah, in 1977. King Charles and Sarah actually dated for a brief period. He and Diana began dating in 1980. They got engaged in Feb. 1981 and married in a lavish royal wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981.
Camilla attended the wedding, and Diana admitted that she looked for Charles’ ex in the audience. “I knew [Camilla] was there, of course. I looked for her,” Diana later told biographer Andrew Morton in audiotapes, which were later transcribed for his book, Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words. “So walking down the aisle, I spotted Camilla, pale gray, veiled pillbox hat, saw it all, her son Tom standing on a chair. To this day you know — vivid memory.”
An Affair Ignites
After the birth of Prince Harry, Princess Diana and King Charles’ marriage continued to deteriorate. He and Camilla reportedly began having an affair in 1986, according to Sally Bedell Smith’s biography of Charles, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life.
Princess Diana revealed to Morton in interviews that “something inside me closed off” after Prince Harry’s birth. “By then, I knew Charles had gone back to his lady,” Diana told Morton.
Diana Confronts Camilla
Princess Diana claimed to Morton that she confronted Camilla about her affair with Charles. The alleged confrontation took place in 1989 at a birthday party for Camilla’s sister.
“Camilla, I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on between you and Charles. I wasn’t born yesterday,” Diana reportedly told Camilla. Camilla allegedly responded, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world to fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children. What more do you want?” Diana said, “I want my husband.”
Andrew Morton’s bombshell book, Diana: Her True Story — In Her Own Words, was published in 1992. That same year, intimate phone conversations between Charles and Camilla that took place in 1989 were leaked to the press and dubbed “Camillagate.” In the tapes, Charles and Camilla talked openly about their feelings for one another. After the tapes leaked, Diana and Charles announced their separation in Dec. 1992.
Charles Admits He Was Unfaithful To Diana
Charles sat down for an explosive interview with journalist Jonathan Dimbleby in 1994. He called Camilla a “great” friend and said that he did try to stay faithful to Diana “until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.”
Charles & Diana Divorce
Diana took part in a shocking interview of her own in 1995. During her BBC interview with Martin Bashir, she talked openly about Charles’ relationship with Camilla.
“There were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana famously said. Charles and Diana’s divorce was made official in 1996. Camilla and Andrew’s marriage ended in divorce in 1995.
The People’s Princess Dies
In July 1997, Charles hosted a 50th birthday party for Camilla at his country home. The next month, Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car accident in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997. She was only 36.
Charles, along with Diana’s sisters, flew to Paris to bring Diana’s body back to England. Charles and Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were devastated by their mother’s death. The world mourned the loss of Princess Diana.
A Rekindled Romance
By 1998, Charles took a big step by introducing Camilla to his sons. The next year, Charles hosted a 50th birthday party for Camilla’s sister in London. Charles and Camilla were photographed leaving the party together, which was a sign they were going public with their romance.
Charles and Camilla went on vacation to Greece with William and Harry in 1999. In 2003, Camilla officially moved into Clarence House, King Charles’ residence.
King Charles and Queen Camilla announced their engagement in Feb. 2005. They married on April 9, 2005. Prince William was his father’s best man. While Queen Elizabeth II did not attend the wedding, she did go to the reception.
Camilla was given the title Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. Prior the late Queen’s wish for Camilla to be named Queen Consort for when Charles was to become king, Clarence House announced prior to their 2005 wedding that “it is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.”
Clarence House reconfirmed in March 2020 that Camilla will be the princess consort when Charles takes the throne. “The intention is for the duchess to be known as princess consort when the prince accedes to the throne,” a spokesperson for the couple told The Times. “This was announced at the time of the marriage and there has been absolutely no change at all.” As mentioned earlier in this article, Camilla will now simply be referred to as Queen Camilla.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla posed for a new official portrait at Buckingham Palace ahead of their coronation ceremony. “As the countdown to the Coronation continues, a new photograph of The King and The Queen Consort, taken last month in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, has been released,” the official Instagram account for The Royal Family captioned the new snapshot, which was also shared via Twitter on April 4, 2023.
At the coronation ceremony, King Charles III and Queen Camilla were officially crowned. The coronation came just 8 months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II Before her death, the late monarch had decreed that Camilla’s title be changed to Queen Consort upon the time her son ascended to the throne. Charles was officially named King on September 10, 2022. The late Elizabeth II was known as “regnant,” which meant she claimed the throne via her bloodline. Consort is typically a title given to the spouse of a reigning monarch. However, Camilla will not actually have any ruling rights.
On the day of the coronation, the official palace website changed Camilla’s title to “Queen Camilla,” rather than “Queen Consort.” Royal expert Omid Scobie tweeted, “Queen Consort no more. The official Royal Family website has just updated Camilla’s title to The Queen.”
Queen Camilla wore Queen Mary’s crown during the coronation, while King Charles III donned St. Edward’s crown. After they were officially crowned, King Charles III and Queen Camilla rode to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach, the carriage used at every coronation since 1831.