‘The Crown’ season 4 will continue to explore Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ relationship. After decades that included marriages to other people, they finally got their happy ending together.
Prince Charles, now 72, and Camilla Parker Bowles’ love story is one that has spanned decades. Camilla, now 73, was Prince Charles’ first great love, and their connection to one another could never be severed despite royal duties and marriages. As The Crown season 4 moves forward with the history of the royals, Charles and Camilla’s relationship gets even more complicated.
Both Prince Charles and 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. Take a look at the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s complicated relationship timeline that covers 50 years.
The Beginning Of Charles & Camilla
Prince 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 Prince Charles’ sister, Princess Anne. Camilla and Arthur had two children: Tom and Lauren. Charles and Camilla remained close during this time, with Prince Charles even becoming Tom’s godfather.
Diana Enters The Picture
Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles met through Diana’s sister, Sarah, in 1977. Prince Charles and Sarah actually dated for a brief period. Prince Charles 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 Prince Charles’ marriage continued to deteriorate. Prince Charles and Camilla reportedly began having an affair in 1986, according to Sally Bedell Smith’s biography of Prince 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 Prince 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
Prince 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 Prince 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.
Prince 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, Prince 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, Prince Charles’ residence.
Prince Charles and 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. As for her title when Charles becomes 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.” Technically, the title for the wife of a reigning king is queen consort.
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.”