Inside King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ Complicated Love Story

From alleged affair to King and Queen.
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King Charles and Queen Consort, Camilla Parker Bowles, have arguably one of the most controversial relationship timelines in recent royal history.

After dating briefly in their younger years, the pair were both married to different partners, before allegedly finding their way back to one another through a not-so secret affair.

Below, we chart their less-than-conventional union, from young friends, to King and Queen of England

1970 — Charles And Camilla First Meet

According to the BBC, Charles and Camilla first met at a polo game in Great Windsor Park in 1970, when he was 22, and she was 23. Historian and advisor on the television series The Crown Robert Lacey reported that the pair were introduced by mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the then Chilean Ambassador of London. 

(Credit: Image: Getty)

1973 — Camilla Marries Andrew Parker Bowles

Charles and Camilla dated briefly, until Charles was ordered to serve in the Royal Navy. In his absence, Camilla found new love with Andrew Parker Bowles, who she married in 1973.

Camilla’s wedding to Andrew at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, 4th July 1973. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1974 — Camilla And Andrew Expand Their Family

In 1974, Camilla and Andrew welcomed their first child, Tom Parker Bowles. In testament to Camilla’s enduring friendship with Charles, Charles was named Tom’s godfather. 

The pair also welcomed a daughter, Laura Parker Bowles, in 1978.

Laura and Tom Parker Bowles. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1977 — Charles Meets Diana

Charles met Lady Diana Spencer when he was 31, and she was just 16. At the time, Charles was dating Diana’s elder sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, who later said: “I introduced them. I’m Cupid.”

A young Charles and Diana. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1980 — Charles And Diana Begin Their Relationship

Charles and Diana began dating in 1980, and were engaged the following year. 

Shortly after news of their engagement was announced by Buckingham Palace, Charles said, “I feel positively delighted and frankly amazed that Di is prepared take me on.”

Charles and Diana after announcing their engagement. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1981 — Charles And Diana Tie The Knot

Charles and Diana were married in 1981, just a few months after news of their engagement broke.

The ceremony took place at St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, with Camilla reportedly among those in attendance. 

Charles and Diana stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1982-1984 — Charles And Diana’s Family Grows

Soon after getting married, Charles and Diana welcomed two boys: Prince William, in 1982, and Prince Harry in 1984.

Charles and Diana with Harry and William. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1986 — An Affair Between Charles And Camilla Begins

Although they were both married and with four children between them, Charles and Camilla reportedly began an affair in 1986, per Charles’ authorised biography

Charles and Camilla attend a gala dinner. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1989 — Diana Confronts Camilla

Three years after the affair began, Diana approached her husband’s mistress at a party. In a tape recording made by the late princess for her biographer, Andrew Morton, she describes saying to Camilla:

“I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.”

According to Diana, Camilla responded by saying: “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’”

“So I said, ‘I want my husband’. And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way … and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot’,” Diana went on. 

Diana and Camilla at Ludlow racecourse. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1992 — The Affair Is Leaked

In June 1992, Diana confirmed Charles and Camilla’s affair to the public, via the publication of Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story.

In December of the same year, Prime Minister John Major announced that Charles and Diana had officially separated.

Charles and Diana attend a Royal engagement. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1993 — More Details Of The Affair Emerge

An intimate phone conversation between Charles and Camilla was leaked to the public. 

Though British tabloids redacted much of the details, the recording was taken by many as an indicator of a longstanding affair. 

Charles and Camilla attend a Royal fashion show and gala. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1994 — Charles Reclaims His Reputation

Charles enlisted a documentarist to follow him for year, in an attempt to repair the damage done to his public image by news of the affair, per Town & Country

During filming, filmmaker Jonathan Dimbleby asked Charles if he was faithful to Diana throughout their marriage, to which he responded, “Yes, yes… Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.” 

Charles also spoke of Camilla, saying, “She has been a friend for a very long timeand will continue to be a friend for a very long time.”

Charles visiting California in 1994. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1995 — Camilla And Andrew Divorce

Three years after Charles and Diana officially separated, Camilla and Andrew announced their divorce.

In the same year, Diana sits down to be interviewed by Martin Bashir, where he asks her if Camilla contributed to her marital breakdown.

“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she responded.

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles attend the Queen’s Cup polo match. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1996 — Charles And Diana Divorce

On August 28, 1996, Charles and Diana’s divorce was finalised.

(Credit: Image: Getty)

1997 — Diana Passes Away

One year after Charles and Diana’s divorce, and one month after Charles hosted a 50th birthday party for Camilla, Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, France.

Charles flew to Paris alongside Diana’s sisters to bring her body back to England, where Charles, Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Diana’s brother walked in the funeral procession.

Princess Diana. (Credit: Image: Getty)

1998 — Charles And Camilla Go Public

In January, 1998, Charles hosted a birthday party for Camilla’s sister. Although he and Camilla arrived at the venue–the Ritz Hotel, London–separately, they were photographed leaving together, marking their first public appearance together.

In the same year, Camilla holidayed in Greece with Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry.

Camilla and Charles leaving the Ritz Hotel together. (Credit: Image: Getty)

2003 — Charles And Camilla Move In Together

Camilla and Charles take the next step in their now-public relationship, moving into Clarence House together. Before them, the aristocratic house was home to The Queen Mother for nearly five decades.

Camilla and Charles drive in his Aston Martin. (Credit: Image: Getty)

2005 — Charles And Camilla Are Engaged

Two years after moving in together, Camilla and Charles announced their engagement in February, 2005. In April that year, they were married in a civil ceremony.

Although the Queen did not attend the ceremony, she was present for reception. The couples’ four children from their previous relationships were all in attendance, with Prince William acting as Best Man to his father. 

After their marriage, Camilla was given the title Her Royal Highness Duchess of Cornwall.

Charles and Camilla’s official wedding photo. (Credit: Image: Getty)

2020 — Charles And Camilla Celebrate 15 Years Of Marriage

Charles and Camilla commemorated their 15th wedding anniversary with a photo taken outside Birkhall Hall, with their dogs, Bluebell and Beth.

2022 — Camilla Receives The Queen’s Blessing

Before her death, the late Queen Elizabeth II expressed her wish for Camilla to be named Queen Consort when Charles takes the thrown. Previously, it was thought that she would be named Princess Consort when Charles became King. 

Camilla and Charles will be officially coronated on May 6, 2023

Charles, Camilla, and Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. (Credit: Image: Getty)

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