Before Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall married Prince Charles, she was married to Andrew Parker Bowles. Over the years, fans have had questions about Camilla’s marriage such as: did Camilla divorce her husband? What really happened in the royal entanglement?
Prince Charles’ romance, marriage, and love life are arguably some of the most talked-about topics in the history of the British monarchy. The heir-apparent went full circle in his two major relationships, with Princess Diana and Duchess Camilla and all the drama unfolded before the public eye.
Netflix’s “The Crown” season 5, is currently in the works to portray Prince Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana. In reality, Charles was first with Camilla, and their affair reportedly extended into matrimony. Fans have had critical questions about the two, over the years. Did Camilla divorce her husband? Or did the affair affect her marriage? Here’s a look through all that ensued.
Prince Charles Meets Camilla
The much younger Prince Charles met Camilla, in 1970, during a polo match. The pair bonded over their love for polo, but Camilla did mention something else. She had joked about their ancestry at the time.
She lightly shared that her great-grandmother was the mistress of Prince Charles’ great-grandfather, King Edward VII. Camilla and Charles struck it off right from the start, going on to date briefly.
However, things went south after Charles joined the Royal Navy. When he returned, Camilla was already engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles. She married Bowles in 1973, and they welcomed two children, Tom and Laura, in 1974 and 1978 respectively.
All the while, Charles and Camilla were good friends. He even went on to become her son’s godfather. The Prince of Wales moved on with his love life a few years after Camilla’s second child was born.
Relationship With Princess Diana
The prince met Lady Diana Spencer in 1980 when she was 18, and he was 31. Prior to being introduced, Charles once dated Diana’s older sister, Lady Sarah Spencer. Ultimately Sarah introduced Charles and Diana to each other.
Charles would later propose to the young Diana the following year. While it panned out like a perfect match that came with a fairy-tale wedding, everything was not what it seemed.
One time before their wedding, an interviewer had asked the couple about love. Diana enthusiastically chimed that they were in love, while Prince Charles memorably replied, “whatever love means.”
But in a general sense and in daily reports, the pair were smitten. Charles once shared in another interview: “I feel positively delighted and frankly amazed that Di is prepared [to] take me on.”
On July 29, 1981, the famous couple exchanged their vows. This was in front of the royal family and over 750 million viewers worldwide. They welcomed their sons Prince William the following year, and Prince Harry, in 1984.
The Love Triangle That Turned Messy
According to a biography on Charles, one which he approved, he and Camilla began their affair in 1986. Diana became wary three years down the line and confronted Camilla in 1989.
An account of their conversation shows that Diana told Camilla she knew about her affair with Charles. After a few back and forth, she also warned Camilla off. Diana and Charles eventually separated in 1992 and during this period, there were multiple revealing tapes leading up to the divorce.
Diana would go on to document events for the freelance writer Andrew Morton. Morton published his book, “Diana: Her True Story,” which revealed details of Charles’ affair and Diana’s plight.
Did Camilla Divorce Her Husband?
More secret recordings made it to the public when a suggestive phone call between Charles and Camilla was released. Another tape recording of Diana’s phone call with a man named James Gilbey became public. Gilbey had been heard calling Diana by her nickname, Squidgy.
Things were getting messier by the minute. As Charles’ marriage to Diana became shaky, so did Camilla’s 21-year union with Andrew. So, ultimately, did Camilla divorce her husband?
In January 1995, Camilla and Andrew became officially separated. By December of the same year, British Journalist, Martin Bashir did an interview with Diana where he asked if Camilla was a factor in ending her marriage.
She replied: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Her reply would go on to become a famous one in the course of her marriage to the prince.
All these happened while the royals of Wales were in the midst of an irretrievably broken union. So when did Charles and Diana divorce? Diana and Prince Charles finalized their divorce in 1996.
Both parties moved on with their separate lives, as reports showed that Diana spent some time in Paris. Shortly after, in 1997, the Princess of Wales died in a fatal car crash in Paris. This came shortly after Charles organized a lavish 50th birthday party for Camilla.
Charles Marries Camilla
After the news of the death of the people’s princess spread, Charles swung into action, flying to Paris with two of her siblings to take her body back home. He had walked behind her coffin alongside his sons during the funeral.
Eight years later, he and Camilla decided to take their historical relationship to the next level. Charles and Camilla exchanged their vows in a civil ceremony without the Queen in attendance.
The event was indelible for this, and Camilla had to be coaxed on her wedding day. Royal biographer Penny Junor shared that Camilla was sick with Sinusitis. It took four people to convince and get her ready.
In honor of Diana, Camilla refused to take the Princess of Wales title and instead opted for the Cornwall title. The story of Charles’ love for Camilla in the 1970s could not blossom further for several reasons.
There were reports that she was not accepted for her social standing; Camilla was not royalty. Charles’ recruitment to the Royal Navy was also considered a factor.
These days Camilla’s status among royal watchers has grown to become more favorable. She has since gone from being one of the most hated royals to a loved and relatable duchess.