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The royal romance that made history

While it’s happily ever after for King Charles and Queen Camilla, it was a long road to get to that point.

In the summer of 1970, the two reportedly met during a polo match at Great Windsor Park. The two shared a love of polo and the same sense of humor as Camilla joked her great-grandmother had an affair with King Edward VII. They began dating but Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy. When he came back, Camilla was already engaged. 

Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles who ironically, dated Charles’ sister, Princess Anne. They would go on to have two children. As for Charles, he wouldn’t find love until 1980 when he began dating Lady Diana Spencer. The two would get married in July 1981 during a wedding watched by an estimated 750 million people across the world. Camilla was reportedly in attendance at the ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral. 

According to Charles’ authorized biography, he began to have an affair with Camilla in 1986. Diana would confront Camilla about it at a party in 1989. Diana and Charles’ marriage would go on to crumble and in 1992, they announced they were separating. A few years later in 1995, Camilla would divorce Andrew Parker Bowles. That same year, Diana famously said during a BBC interview when asked about Camilla, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996 with the princess dying the following year in a car crash in Paris. The ongoing relationship between the then heir to the throne and Camilla remained discreet as the Royal Family recovered from the shock of Diana’s loss.

It was a hurdle to get Queen Elizabeth II’s official approval for their relationship. Ultimately, Her Late Majesty accepted an invitation to a birthday party for the former King of Greece. Knowing Camilla would be there, many saw this as a sign she accepted her son’s relationship.

In 2005, the couple announced their engagement and were married in a civil ceremony on 9 April. The Queen did not attend the wedding but did go to the reception afterward. In order to have Diana remain the only Princess of Wales, Camilla took on the title of the Duchess of Cornwall.

As part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, Her Late Majesty famously said it is her “sincere wish” that when the time comes, Camilla would be known as Queen Consort. That time would come shortly afterwards when Elizabeth died in September 2022. 

Queen Camilla was crowned alongside King Charles in May 2023.

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About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.