Recent times have seen the British monarchy’s “Fab Four” charm the public and turn attention away from some of its old history. Royal relationships have always been a source of intrigue to the public, with one of the most scrutinized being that of Prince Charles and Lady Di.
Although Princess Diana passed away over twenty years ago, for many people, there is a lingering cloud associated with the union of her ex-husband Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles. It was a scandal that tainted people’s opinions of them but also invited questions.
A huge one? Why marry someone else if he was in love with Camilla? It is no secret that when he was married to Diana, Prince Charles was unfaithful and carried on an affair with Camilla. He’d known her way before he ever met his future wife, as they met at a polo match in 1970.
Their courtship lasted a year, and royal biographers attribute this to disapproval from the royal family. But there were other factors at work as well. For one, the prince was scheduled to go off with the Royal Navy and would be deployed for some time.
However, the palace did not want the prince to wed Camilla Shand. It’s said they preferred for him to court a young, chaste woman who’d not been another man. Additionally, they also wanted someone who had a more “noble” pedigree.
Their idea was to persuade Prince Charles to find love with a woman who was connected in royal circles. Hence, the Spencer family.
At the time, Camilla was involved in an on-again, off-again relationship for years with her beau Andrew Parker Bowles. Her own father wanted her to marry Parker Bowles, and launched a plan to push Andrew into a proposal. So, he published a fake public notice announcing their engagement. It was done.
Years later in 1977, Prince Charles met a teenage Diana Spencer when she was just 16 and he was dating her older sister. Those two ended their ‘ship and by 1980, he was dating Lady Diana. But Camilla and Charles were always only separated by a few degrees.
Parker-Bowles at one time dated Princess Anne, and he was part of the Household Cavalry. That meant when Prince Charles married Princess Diana in 1981, he was part of the wedding processional, and his then-wife was present too (against Diana’s wishes).
Once the affair became public, Prince Charles divorced Diana shortly after, and Camilla and her husband divorced a few years after that. In and out of each other’s lives for decades, the couple finally made things official. By 2005, they married in a civil ceremony although the Queen did not attend.
Still going strong, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall just celebrated Camilla’s 71st birthday this week. Check out footage from their wedding day in the video below.
Were you wondering why these two didn’t wed decades ago? Are you a fan of this couple? What do you think of the families’ influence and intervention?