The bond between King Charles and Camilla dates back decades. Their love story can really be traced back to 1972, when they met during a polo tournament.
Gyles Brandreth writes in the book Charles and Camilla, Portrait of a Love Affair that Charles and Camilla were met by their mutual acquaintance Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the Chilean ambassador.
The pair dated for a period before Charles departed to join the Royal Navy. Camilla was involved and betrothed to Andrew Parker Bowles by the time he came back.
Bowles and Camilla married in 1973, although Camilla remained close and friendly with Charles. The king had begun courting Diana Spencer, a 16-year-old at the time.
Camilla believed Diana was “lovely and adorable” when she was introduced to the Bowles couple and approved of her. Diana and Camilla got along well at first. But things quickly became awkward.
Diana met Camilla fairly early on in their relationship. Diana was brought into the circle, but she was a danger—a very little girl, yet she was a threat, as Diana stated in Diana: In Her Own Words.
Charles and Camilla’s romance began in 1986, according to Prince Charles’ authorized biography. At the time, Charles was still married to Princess Diana. She discovered it and confronted Camilla.
Things went on as normal for Charles and Diana, at least from the public’s viewpoint. But the couple’s storybook existence wasn’t long in coming.
The couple announced their divorce in 1992, but both continued to perform formal royal obligations. Four years later, in August 1996, they agreed to a divorce settlement.
Things about Charles’s connection with Camilla had already gained the public’s attention at that point. And what transpired in December 1989 proved conclusively that they had been having an affair for years.
A full transcript of a phone call between Charles and Camilla was made public by the press just a few months after Charles and Diana’s divorce.
The phone conversation showed the couple’s personal and sexual encounter. However, according to The Diana Chronicles, the individual who recorded it kept it for years for himself.
As one could expect, the popular response was negative. For starters, Princess Diana was a national symbol who was adored by everybody, and the notion of Charles going behind her back and inflicting her harm was unthinkable.
The future king was embroiled in the controversy, and hearing him utter words like “live inside her trousers” was completely unexpected and thought unacceptable. A poll was issued immediately after the transcript was published, according to Sally Bedel Smith, author of the book Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern March.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents believed then-Prince Charles had ruined his image, and 42 percent thought Prince William should succeed Elizabeth as queen.
But what occurred didn’t only harm Charles. Camilla was also chastised, both by the public and by members of the Royal Family.
The phone conversation in 1989 proved without doubt that Charles had an affair with Camilla while still married to Diana. Camilla had also strayed on her husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, according to the evidence.
Camilla was initially unpopular with the general public, as was predictable. She was also not a favorite of Queen Elizabeth.
In 2018, investigative author and journalist Tom Bower alleged that the Queen initially refused to connect with Camilla.
At the time of Diana’s death, there was an ongoing attempt to “publicize” Charles and Camilla’s relationship. However, after Diana’s death, that was immediately dropped.
It all got too much for Charles at one point. He faced his mom at Balmoral Castle, according to novelist and journalist Tom Bower.
He requested that she lessen her opposition so that he might live freely with Camilla, he said. His hope was that the Queen, who seldom intervened, would not ban it explicitly.
The Queen, on the other hand, was alleged to have stormed out on Charles.
Camilla was having difficulty being welcomed by the Queen when she and Charles married. Yet, after the affair was disclosed years previously, the Queen Consort almost vanished due to the way the people regarded her.
In an interview with Jonathan Dimbelby in 1994, Charles admitted to being disloyal to Diana. By this point, the Princess had talked about it, yet Charles was the first to acknowledge the reports.
The name of Prince Charles’ lover had not been verified at the time. However, it became evident that it was Camilla when Jonathan Dimbelby released the authorized biography of Charles in the Sunday Times later that month.
There was no question that they loved each other. Dimbelby wrote at the time that the prince found in Camilla Parker Bowles the tenderness, compassion, and firmness that he had always sought and had never found with any other person.
Camilla had to endure “torrents” of hostility from the public after the affair was disclosed, according to royal analyst Angela Levin, author of the 2022 book Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: A Royal Survivor. According to Levin, she felt compelled to spend the most of her time at home in order to escape public outrage.
Furthermore, the expert believes Camilla was too frightened to go shopping or visit businesses. Rather, she had to rely on her pals to do her tasks.
It was tough for her since she was represented as the most terrible lady in the world. She was called a rottweiler over and over again, and Levin said that she must have been shocked by how mean people were to her.
According to reports, Charles paid for Camilla’s security by employing two full-time protection personnel. When they married in 2005, she became eligible for government-funded security, and Charles no longer had to pay for it out of his own money.
Camilla’s popularity among the general public grew over time. Nonetheless, Angela Levin believes she must still endure the wounds of it all.
Levin also said that Camilla would likely be nervous before Charles’ coronation because she still gets nervous about things.
She never knows how individuals will respond to her, the royal expert and novelist continued. A small but significant number of individuals still believe she’s the wrong woman for him.
Furthermore, Camilla’s relationship with the Queen has improved over time.
It was long discussed if Camilla would become Queen Consort or not. But, it wasn’t until earlier this year, on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee, commemorating 70 years on the throne, that the Queen publicly acknowledged her daughter-in-law’s status in the monarchy for the first time.
Her Majesty said that it was her genuine desire that Camilla be recognized as Queen Consort when Charles was sworn in as King.
The coronation of King Charles will take place on May 6, and with it, Camilla will be formally called Queen Consort. However, speculations indicate that she may delete the “Consort” from her title before the coronation.
Richard Palmer, a royal reporter for the Express and an expert, says that Camilla’s title is likely to change before the coronation. No formal word from the Palace on it, he remarked. He does, however, imply that change is on the way.
She is referred to as the Queen in certain articles. He believes they will abandon the Consort at some point. Every Queen Consort has simply been referred to as the Queen, Richard Palmer said.
Camilla has not only been embraced by the people, yet she has also become one of the most popular members of the Royal Family today. Following the Queen’s death, she became a symbol of strength and bravery, and she has continued to play an important role in Crown service.