How did Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles Meet?

Camilla Parker Bowles has been called the most hated woman in Britain, due to her long-standing relationship with Prince Charles. In many ways, their love story led to the end of Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage. How did the prince and Camilla first meet?

Camilla Shand was born in 1947 (a year before Prince Charles) to aristocratic parents. She was a descendent of Alice Keppel, who became a mistress of King Edward VII. Camilla and Charles met in 1971, by some reports at a polo match, by other accounts introduced by a mutual friend at a party.

As an ice-breaker, Camilla reportedly said to Charles, “My great grandmother and your great-great-grandfather were lovers, so how about it?” The Prince, accustomed to dating young women who were members of royalty and often from foreign countries, found Camilla to be “a breath of fresh air.” She loved horses and the country, as he did. She spoke her mind freely, which was also probably welcome to him after dealing all day with servants and yes-men.

The two began dating.

Their romance seemed to end in 1973, when Charles moved overseas to train with the Royal Navy. Young and immature, Charles neglected to ask Camilla to wait for him to return. When he did come back eight months later, he found that Camilla had become engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles, a cavalry officer who had previously dated Prince Charles’ sister, Princess Anne.

Camilla and Andrew married on July 4, 1973. She was twenty-six years old. The wedding included 800 guests, including Princess Anne, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother. Also invited? Prince Charles, although he did not attend due to “another commitment.”

Andrew and Camilla went on to have two children, Tom and Laura, before divorcing in 1995.

Charles and Camilla visit the US in 2005 (photo public domain, FEMA library)

Charles and Camilla visit the US in 2005 (By Robert Kaufmann – FEMA Photo Library, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Despite Camilla’s marriage, she and Charles remained on friendly terms. She helped him select Highgrove House as his country home; it is close to the home when she and her husband lived. Charles and Camilla put their relationship on hold once Charles and Princess Diana married in 1981, although it always simmered: Diana was reportedly furious when, during their honeymoon, she discovered Charles wearing a gift from Camilla.

Diana was jealous of Camilla throughout her marriage to Prince Charles, nicknaming her “the rottweiler” and referring to her in a television interview as a third person in her marriage. In another television interview, Charles admitted to committing adultery, although he did not mention Camilla by name.

In tapes she made, Diana described a moment in 1989 when she confronted Camilla over her relationship with Charles while at a party.

According to Diana, she said, “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.”

She said Mrs Parker Bowles told her, “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’,” Diana said. “And I said to Camilla, ‘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’.”

Sigh … I actually am sympathetic to Camilla. I just wish Charles had married her in the first place and spared Diana the pain she went through. What do you think about Camilla?

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9 thoughts on “How did Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles Meet?

  1. I think it is sad Charles & Camilla did not marry years earlier. He obviously cares far more for her than he ever did Diana. I think it’s great how William & Harry accept Camilla.

  2. Sadly, I’ve never believed that Diana told the truth about that supposed conversation with Camilla…. It always gets swept under the rug that Di had so many lovers. That doesn’t excuse Charles at all, but still. The tragedy is that Charles and Di were only alone together a very, very few times before they were married–a Duggar-style “courtship” if you will. Had Lord Mountbatten not been killed I do not believe they would have ever dated, let alone married. Sad–he and Camilla are so much more to each other than he and Di could ever have hoped to have been. I think William’s desperation to live a “normal” (albeit very wealthy) life and Harry’s inability to pick someone suitable as a wife comes from the unhealthy childhood they had. Di is seen as such a super mother, but really, how hard is it to be mom of the century with an unlimited bank account, servants, two nanny’s, boarding school 8 1/2 months a year and only having to be with the kiddos or 1/2 their school holidays………….

  3. Crazy to hear some of the stories. You hear what people say about her and do the “Why can’t we all get along?” Great to know some of the details. 🙂

  4. Wow! I didn’t realize most of that, although I don’t follow British royalty too much. I learned some new stuff today.

  5. The whole thing is so sad and sordid. As I read Diana’s biography last year, I realized that both she and Charles committed adultery regularly while being married to each other. How very, very sad. I think he married Diana because he wanted a young wife. But she was only a front. He continued to carry on with Camila most of the time.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.