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.
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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