From Another Man's Wife To Queen Consort: It Took Camilla Nearly 35 Years To Wed King Charles III

Sep 19, 2022 by apost team

The romance and eventual marriage of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom is hardly the fodder that fairy tales are made of. Their history together has been well noted in the press and has undergone various stages of public approval. 

However, after many years, the couple is now very settled in their relationship and has the public's support. But the road to their happy-ever-after is a long and rocky one.

Going back in time, it appears that the couple’s mutual fondness began in the 1970s when they formally met, despite the fact they wouldn't marry until 2005. According to Express, the two met at a party hosted by a mutual friend in 1971 and immediately started dating. But things didn't last and their relationship ended somewhere around 1973 when Charles went to serve in the Royal Navy.

Meanwhile, Camilla had met Andrew Parker Bowles and in July 1973 the couple married at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, in London. At the time, Camilla was 25 years old, while her then-husband was 33. It was a highly appreciated society wedding that included many royal guests, including Princess AnnePrincess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

According to The Telegraph, Charles was heartbroken at the news of Camilla's wedding, and he wrote to Lord Mountbatten that same year about his heartbreak:

 "I suppose the feeling of emptiness will pass eventually."

Although Charles and Camilla were no longer romantically involved, the pair still socialized as friends and Charles even became the godfather of Camilla's son, Tom Parker Bowles.

Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles (circa 1970), (Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

Charles eventually went on to meet Diana Spencer in 1977 when she was just 16 years old., however, they didn't begin dating until 1980. They soon became engaged and married on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Despite their union not lasting, their wedding went down in history and is still remembered today — there's a reason it's called the "wedding of the century." The couple's wedding was truly a perfect fairytale moment, although it sadly didn't give them a fairytale ending. 

It was in 1986 — five years into Charles and Diana's marriage — that rumors of an affair between Charles and Camilla first surfaced, as reported by People. Diana later famously told the BBC in an interview: 

“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” 

According to The Telegraph, Diana even confronted Camilla about the affair in 1989. Eventually, Charles and Diana separated in 1992, and in 1993, a leaked phone call between Charles and Camilla from a few years earlier was released publically and appeared to confirm their affair. Charles was asked in a 1994 TV interview if he had been "faithful and honorable" toward Diana, to which he replied: “Yes, yes ... until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

In 1995 Camilla and Andrew divorced, while Charles and Diana's separation ended in divorce one year later in 1996. It did not take long for the newly divorced ex-lovers to reunite in the public eye. According to Insider, Charles immediately started trying to endear Camilla to his family and the public and even hosted her 50th birthday party. But things became much more complicated when Diana died in a car crash in 1997.

Lady Diana Spencer, Camilla Parker Bowles (1980), (Express Newspapers/Archive Photos)

Since there were allegations that Charles had cheated on Diana during their marriage with Camilla, Charles and Camilla's relationship raised eyebrows from the start. According to the BBCPrince Harry and William, Prince of Wales did not meet Camilla until 1998. Meanwhile, Charles and Camilla finally made their first public appearance together in 1999 at Camilla's sister's 50th birthday party. 

However, because of his ex-wife's untimely passing, Charles didn't push to get married to Camilla immediately, taking into consideration his young sons, William and Harry, who were still minors at the time. Charles thought it would be best if he and Camilla waited until his sons were adults for them to wed.

Then, finally, on April 9, 2005, the couple married in a private ceremony, despite having dated in public for six years prior to tying the knot. Ever since the couple's wedding, their relationship has been a stable one, as they've embarked on royal trips together, as well as many official engagements. Public opinion on Camilla also warmed up over the years and nowadays their relationship is seen in a much better light than it was at the turn of the century. 

One notable topic over the years has been Camilla's official royal title. Upon Charles and Camilla's engagement in February 2005, a statement from the palace was released in which questions about Camilla's status and title as queen were addressed. The statement, released on Feb. 10, 2005, announced their marriage and immediately mentioned that Camilla would be using the title "HRH The Duchess of Cornwall." 

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2018), (Paul Ellis-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Harper's Bazaar noted that Camilla actually had the opportunity to pick up the title "Princess of Wales," but since the beloved, late Diana was bestowed that title, Camilla avoided it. The royal statement also clarified that since Charles, at the time, was next in line to the throne after Queen Elizabeth II, "It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne." This went against tradition, as the king's wife would usually go by the title "queen consort" 

It was obviously a topic that never left Charles' mind over the years. Daily Mail reported in June 2021 that Charles had wanted to convince his sons to let Camilla have the title "queen consort", but both Harry and William were vehemently against it. 

In the end, it was Charles' mother, the late Queen Elizabeth that gave him the approval he had been looking for. In February 2022, the Royal Family's Twitter account tweeted an important message from the queen. The message mostly spoke about her gratitude for being the reigning monarch for 70 years and her gratitude for her family. In the message, the queen also wrote:

“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

With King Charles III's ascension to the throne upon his mother's death, it was confirmed that Camilla had officially taken on the title of "Queen Consort," just as Charles and Elizabeth wanted. 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (2018), (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Did you know the full history of Charles and Camilla's relationship? What about Charles' drive to have Camilla be Queen Consort of the United Kingdom? If you found this interesting, then pass this on so others can read about it too.

Please scroll below for more stories :-)