How Camilla met Prince Charles and who she was married to when Princess Diana was alive

After 17 years of marriage and 50 years since first meeting Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a future queen and senior royal with the backing from the very top – but their romance hasn’t been straightforward

The Queen has publicly endorsed Camilla as the next Queen
The Queen has publicly endorsed Camilla as the next Queen

In 1999, famous images emerged of Prince Charles with his future wife Camilla Parker Bowles as the pair left London’s Ritz Hotel together.

Now 74, Camilla has risen up the ranks of the Royal family after 17 years of marriage to the first in line to the thrown.

After years of diligent service, she has received the highest praise and endorsement possible after the current Queen, Elizabeth II, announced she would like Camilla to take up the title of Queen consort when her son Charles ascends to the monarchy’s top job.

An avid reader and well-documented addict of The Archers, Camilla has been outspoken on crucial issues surrounding women’s rights, publicly engaging in the conversations surrounding the deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa and calling for unity in bringing an end to sexual violence.

She has also championed literary charities and organizations working in support of animal welfare.

How did Prince Charles and Camilla meet?

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles Leaving the Ritz Hotel in London in January 1999


Tim Graham/Getty Images)

The pair looked very comfortable together at the 50th birthday party for Camilla’s sister Annabel



The pair first met in 1970 at a polo match in Windsor Great Park. Camilla Shand was the daughter of an officer in the Army, Major Bruce Shand, and his wife Rosalind.

The pair uncovered a common interest in the outdoors and polo itself, with avid horse lover Camilla having previously admitted she spent her childhood preoccupied with “charging about on them.”

At the time it is understood Camilla had joked about her own great-grandmother having had a relationship with King Edward VII, telling Charles: “My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common .”

But having met over 50 years ago Charles’ relationship with Camilla, who turns 75 this year, has not always been straightforward.

Who was Camilla married to when Princess Diana was alive?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Alice Springs in 1983



After meeting, the pair dated for some time, the Mirror reports, before Charles left for the Royal Navy.

Upon his return eight months later, Camilla was engaged to his sister Anne’s ex, Andrew Parker Bowles. Camilla and Parker Bowles got married in 1973 and remained so until 1995.

Despite the seemingly awkward nature of the situation, however, it is believed Charles and Camilla remained friends, with the Parker Bowles’ son Tom being made the godfather of the prince.

In 1980, when Charles was 31 he met Diana Spencer, who would go on to become the beloved Princess Diana.

The People’s Princess was just 18 at the time, but the two were engaged the following year in 1981. Their marriage was watched by some 750 million people around the world, with Camilla in attendance.

The pair first met more than 50 years ago



Their eldest son Prince William was born the following year in 1982 and his younger brother, Prince Harry, two years after that in 1984.

The marriage hit the rocks early on, however, with a biography endorsed by Charles claiming that by 1986 he and Camilla were already having an affair.

In 1992, then-Prime Minister John Major announced Charles and Diana had split up.

Two years later, in 1994, Charles admitted he had been unfaithful to Diana. Asked whether he had remained true to her during a documentary by her about his life by her he said: “Yes, yes… Until it became irretrievably broken down, we both had tried.”

In January 1995, Camilla and Andrew announced they too were splitting up and in November Diana gave her infamous BBC Panorama with Martin Bashir where she said: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

How did Camilla and Charles get engaged?

The royal couple seen for the first time since their engagement announcement in 2005



Charles and Camilla announced their engagement in February of 2005, triggering widespread speculation about which title she should undertake.

Buckingham Palace announced it would be giving her the title of Duchess of Cornwall, so as to avoid any controversy surrounding the late Princess Diana’s title.

The couple got married in April that year, 35 years after meeting, and by 2012 Camilla was showing signs of being fully accepted by the family when the Queen gave her the title of Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian, before riding alongside her during her Diamond Jubilee.

Earlier this week, after 17 years of marriage, Charles shared that he calls his wife ‘Mehbooba’, which means ‘my beloved’ in Urdu, the Daily Mail reports.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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