Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles: Do Their Family Ties Make Their Marriage Incestuous?

Most people would cringe at the thought of dating a member of their own family. We separate our relationships and when we find someone that we are interested in having romantic ties with, we make sure that they are in no way relatives of ours. As it would turn out, the royal family is somewhat different.

There was a time for royals when marrying a relative wasn’t unheard of. Although the family has become much more modernized in certain respects, there are some married couples that come from the same bloodline, and Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles definitely do. So, do their family ties make their relationship incestuous?

Are any other married couples in the royal family related?

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

There are definitely family relations among married couples in the royal family. Most people are well aware of the fact that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are second cousins once removed. What royal fans may not realize, though, is that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were actually seventh cousins once removed.

It is somewhat surprising to learn that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also come from the same clan: They are distant relatives, as the Queen Mother and Markle’s father have a common ancestor named Ralph Bowes. Another royal couple who share ancestors? Prince William and Kate Middleton, who are 11th cousins once removed.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ relationship

In an interview, Princess Diana famously said that one of the main reasons that her marriage failed was because there were “three people.” When Prince Charles and Bowles met at a polo match in 1970, their long-time affair began. They began dating, and then both eventually married other people.

As we know, they didn’t sever ties with each other, and Princess Diana was well aware of what was going on between her husband and Bowles. It wasn’t until 1992 that private tapes containing recordings from an intimate phone conversation between Prince Charles and Bowles were released, and two years later, Prince Charles confessed in an interview that Bowles was, in fact, his mistress.

When did Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles get married?

In 2005, years after Princess Diana’s death, Bowles and Prince Charles officially became husband and wife in a civil ceremony that wasn’t attended by the queen. Prince William served as best man for his father, as he married the woman that he had loved for so many years.

Are Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles related?

As it turns out, they are! Supposedly, the first words that Bowles said to Prince Charles upon meeting him were: “My great-grandmother and your great-great-grandfather were lovers so — how about it?” Being distantly related to each other didn’t stop the couple from carrying on a relationship long before Prince Charles ever met his first wife, Lady Diana Spencer, and it certainly didn’t hold them back from an affair while Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married.

So, is their relationship incestuous? No, not really. Although technically, the two are related, it goes back so far that it shouldn’t stop them from being together. The part that matters most is that Bowles makes Prince Charles extremely happy, and she is a great stepmother to his sons: Prince William and Princess Harry. Incest really isn’t an issue in their marriage.