How Long Have Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles Been Married?

They act like they’ve been together forever – and in a sense, they have. Prince Charles first met the love of his life, Camilla Parker-Bowles, in the summer of 1971 through a mutual friend. The sparks between these two were immediate, but their relationship was doomed before it began for a couple of reasons.

Fans of Princess Diana can’t help but ask: If Prince Charles loved Camilla so much and for so long, why didn’t he just marry her and spare everyone the misery? The answer to that question is quite complicated. For starters, Charles did date Camilla for awhile but then left to serve in the British Royal Navy. When he left, he didn’t tell Camilla to wait for him or express the depth of his feelings. So she went ahead and married someone else.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles | Tim Graham/Getty Images

Prince Charles’ family didn’t approve of Camilla

Since the day of his birth, everyone knew Prince Charles would become king one day. That knowledge put a lot of pressure on the future monarch as he started dating and potentially looking for a future spouse. He couldn’t just choose any girl he wanted – he had to marry someone with proper lineage and a good reputation.

For Prince Charles, that meant marrying a virgin – which Camilla was not. In fact, she had a bit of a reputation with Charles father said made her suitable for dating but not marriage.

“In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down,” Lord Mountbatten told his son. “But I think for a wife he should choose a suitable attractive and sweet-character girl … I think it is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage.”

Prince Charles married Princess Diana but probably didn’t love her

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana | Tim Graham/Getty Images

No one except for Prince Charles can say for sure if he ever loved Princess Diana. But even in the interview when they announced their engagement there were red flags – like when the interviewer asked the couple if they were in love and Diana replied “Of course!” while Charles responded with, “Whatever ‘in love’ means.”

And that whole time people believed he was still carrying a torch for his ex, Camilla. The two began an affair in 1986 while he was still married to Diana.

When did Prince Charles and Camilla get married?

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles | Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty Images

Prince Charles and Diana divorced on August 28, 1996 though they’d been separated for a long time before that. Camilla had previously divorced her husband Andrew (who also knew about the affair) in 1995. Shortly after, he began quietly dating Camilla but didn’t bring her to any public events out of respect to Diana. That privacy became even more closely guarded after Princess Diana died tragically in 1997.

However, it became clear that the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles wasn’t going to just go away. She was introduced to Prince William and Prince Harry in 1998 and then in 1999 the couple made their first public appearance together.

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The pair moved in together in 2003 and then wed in a civil ceremony on April 9, 2005 at Windsor Guildhall. Prince William was the best man at their wedding while Camilla’s ex-husband and his new wife were invited guests.

Their relationship now is stronger than ever and it’s clear that they both bring out the best in each other. Even after 14 years of marriage, they still behave like newlyweds and can’t stop smiling.

If only we could all be so lucky in love!