How Princess Diana’s Death Changed the Plan Prince Charles and Camilla Had for Their Relationship

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, now Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had a plan for their relationship that changed when Princess Diana suddenly died at the age of 36 after being involved in a fatal car accident on Aug. 31, 1997, in Paris, France. Continue reading to learn what would’ve been Prince Charles and Camilla’s next step in their relationship had Princess Diana lived plus what they did instead.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have been married for 14 years but in 1997 they were still keeping their relationship removed from the public eye. But all that was going to change. 

Prince Charles and Camilla’s plan for their relationship

The two who had dated in their youth but married other people had been having an affair on and off for decades. Over the years, they built separate lives. Both went on to have children and eventually became divorced from their spouses.

Princess Diana famously said in an interview her marriage to Prince Charles involved three people — the third being Camilla — and that it had been “a bit crowded.”

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. | Getty Images

Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced in 1996 but had been separated since 1992. By the time of Princess Diana’s death in 1997, she had been romantically linked to other men and Prince Charles had been seeing Camilla. 

That’s when Prince Charles and Camilla decided to get more public with their otherwise low-key relationship. The couple planned to attend an event as a couple as their way of telling the world, “we’re together.” 

In her 2005 book, The Firm, author Penny Junor wrote the couple planned to go public with their relationship status at a charity event hosted by Camilla’s sister, according to Express

“Before Diana’s death they had been on the verge of coming out,” Junor wrote. 

She continued, writing Camilla had already been becoming part of the royal family while Princess Diana had been public with her romances. 

“[Camilla’s] birthday party at Highgrove had gone well; Diana, meanwhile, had been attracting increasingly hostile publicity for her flirtatious behavior in the South of France with Dodi al Fayed,” Junor wrote. 

Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Composite image: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in car; Princess Diana and Prince Charles in car. | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

She noted Alan Kilkenny, Prince Charles’s public relations advisor at the time, had been slowly introducing Camilla to the royal family. 

When Princess Diana died on that fateful day, Prince Charles and Camilla had been two weeks shy of their public appearance together.

“They were two weeks away from a spectacular party to raise money for the national Osteoporosis Society at Camilla’s sister Annabel’s antiques business in Dorset,” Junor wrote, saying that Prince Charles planned to make a surprise appearance at the event. 

“It would have been a giant step along the path to making Camilla a legitimate part of the prince’s life – the phrase he used time and again – which was his ultimate goal,” Junor added. 

Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship became private once again

After Princess Diana’s death, Prince Charles and Camilla made their relationship a very private one. According to Express, the couple wasn’t pictured together in public until 1999, two years after Princess Diana’s death. By 2005, the couple had long since gone public with their relationship. They had reportedly been living together since 2003.

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles on their wedding day. | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

And on April 9, 2005, Camilla and Prince Charles married — having gotten Queen Elizabeth II’s permission as her oldest son is second in the line of succession — and Camilla Parker Bowles became Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

They didn’t have much fanfare but looked happy in photographs from their civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall.