The Royal Family Never Broke up Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
A lot has been said about Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s relationship. Though the pair are liked well enough these days as the future Crowned King and Queen Consort, there was a time when they were absolutely despised in the press and the public.
Most people know that Prince Charles dated the Duchess of Cornwall back in the 1970s when she was just Camilla Shand. However, their whirlwind romance came to a halt in 1973 when the prince was stationed overseas in the Royal Navy and the duchess married her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Andrew Paker Bowles.
The prince went on to marry Princess Diana in 1981, however, by the mid-1980s, he was having an affair with the Duchess of Cornwall. So why did their relationship end back in the 1970s?
Inside Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles dating years
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles initially met in 1970. Though the duchess was dating other people, the prince was immediately smitten. “The duchess was not in any way overawed by him, not fawning or sycophantic,” royal biographer Penny Juror wrote in The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown.
Unfortunately, their romance was shortlived. While Prince Charles was stationed overseas in the Royal Navy in 1973, the duchess married her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Andrew Parker Bowles.
Though the prince was reportedly heartbroken, he remained in the duchess’ life, even becoming the godfather to her son, Tom Parker Bowles.
Prince Charles tried to keep his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles secret
In 1981, Prince Charles married Princess Diana, the duchess was even present at the wedding. Sadly, the marriage was not a good match and by 1986, the prince had struck up an affair with the Duchess of Cornwall which he was desperate to keep secret.
“Charles’ bodyguard was forced to accompany the prince on illicit nighttime visits to see Camilla, while his chef and butler were instructed to cook dinner even though they knew Charles would be out with his lover,” Diana: Her True Story royal biographer Andrew Morton wrote. “Charles’ valet was instructed to mark up the TV listings guide to make it look like the prince had spent the night at home watching television. When Charles broke his arm in a polo accident, his staff was responsible for listening to police radios to track Diana’s journey to the hospital, so they could get Camilla out of Charles’ room before the princess arrived.”
By the early 90s, the entire world knew about the affair when a phone call leaked to the press. On the call, Prince Charles was heard telling the duchess he wanted to live in “live inside [her] trousers as a pair of knickers” or, “a Tampax.”
The British royal family never tried to break up Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
On Netflix’s The Crown, a fictionalized version of Queen Elizabeth II’s time on the throne, it appears that the royal family conspired to break the prince and the duchess apart. Royal biographer Penny Junor told The Daily Telegraph that this was a clear use of “dramatic license”.
It’s true that Buckingham Palace did not approve of the relationship. The duchess was not from an aristocratic background and she also had a “reputation.” Mostly this means that Camilla wasn’t a virgin, and that offended the sensibilities of the palace. However, the royal family had no hand in ending the relationship.
Instead, the duchess’ father, Bruce Shand, a successful wine merchant was fed up with her up and down relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles. According to Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Shand published an engagement note in The Times which ultimately pressured Parker Bowles into proposing to Camilla.