The Surprising Reason Why Prince Charles Finally Married Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles have had one of the most scrutinized relationships in the history of the royal family. Their adulterous affair, which culminated in a scandal that rocked the nation, cemented itself into the public’s consciousness and for years afterward: people still think of Parker Bowles as a homewrecker. Although the two are happily married now, there was a time when their future together was quite uncertain. Read on to learn what finally prompted Prince Charles to marry his longtime partner.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles met in the seventies

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The story of Prince Charles and Parker Bowles began over four decades ago, in the early 1970s. The two met at a charity polo match and bonded over their mutual love of sports and horses. They started dating, but unfortunately, it didn’t last long: Prince Charles was duty-bound to serve in the Royal Navy and had to leave to serve his term. Parker Bowles was left alone, and in Prince Charles’ absence, she met and married her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles.

Prince Charles was devastated, but recovered in time, and went on to marry Diana Spencer. Even though both Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were now married to other people, they rekindled their romance and began an affair. Princess Diana was reportedly aware of their affair very early on, and the knowledge of her husband’s unfaithfulness was a big contributing factor to their eventual divorce. 

Prince Charles was hesitant to make a move

Ultimately, Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced. Parker Bowles also divorced her husband around the same time as the royal couple went through their very public breakup. Even though they were now free to start officially dating, Parker Bowles and Prince Charles kept their romance as under the radar as possible. Prince Charles was taking a beating in the press, with news of his infidelity made public, and Parker Bowles had become one of the most disliked women in the world.

The two would go on to date privately for years before Prince Charles received the push he needed to take the next step in his relationship with Parker Bowles.

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles finally tied the knot

A recent article in Vanity Fair helps to shed some light on the situation between Prince Charles and Parker Bowles. In the early 2000s, Prince Charles hired a new secretary named Michael Peat. Reportedly, Peat had been tasked by Queen Elizabeth to make Prince Charles “give up” Parker Bowles. Peat realized quite quickly that this would never happen, so he set to work on crafting an alternative plan.

According to the article, Peat had a heart-to-heart with Prince Charles and put forth an ultimatum: Prince Charles would have to marry Parker Bowles or “she would have to go.” Knowing that Prince Charles would never be able to sever ties with his longtime love, it was the perfect strategy.

Peat wasn’t the only one who advocated for their marriage. The article goes on to detail how Parker Bowles’ father, Bruce Shand, spoke to Prince Charles privately and told him that in his advanced age, he needed to know that his daughter would be all right.

The combined forces of Parker Bowles’ father and his determined new secretary made the right impression on Prince Charles, and he and Parker Bowles got married on April 8, 2005. Ever since, Parker Bowles has been at his side publicly as well as in private, helping him to shoulder the burden of royal life. As Prince Charles prepares to take the throne in the coming years, he will no doubt need his wife’s support more than ever before.