What Camilla Parker Bowles Did To Prince Charles That Left Him Brokenhearted

Camilla Parker Bowles has worked hard for years to try and win over the British public and move away from being known as the woman who came between Prince Charles and his first wife, Princess Diana.

Despite all the scandals that surrounded Camilla and Charles in the ’80s and ’90s, the future king and the Duchess of Cornwall are still together and seem to be very much in love today. But early on in their relationship Camilla did something that absolutely “devastated” Charles and may have changed the course of history.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | Paul Ellis – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Here’s how she broke the prince’s heart years before they said, “I do.”

How Camilla and Charles met

The Prince of Wales met his second wife several years before he even knew Diana.

Charles and then Camilla Shand were actually in some of the same socials circles but were formally introduced in the early ’70s. They reportedly hit it off right away and began dating but stopped seeing one another when Charles went to the Royal Navy.

While the prince was away, Camilla did something that left him heartbroken.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at a polo match
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at a polo match | © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

What she told the prince that ‘devastated’ him

With Charles gone, Camilla reconnected with her old flame, Andrew Parker Bowles, and they got engaged.

In her book The Duchess: The Untold Story, author Penny Junor explained that Camilla decided to break the news to Charles herself and wrote him a letter telling him that she was going to get married. According to Junor, the heir apparent, who was stationed in the Caribbean at the time, was devastated after receiving the letter.

“She wrote to Charles herself to tell him. It broke his heart,” Junor claimed. “He fired off anguished letters to his nearest and dearest. It seemed to him particularly cruel … after such a blissful, peaceful, and mutually happy relationship. He did have one last-ditch attempt to get Camilla to change her mind, however. He wrote to her the week before the wedding asking her not to marry Andrew. Nevertheless, the wedding went ahead.”

The royal biographer added that “The Prince of Wales had been invited to the wedding but didn’t come. He was still in the Caribbean and that day had a commitment in Nassau, representing the queen … it has long been assumed that he stayed away because he couldn’t bear to watch the person he loved walk down the aisle with someone else.”

When Camilla and Charles were married

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles | Hugo Burnand/Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

Camilla’s decision to get married to another man meant that Charles had to start seeing other women and soon was on a quest to find his own bride. That’s where Diana came in, but since Charles was never really able to get over Camilla, their marriage didn’t turn out great.

The prince and Camilla did, however, get their happily ever after following the extramarital affair that spelled the end of their first marriages.

Some years after going public with their relationship, Charles was granted permission to marry Camilla. The pair tied the knot on April 9, 2005.

Read more: Royal Fans Think This Is Why Prince Charles Fell In Love With Camilla Instead of Princess Diana