Why Didn’t Prince Charles and Camilla Get Together Sooner?

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles have had a decades-long love story. While the public and the press don’t always side with them (or even like them much), the facts behind their romance are incredibly interesting.

Their history is a sometimes-tragic story of how miscommunication and duty can often lead to sadness and despair before revealing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Join us as we uncover the facts behind the royal couple’s love story and uncover why it took them so long to make their love official.

When did Prince Charles meet Camilla Parker Bowles?

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall | Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty Images

Prince Charles was born in 1948, the oldest son of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip. He knew from an early age that he was destined to become a king and he was raised to understand the immense pressure of responsibility.

In spite of his busy schedule, Prince Charles was reputed to be a bit of a playboy when he reached maturity, and he dated quite often.

In 1971, he met Camilla Parker Bowles when he was introduced to her by a former girlfriend. The pair were drawn to each other immediately and began a romance, which ended when Prince Charles joined the Royal Navy.

Camilla Parker Bowles didn’t let the grass grow under her feet and went back to her old boyfriend, Andrew Parker Bowles. They got married in 1973, which is said to have devastated Prince Charles.

The spurned royal decided that there was no hope for him and his former flame, and started dating the much-younger Diana Spencer. Some reports suggest that Prince Charles wasn’t ready to marry Diana Spencer from the beginning, but since he believed that he and Parker Bowles had no chance at happiness together, he felt pressured into the marriage. 

They were involved when he was married to Princess Diana

Even if Camilla Parker Bowles hadn’t married while Prince Charles was serving in the Royal Navy, it is unlikely that the two would have been able to get married at the time. Parker Bowles wasn’t considered to be a suitable wife for a prince, considering she wasn’t from a terribly aristocratic family. Her eventual divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles was another strike against her, as royal tradition dictated that a previously-married woman was no match for a prince.

Still, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles cared deeply for each other, sharing many of the same hobbies and interests, including horseback riding and outdoor sports. 

Prince Charles and Diana Spencer married in 1981, but their marriage didn’t quell Prince Charles’ feelings for Camilla Parker Bowles. She attended the couple’s wedding, which reportedly upset Princess Diana. In fact, it is believed that Princess Diana knew very early in her marriage that her husband was still involved with Camilla Parker Bowles, and that ultimately led to their divorce in 1996.

The public still doesn’t like Parker Bowles

Following his divorce from Princess Diana, Prince Charles kept his relationship with Parker Bowles under the radar. The public disliked Parker Bowles, believing that her interference had, in part, caused Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997. In fact, it took years for the couple to get to the point where they felt comfortable enough to make official appearances together.

However, in 2005, they tied the knot, following decades of involvement. Reportedly, the royal family is very fond of Camilla Parker Bowles, in spite of everything that has happened, and she shares an especially close bond with Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle.

After 14 years of marriage, this couple has proven that their love can endure anything, even public shame and humiliation.