As Prince Charles and Camilla celebrate 15 years of marriage, we look back at their 30-year-long relationship
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker via Clarence House on Instagram
April 9, 2020, marks Prince Charles and Camilla’s 15-year wedding anniversary. Here is a timeline of their controversial relationship
With Prince Charles now fully recovered from his bout of Covid-19, and the Duchess of Cornwall out of precautionary self-isolation, the couple is free to celebrate their 15-year wedding anniversary.
Sharing a photo via their official Clarence House Instagram page, Prince Charles and Camilla can be seen holding their two Jack Russell Terriers, Bluebell and Beth, whom they adopted from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Perched on a corner seat in Birkhall, their home on the Queen’s Balmoral Estate, the 71 and 72-year-old appear happy, healthy and very much in love.
A rocky start
Life for Prince Charles and Camilla wasn’t always so pleasant, however. The pair, who met at a polo game in the early 1970s, have had to endure years of negative press attention – much of which involved the late Princess Diana.
Charles met and fell in love with Camilla Shand long before Diana had entered the picture. He and Camilla shared an immediate spark, and they dated for a short time until he had to leave for the Royal Navy in 1971.
Two years later, in 1973, Camilla moved on and married Andrew Parker Bowles. Then, four years later in 1977, Charles was formally introduced to a then-16-year-old Lady Diana Spencer.
Between 1981 and 1984, Prince Charles and Princess Diana became engaged, were married, and welcomed two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Interestingly, Camilla was present at their wedding in St Paul’s Cathedral, much to the annoyance of Lady Di. Those who are superstitious may say this was a bad omen, or a sign of things to come.
It’s believed Prince Charles and Camilla rekindled their love affair in 1986, despite both being married to other people. Their romance escalated, and in 1992, private phone calls between them were leaked to the tabloids. That same year, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated.
In a now-famous interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC in 1995, Princess Diana boldly admitted, “There were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” Their divorce was finalised in 1996 at the request of Queen Elizabeth II.
During this time, Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles also called an end to their marriage, with their divorce being announced in 1995.
It wasn’t until 1998, a year after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris, that Charles formally introduced Camilla as his partner to his sons.
They kept their relationship largely under wraps at this time, as the public still viewed Camilla as an enemy. People accused her of being a homewrecker, and they blamed her for the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage. For a number of years, the couple would arrive and leave from events separately to avoid press attention. It wasn’t until 2001 that they shared their first public kiss.
The Queen was also slow to warm to Camilla. It was reported that the monarch purposely didn’t attend Charles’ 50th birthday because she knew Camilla would be there. Not only had Camilla brought negative press attention on the royal family, but she was also an outsider divorcee – something the monarchy frowned upon.
Prince Charles and Camilla refused to let anyone else’s hostility (even the Queen’s) affect their relationship, and so in 2005, the pair announced their engagement and were married two months later in a civil ceremony.
Happy ever after
The couple exchanged vows at the Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005, with Prince William and Tom Parker Bowles (Camilla’s son from her first marriage) acting as witnesses.
While the Queen and her husband Prince Philip did not attend the civil ceremony, they did attend a private blessing in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle later that day.
For their honeymoon, the newlyweds retreated to their country home at Birkhall in Scotland.
Photo via Clarence House
Over the years, the public’s perception of Camilla has dramatically improved. Not only is she widely described as a warm-hearted and witty person, but she is also someone who works hard towards improving the society we live in. Some of Camilla’s most notable work includes supporting victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence, as well as raising awareness for osteoporosis and animal welfare.
Even the Queen’s perception of Camilla has improved with time, with the monarch appointing her ‘Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order’ in 2012 – the highest honour she can bestow. What’s more, the Queen has gone from not attending events where Camilla is present to having her ride along in her personal carriage at the diamond jubilee.
Now, whenever the couple appears in public together, they are always well-received. More importantly, they both appear happy, healthy and still very much in love.
Feature photo: Clarence House, Instagram
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