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Rocky romance. Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla weathered a very public scandal before becoming an official royal couple.
Charles was under intense scrutiny as his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s heir apparent when he met Camilla (née Shand) in 1970. The pair dated before the prince served in the Royal Navy. When he returned home, she was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles.
Camilla went on to marry Parker Bowles in 1973, and they welcomed two children: son Tom in 1974 and daughter Laura in 1978.
As Camilla moved on, Charles followed suit, tying the knot with Princess Diana in 1981. Their sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, arrived in 1982 and 1984, respectively.
Charles and Camilla eventually began seeing each other while still married to Diana and Parker Bowles, respectively. After their divorces, they took their relationship public, although it would be years before the romance earned the approval of the royal family.
“It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it,” Camilla told the Daily Mail in May 2017. “I couldn’t have survived it without my family.”
The pair tied the knot in 2005, and she assumed her role as a working member of the royal family.
Charles and Camilla rarely gush over each other publicly, but they are not without their moments of affection. “You can imagine it is a real, real challenge,” he told CNN in 2015 of her work as a royal. “But she’s, I think, been brilliant in the way she’s tackled these things.”
Despite the pressures that come with their places within the institution, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall know how to keep things light. “It’s always marvelous to have somebody who, you know, you feel understands and wants to encourage,” he explained. “Although she certainly pokes fun if I get too serious about things. And all that helps.”
Of course, since Charles is first in line to the British throne, there is always a certain amount of weight on him and Camilla. While they have had more than a decade to think about what will happen when Charles ascends, her son, Tom, claimed in April 2021 that the royals have yet to settle on a title for Camilla.
“I honestly don’t know if Mum will be called queen,” he told The Times. “That hasn’t been decided. There are a lot of interesting Sky documentaries about that I’m sure, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true.”
Scroll through the gallery below to revisit Charles and Camilla’s relationship through the years.