A Timeline Of King Charles & Camilla’s Relationship

Royal relationships are often messy. Just ask Prince Harry: his wife Meghan is constantly the source of tabloid fascination, and the drama those tabloids generated was enough to get Harry and Meghan to step back from most royal responsibilities and leave England altogether.

Unfortunately, both messy relationships and tabloid scrutiny seem to run in the family. Long before Harry was a grown man, his father, then-Prince Charles, shocked the world by having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. This led to Charles’ highly-publicized divorce from Princess Diana. Still, he endured the fires of controversy and disapproval from the Queen herself so he could have his true “happily ever after” with Camilla.

Now, Charles has become the King of England following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and Camilla serves as the Queen Consort. How did these two get here, and what has their relationship been like? To find out, we took a look back at the full timeline of their relationship!

1947: Camilla is born

On July 17, 1947, Camilla Shand is born. She is actually 17 months older than Charles, who was born on November 14, 1948. She begins socializing with royals from a young age, beginning the habits that would eventually land her in the orbit of Prince Charles.

1970: Charles meets Camilla

In 1970, Charles and Camilla meet for the first time during a polo match at Windsor Great Park. The two hit it off right away due to their shared interests and similar senses of humor.

They even began dating, but the relationship couldn’t last because Charles soon had to ship out and serve in the British Royal Navy for eight months.

Upon his return, Camilla was now engaged to another man: Andrew Parker Bowles.

1973: Camilla marries Andrew Parker Bowles

In 1973, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles. Their relationship was very serious, and they had two children together, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles. When the dust settled after their eventual divorce, Camilla and Andrew remained friends, and Charles even became a godfather to Tom!

RELATED: Book Claims Camilla Made A Racist Joke About Archie’s Hair

1980: Charles begins dating Diana

In 1980, Charles began pursuing another romance of his own by dating Lady Diana Spencer. At the time, Charles was 31 and Diana was only 18. The two met because they were introduced by Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah Spencer, whom Charles previously dated for a short time.  

1981: Charles proposes to and marries Diana

On February 6, 1981, Charles proposed marriage to Diana. She said yes, but there were ominous signs about their upcoming marriage from the beginning. For example, when an interviewer asked the couple if they were in love, Diana eagerly answered “of course.” Charles, meanwhile, replied by saying, “Whatever love means.”

Despite the ominous signs, Charles married Diana on July 29, 1981. The wedding was a worldwide sensation. One year later, William was born, followed by Harry in 1984.

RELATED: 26 Candid Moments From Prince Charles & Princess Diana’s Royal Wedding

1986: Charles cheats on Diana with Camilla

In 1986, Charles begins having an affair with Camilla. Charles revealed he was unfaithful to Diana in his authorized biography, The Prince of Wales, published in 1994, claiming that he only began the affair after his marriage collapse (via AP). He also claimed that he had been pushed to marry Diana by his father Prince Philip.

1989: Diana confronts Camilla

In 1989, the Telegraph reports that Diana confronted Camilla about the affair at a party. Diana reportedly told her, “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.”

Camilla responded by saying, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?”

To this, Diana gave the answer anyone would have given in her place: “I want my husband.”

1992: Diana’s biography shocks the world, Charles and Diana separate

In June 1992, Andrew Morton published the book Diana: Her True Story. He had tapes of previous interviews with Diana, and this helped him pack the book with juicy stories of how Diana really felt about Charles and Camilla’s relationship.

There were public questions about whether Charles could serve as king if he divorced Diana and married Camilla thanks to the king being the Church of England’s secular head.

Despite all these concerns, Charles and Diana officially separated in December 1992.

1993: Charles’ naughty phone call goes public

Separating from Diana didn’t insulate Charles from drama. In January 1993, a German tabloid and an Australian magazine released a transcript of a steamy 1989 phone call between Charles and Camilla. This led to some very public embarrassment for the two, especially once the scandal was dubbed “Camillagate.”

1994: Charles makes a mess of things on camera

Charles tried to go into damage control mode by getting a documentary crew to follow him around for a year and a half. The idea was to humanize Charles, but it backfired when the documentary aired in June 1994 on iTV.

Disaster struck when Charles was asked on camera by journalist Jonathan Dimbleby if he was faithful during his relationship with Diana. As The New York Times reports, he responded, “Yes, yes… until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

The public backlash against Charles was strong. He compounded the problem by referring to Camilla, who was widely rumored to be his mistress, as “a great friend of mine.”

1995: Diana does a shocking interview, Camilla divorces Andrew

Charles, Camilla, and Diana all had a big year in 1995. This was the year that Camilla announced she was divorcing Andrew Parker Bowles, paving the road for an official relationship with Charles.

Diana, meanwhile, gave a TV interview to Martin Bashir in November. This was the infamous interview where Bashir asked her point-blank if Camilla played a role in her marriage disintegrating.

Diana’s response? “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

RELATED: 8 Odd Facts You Never Knew About Prince Charles

1996: Charles and Diana divorce

Ten years after Charles began an affair with Camilla, his divorce from Princess Diana is finally official.

1997: Princess Diana dies tragically

In 1997, Charles was preparing to go public with his relationship with Camilla. But two weeks after he threw a 50th birthday party for Camilla at Highgrove, Princess Diana tragically died in a car accident on Aug. 31.

Charles attended the funeral and served as a pallbearer, and he put a temporary pause on formally announcing his new relationship.

RELATED: Inside Dianaland: What Princess Diana’s Shrine Looks Like Today

1998: Charles introduces Camilla to his children

Charles may have slowed down introducing his relationship with Camilla to the public, but he moved faster with his own family.

In 1998, he introduced Camilla to his sons and made an effort to introduce her to Queen Elizabeth as well. But the Queen went so far as to avoid a private celebration of Charles’ own 50th birthday because she knew Camilla would be there, according to the Los Angeles Times.

1999: Charles and Camilla begin a public romance

Speaking of 50th birthday parties, Charles threw one for Camilla’s sister in January 1999 at London’s Ritz hotel. Although Charles and Camilla took care to arrive separately, they left together.

Later, the two took a vacation to Greece with William and Harry. They might not have had the Queen’s blessing, but both now seemed fine with the public knowing they are a couple.

2000: Queen Elizabeth stops avoiding Camilla

Did the Queen ever bless Charles’ relationship with Camilla? Well… sort of.

In 2000, she accepted an invitation to a 60th birthday party for the King of Greece. The Queen knew Camilla would be there, and this was no longer sufficient cause to avoid events.

2003: Charles and Camilla move in together

Charles and Camilla move in to Clarence House together in 2003.

They are still neither engaged nor married, and they take pains to reassure the public that no taxpayer money is going towards decorating Camilla’s rooms.

2005: Charles gets engaged and married to Camilla

In 2005, Charles and Camilla got engaged 35 years after they first met one another. On April 8, they got married in a simple civil ceremony in which Prince William was the best man. While the Queen didn’t attend the ceremony, she did make it to the reception afterward.

To ensure that Diana would remain the only Princess of Wales, Camilla was instead granted the title Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.

2010: Buckingham Palace clarifies Camilla’s future royal title

By 2010, the public was morbidly curious: what would Camilla’s title be after the Queen dies and Charles becomes King?

In an NBC interview with Brian Williams, Charles was asked whether Camilla would become the Queen of England when Charles became King. When Charles answered “That could be,” most of England had a collective fit over the idea.

It wasn’t long before Buckingham Palace clarified that Camilla’s title after Charles became King would be Princess Consort.

RELATED: 6 Times Royals Were Caught Being Rude

2016: Queen Elizabeth appoints Camilla to the Privy Council

In June 2016, Camilla was appointed to the Privy Council by the Queen along with Prince William. Because this council is comprised of the Queen’s most trusted advisors, it seems clear that Elizabeth trusts and respects Camilla despite the mistakes in her past.

2017: Camilla opens up about the affair

Does Camilla regret how her affair with Charles went down? That could be, as Charles might say.

In 2017, Camilla opened up to The Mail on Sunday about her affair with Charles and the media scrutiny she faced.

“I couldn’t really go anywhere…  It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it. I couldn’t have survived it without my family.”

However, when asked if she is good at moving on, she replied, “Most definitely, yes.

2020: Charles and Camilla celebrate their 15th anniversary

Charles and Camilla’s relationship had already survived just about everything, but they faced the real test in 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two of them quarantined at Birkhall, their private residence at the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, but the isolation didn’t keep Charles from contracting COVID for the first time (he would later get infected a second time in 2022).

However, he recovered quickly, and both he and Camilla were in good spirits for their 15th wedding anniversary. They celebrated by releasing an adorable photo of themselves holding their two dogs.

2022: Charles and Camilla become King and Queen Consort

The year 2022 brought many changes for Charles and Camilla. Surprisingly, during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, she announced that Camilla should receive the title “Queen Consort” once Charles becomes the King of England. This contradicts Buckingham Palace’s statement years earlier that Camilla would be known as “Princess Consort.” Charles and Camilla express extreme gratitude at this final gesture of Elizabeth’s acceptance.

Sadly, Camilla received this new title sooner than anyone expected. Queen Elizabeth passed away on September 8, which means that Charles became King Charles III and Camilla became his Queen Consort. Only time will tell how new responsibilities will affect their relationship, but after weathering countless scandals and moments of tabloid scrutiny, we’re pretty sure this power couple will be just fine!