The relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has always been one of national interest and speculation.
The rumours, affairs and scandalous leaked phone conversations all came to a conclusion when our future King finally married Camilla in Windsor in 2005, but why did it take so long?
The Prince of Wales’ marriage with Princess Diana was littered with rumours of an affair with Camilla.
Those rumours were emphasised again to the British public as we all watched The Crown, wondering why the pair never got together from the start.
So why did Prince Charles and Camilla not marry in the first place? Here we take a look at their love story.
How did Prince Charles and Camilla first meet?
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“My grandmother was the mistress of your grandfather,” were the apparent first words said by Camilla to Prince Charles on their first encounter.
The pair mixed in similar social circles when they were younger and are thought to have first met in 1970 at a polo match in Windsor, where they later married.
It is believed Prince Charles and Camilla started dating soon after, but when Prince Charles was sent off to the Navy, their relationship ended.
Mr Parker Bowles
Andrew Parker Bowles, a retired British Army officer, had previously dated Prince Charles’ sister, Princess Anne.
In 1973, Mr Parker Bowles married Camilla, having been in a long standing on and off again relationship since the late 1960s.
The couple went on to have two children, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles.
Despite the marriage, Prince Charles and Camilla appeared to remain as close as ever. Charles was even named Tom’s godfather.
Eight years after Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, Prince Charles proposed to Diana Spencer.
In an interview two weeks after their engagement, when asked if they were in-love, Princess Diana replied “of course”, while Prince Charles responded with “whatever love means”.
Prince Charles and Diana married in July 1981.
Why did they marry other people?
There are a few theories as to why Prince Charles and Camilla decided to wed Diana and Andrew Parker Bowles instead of each other.
The main one being that the Royal Family reportedly didn't see Camilla as a fit Princess.
According to Royal expert, Sally Bedell Smith, Camilla was seen as too much of an "experienced woman" to be a Princess. The Royals were thought to have preferred an innocent girl to marry Prince Charles, enter Diana.
Another rumoured reason was the supposed proposal plant made by Camilla's father.
It is thought he leaked a false claim of engagement to The Times newspaper, who reported the national news. However, the fake announcement lead to a very real proposal.
Bedell Smith believes that without the fake announcement made by Camilla's father, the marriage may never have occurred and Prince Charles may have been the groom instead.
Despite circumstances forcing them apart, Camilla and Charles' relationship was still very much alive.
It is thought that an affair between Charles and Camilla began in 1986, while both parties were still married to other people.
According to the telegraph, an audiotape Diana made for her biographer revealed that the Princess had confronted Camilla about the affair at a party in 1989. Stating that Diana knew what was taking place behind her back.
In 1995, during an interview with BBC One’s Panorama, Diana spoke about Camilla’s relationship with Charles, saying, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
They divorced a year later, one year after Camilla's divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles.
When did Prince Charles and Camilla restart their relationship?
A year after Princess Diana’s death, in 1998, Prince Charles and Camilla got together. Both had been divorced from their previous partners for a few years.
Maybe if Charles had never gone to the navy, the Royal family had been more open and there had been no claim from Camilla's father, they may have been together from the start.
After long and scandalous relationship, the couple finally got together.
Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall have now been married for 17 years.
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