King Charles and Queen Camilla’s amazing love story began with irresistible charm and a great deal of patience as they rose from England’s most disliked pair to ruling royals.
In 2015, just weeks before their tenth anniversary, the charming prince expressed his admiration for his bride. He spoke fondly of her as an unwavering support and someone who lightens his mood with gentle teasing. He emphasized the importance of having a partner who understands and encourages him, even when she playfully pokes fun at his seriousness.
However, Queen Camilla’s most admirable quality is her enduring resilience. As the frequently vilified “other woman” in King Charles’s marriage to the beloved Princess Diana, the former Duchess of Cornwall faced years of public scorn and even disapproval from her mother-in-law. Despite these challenges, she emerged with her romance and dignity intact, culminating in her official coronation alongside her husband on May 6.
The transformation from those early days is truly remarkable. In his book “Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles” (2018), author Tom Bower revealed that Queen Elizabeth II once labeled Camilla as “that wicked woman” and initially opposed their relationship. It wasn’t until February 2022, after many years, that the late monarch expressed her “sincere wish” for Camilla to eventually be recognized as queen consort.
In an interview with CNN International in 2015, Charles acknowledged the immense challenge they faced but praised Camilla for her brilliant handling of the situation. On May 6, their resilience paid off as she was officially crowned queen consort, receiving the Queen Consort’s ring and wearing a revamped Queen Mary’s Crown—a symbol of their triumph. Throughout their 18-year marriage, she stood by his side, and her son Tom Parker Bowles affirmed that her motivation was simply love.
According to their friends, the future duchess captivated Charles from their very first encounter. Introduced by mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz at a polo match in 1970, the 23-year-old Camilla Shand approached the prince with a bold opening line, referencing the affair between Alice Keppel and King Edward VII. It’s uncertain who delivered the audacious line, as some sources credit Santa Cruz, but the result was the same: a successful connection. Charles admired Camilla’s ability to smile with her eyes and laugh at the same things he found silly. He appreciated her natural, friendly demeanor that wasn’t overawed or sycophantic. Their meeting sparked a connection that led him to call her frequently afterward.
Their initial romance was short-lived due to Charles joining the Royal Navy and societal expectations that the Princess of Wales should possess certain qualities. Camilla lacked royal lineage, and her previous relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles drew criticism. Despite these challenges, they remained close as Camilla started a family with Andrew, welcoming their son Tom (with Charles as his godfather) and later their daughter Laura. Reports suggest that their romance resumed in the late 1970s, and it was allegedly supported by Camilla’s husband, who understood the duty of the English aristocracy to serve the royal family.
However, their relationship faced significant obstacles when Charles courted and hastily married Lady Diana Spencer. Diana, suspicious of Camilla’s closeness to her husband, requested that Camilla not attend their high-profile wedding in 1981. By 1989, Diana realized she needed to confront the “Camilla problem.” During her sister Annabel’s 40th birthday celebration, she approached Camilla, Charles, and a male friend to express her knowledge of their affair. The confrontation was a pivotal moment in Diana’s marriage and marked the beginning of a turbulent period.
In November 1992, the situation escalated further with the infamous “Camillagate” incident. Private tapes of an intimate phone conversation between Charles and Camilla were leaked to the media, revealing their deep affection for each other. This revelation ultimately led to the end of Charles and Diana’s marriage, with their separation officially announced by Prime Minister John Major.
Although it took several more years for Camilla to officially end her marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, the release of the tapes brought the truth to light and ended any pretense. In a 1994 interview, Charles admitted to his adultery, explaining that the marriage had irreparably broken down.
The path to acceptance and public approval for Charles and Camilla was arduous. Initially, their relationship faced overwhelming criticism, with loyal supporters of Princess Diana often displaying animosity towards Camilla. She endured public scorn, including incidents where she was subjected to bread rolls being thrown at her in supermarkets. It was a deeply unpleasant and challenging time for Camilla, one that she wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Yet, throughout it all, Camilla never retaliated. She displayed remarkable strength by focusing on charitable endeavors and slowly integrating herself into the public eye alongside Charles. In the years following Diana’s death, Camilla met William and Harry and gradually became more visible as Charles’s partner. They officially appeared together in public in 2000, and by 2005, they were married.
Over time, public attitudes toward Camilla shifted, and she gained greater acceptance. Her dedication to charitable causes and her unwavering support for Charles and the Queen demonstrated her value not only to the country but also to the institution of monarchy itself.
Camilla’s warm and genuine personality also played a significant role in changing public perception. Even the press corps, known for their scrutiny of the royal family, have a deep affection for her. She is described as approachable, always showing up with a smile and never being grumpy.
Their love and affection for each other are evident to all who observe them. Charles affectionately refers to Camilla as “my darling wife,” and they share a deep connection and a shared sense of humor. Their playful and relaxed dynamic has brought joy to their lives and is evident to those around them.
Camilla says that she is still adjusting to her new role, more than a decade after their long-awaited wedding. She recognizes the value of fun and not taking herself too seriously. Camilla has accepted her title of Duchess of Cornwall, and while the public was previously told she would be known as a princess consort, it is evident that opinions have shifted.
The extraordinary love story of King Charles and Queen Camilla is not a fairy tale, but rather a true narrative. It’s a story of perseverance, love, and overcoming adversity. They have overcome various challenges and public criticism, but their undying support for one another has triumphed. Their love story continues to inspire as they manage their duties as future king and queen consort.