A timeline of King Charles and Camilla’s 50-year relationship (2023)

Stay ahead of the trend in fashion and beyond with our free weekly Lifestyle Edit newsletter

Stay ahead of the trend in fashion and beyond with our free weekly Lifestyle Edit newsletter

King Charles III is Britain’s new monarch, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022.

Charles’ wife, Camilla, was subsequently named Queen Consort as the couple began a new chapter in a relationship that has spanned more than 50 years.

Having first met in 1970, Charles and Camilla were married 18 years ago at Windsor Guildhall in a low-key ceremony.

For most royal fans, the couple’s journey will always be intrinsically linked to the story of Charles and his ex-wife Lady Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales.

Over the years, the public, and other members of the royal family, became more accepting of the match. Yet for decades the couple were pursued by gossip and scandal following Charles’s fraught marriage to Diana.


  • UK weather: Met Office predicts thunder and sunshine for coronation weekend
  • King Charles’ biographer details how the monarch is different from Queen Elizabeth
  • What will Queen Consort Camilla wear to the coronation?

Here, we detail Charles and Camilla’s complicated love story.

1970 - Charles and Camilla meet for the first time

A 22-year-old Charles met Camilla Shand, 24, the daughter of a British Army officer, at a polo match at Windsor Great Park. In 1992, People magazine reported that, when the pair met for the first time, Camilla said to Charles: “My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common.”

The couple subsequently began dating.

February 1973 - Charles goes away to the Caribbean and Camilla gets engaged to someone else

After meeting Camilla, Charles joined the Royal Navy. He was assigned to frigate HMS Minerva in November 1972 and, in February 1973, the ship was posted to the Caribbean, not to return until November that year.

While Charles was away, Camilla announced her engagement to Andrew Parker Bowles, then a lieutenant, whom she met in the late 1960s.

The Prince of Wales was reportedly heartbroken by the news, which Camilla shared with him herself in a letter. In his book about Camilla, The Duchess: The Untold Story, royal author Penny Junor wrote: “She wrote to Charles herself to tell him. It broke his heart.”

July 1973 - Camilla gets married

Camilla married Parker-Bowles at the Guards Chapel in London on 4 July, followed by a reception at St James’s Palace.

The ceremony was attended by The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne, who Andrew Parker Bowles was rumoured to also previously have had a relationship with.

July 1980 - Charles starts dating Lady Diana Spencer

Charles and Diana initially met in 1977 when Diana was just 16 and Charles was 29 (and dating her older sister). Diana and the Prince of Wales grew close a few years later when Diana went to stay with a mutual friend, Philip de Pass, at his family home in Sussex for a weekend.

While there, Diana spoke to Charles about the assassination of his great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, with whom he had been very close.

“The next minute, he leapt on me, practically,” she claimed in the tapes that were released in Diana: In Her Own Words. “But then it sort of built up from there,” she added of their courtship.

1981 - Charles and Diana announce their engagement

Charles and Diana announced their engagement on 24 February. However, all already didn’t seem well between the pair. In Diana: In Her Own Words, the Princess of Wales recalled a joint interview the couple gave the same day.

"We had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement,” she said. “And this ridiculous [reporter] said, ‘Are you in love?’ I thought, what a thick question. So I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are,’ and Charles turned round and said, ‘Whatever love means.’ And that threw me completely. I thought, what a strange answer. It traumatised me.”

1981 - Charles buys a bracelet for Camilla

Weeks before his July wedding to Diana, Charles bought a bracelet for Camilla, which was engraved with the letters G and F. This stood for Gladys and Fred, the couple’s nicknames for one another, which were inspired by BBC radio programme The Goon Show.

Diana discovered the bracelet, she later told her biographer Andrew Morton.

She said: “I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way. And then someone in his office told me that my husband has had a bracelet made for her.

“I walked into this man’s office one day and I said, ‘Ooh, what’s in that parcel?’And he said ‘Oh, you shouldn’t look at that’. So I opened it and there was the bracelet. I was devastated, and I said ‘Well, he’s going to give it to her tonight’.

“So rage, rage, rage. You know, ‘Why can’t you be honest with me?’But no, absolutely cut me dead. It was as if he’d made his decision, and if it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to work.”

1986 - Charles and Camilla’s affair begins

American journalist and historian Sally Bedell Smith’s biography of Charles, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes, states that his affair with his ex-girlfriend Camilla began in 1986.

In 2017, Camilla spoke about having been initially reviled by the press and the effect it had on her.

She told You magazine: “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.”

1989 - Diana confronts Camilla

In 2004, an audio tape Diana made for her biographer Andrew Morton was broadcast for the first time on NBC for the first time.

On the tape, Diana recounted an incident at a party in 1989 when she confronted Camilla, interrupting a chat between Camilla, Charles and another man.

“I was terrified of her. I said, ‘I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,’” Diana is heard saying in the recording.

“I said to the two men, ‘OK, boys, I’m just going to have a quick word with Camilla and I’ll be up in a minute’," she said. “And they shot upstairs like chickens with no heads and I could feel, upstairs, all hell breaking loose – ‘What is she going to do?’”

Diana said Camilla’s response was “very interesting”.

She recalled: “She said to me: ‘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?’

“So I said, ‘I want my husband’. And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way... and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot.’”

December 1992 - Charles and Diana announce separation

On 9 December, Prime Minister John Major announced that the Prince and Princess of Wales had separated “amicably”.

1993 - Charles and Camilla’s explicit phone call revealed

Details of a secretly recorded explicit phone call between Charles and Camilla, which took place in 1989, were published by tabloid newspapers.

The leaked phone call did not make it into royal drama The Crown as Josh O’Connor, the actor who portrays Charles, point-blank refused to do it.

“When they offered me the role,” he told SiriusXM. “One of my first questions was — I say questions, I think it was pretty much a statement — ‘We are not doing the [phone call’].”

January 1995 - Camilla and Andrew announce divorce

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles announced that they intended to divorce. However, Charles still refused to confirm divorce proceedings between him and Diana, with a spokesperson telling The New York Times that a previous statement denying that a divorce was in the works was “still absolutely the case”.

The original statement said that “there is no truth in reports which state that it has been agreed that a divorce should take place or that there have been discussions about a financial settlement between the parties”.

November 1995 - Princess Diana is interviewed by Martin Bashir

In her now-infamous BBC Panorama interview, Princess Diana said there were “three people” in her marriage, a reference to her husband’s relationship with Camilla.

Diana said that “woman’s instinct” meant she knew about Charles’s affair but that she was also told by her staff and those “who minded and cared about our marriage”.

Bashir asked the princess: “Do you think MrsParker-Bowleswas a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?”

Diana replied: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

August 1996 - Charles and Diana’s divorce is finalised

The couple were finally legally separated in 1996, almost four years after their separation was first announced.

July 1997 - Charles hosts birthday party for Camilla

Charles hosted a 50th birthday party for Camilla at his home Highgrove in Gloucestershire.

Sept 1997 - Diana is killed in a car crash

The Princess of Wales died in a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris while being chased by paparazzi. Her partner, film producer Dodi Fayed, also died in the accident alongside the couple’s driver, Henri Paul.

August 1999 - Charles vacations with Camilla and his sons

Camilla joined Charles, Harry and William on a holiday to Greece.

2000 - The Queen attends an event Camilla is invited to

Up until this point, the Queen had declined invitations for events Camilla was going to be attending, including a private 50th birthday party for Charles in 1998.

In 2000, however, she accepted an invitation to a 60th birthday party for the King of Greece at Charles’s home in Highgrove.

2003 – Camilla moves into Clarence House

Charles and Camilla moved into official London residence Clarence House in 2003.

February 2005 – The couple announce their engagement

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles formally announced their engagement, and that the wedding date had been set as 9 April 2005. In a statement released at the time, the Prince of Wales said the occasion would mark a “very special day for us and our families”.

Princes William and Harry also released a statement, which said: “We are both very happy for our father and Camilla, and we wish them all the luck in the future."

It was also announced that Camilla would use the title HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, following her marriage to Prince Charles.” It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne,” the statement continued.

April 2005 – The couple marries 35 years after first meeting

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall married on 8 April – 35 years after their first meeting – at Windsor Guildhall, with Prince William as best man.

The Queen and Prince Philip didn’t attend the civil ceremony, but were present for the service of prayer in St George’s Chapel, after the civil ceremony.

Camilla wore a cream dress by Anna Valentine.

April 2020 – The couple celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary

The couple marked 15 years of marriage amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

They released a picture of them with the duchess’s dogs Bluebell and Beth on the anniversary.

February 2022 – Queen Elizabeth II acknowledges Camilla as Queen Consort

The Queen said she hoped the Duchess of Cornwall will be known as Queen Consort when Prince Charles takes the throne.

She used her Platinum Jubilee message – celebrating her 70th year as the monarch – to set out her hopes for her daughter-in-law, once a royal mistress, to be called Queen.

This was a a huge U-turn after Camilla took the lesser title Princess Consort when she married Charles 17 years ago,

The late Queen’s message, expressing her succession support for Charles, read: “And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

September 2022 - Prince Charles and Camilla receive new titles after Queen Elizabeth’s death

After Queen Elizabeth II’s death on 8 September, Prince Charles immediately became King Charles III.

Addressing the nation outside 10 Downing Street, the country’s new prime minister Liz Truss said: “Today the Crown passes – as it is has done for more than a thousand years – to our new monarch, our new head of state: His Majesty King Charles III.”

The Duchess of Cornwall was bestowed the title of Queen Consort, as per the late Queen’s wishes.”

On 9 September, King Charles referred to Camilla as Queen Consort officially, in his first address to the nation since his mother’s death.


  • Queen’s funeral in pictures as royals unite in grief
  • Who waited in line and who didn’t in the queue for the Queen?

In the televised speech, recorded from the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingam Palace, he said: “I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla. In recognition of her own loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, she becomes my Queen Consort.

“I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.”


Do the king and queen consort sleep together? ›

King Charles and Queen Camilla are undoubtedly very much in love, with public appearances always seeing them laughing and joking together, but reports say the couple does not share a bed. There's no trouble in paradise, though. It's customary for royal couples to sleep in different bedrooms.

How long were Charles and Camilla in love? ›

King Charles and Queen Camilla's love story has been anything but conventional. Despite marrying Diana Spencer, Charles never got over his former girlfriend—and against all odds, they got their happy ending 35 years after they first met.

When did Charles fall in love with Camilla? ›

1970: Charles and Camilla meet

Penny Junor's biography of Camilla, “The Duchess: The Untold Story,” states that the two fell in love in 1971 after being introduced by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz.

Why did the Queen not attend Charles and Camilla's wedding? ›

On 22 February, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen would not attend the wedding ceremony, but would attend the church blessing and host the reception afterwards. The reason stated by the palace was the couple wanted to keep the occasion low key.

Do Prince William and Kate sleep in separate rooms? ›

Their home has four bedrooms, so it seems likely they now share a room, unless their children, George, Charlotte and Louis are bunking in together.

Do William and Kate sleep in different beds? ›

It is said that the apartment has the option for Kate and William to have separate sleeping spaces, but they refuse to utilise them as so, instead sharing a bedroom like regular married couples.

Did Camilla attend Diana's funeral? ›

Camilla may have been at Diana's wedding but she was not welcome at her funeral, which was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world. Still, to many her absence echoed around the ancient hall. The Queen made it clear to Charles that he could not take his paramour to the service.

Did Diana know Charles didn't love her? ›

"One of the most shocking things that Diana told me was that the night before the wedding, Charles told her that he didn't love her," Thornton said. "I think Charles didn't want to go into the wedding on a false premise. He wanted to square it with her, and it was devastating for Diana."

Why wasn t Camilla suitable for Charles? ›

However, the royal family wasn't interested in having Camilla as its princess. For one thing, she was perceived as an “experienced” woman, which was a nonstarter for the royal family back then in terms of a suitable spouse for Prince Charles.

When did Diana find out about Camilla? ›

1986: According to Prince Charles's authorized biography, Prince of Wales by Jonathan Dimbleby, this is when Charles and Camilla's affair began. Diana soon discovers the transgression and confronts Camilla at a birthday party in 1989.

What did Princess Anne say to Camilla? ›

Queen Camilla was allegedly confronted by Princess Anne over her new title at a tense Coronation dinner with other members of the Royal Family. The Princess Royal is alleged to have told her sister-in-law that her title is Queen Consort and not Queen, according to Princess Diana's dressmaker, David Emanuel.

Did Camilla always love Charles? ›

But the biggest obstacle for Camilla and Charles' relationship was Camilla herself. Camilla did actually seem to love both Charles and Andrew. As Brown wrote, “My own view is that the love of Camilla's life was not Prince Charles but the man she married first—Andrew Parker Bowles …

Did Camilla go to Charles and Diana's wedding? ›

On July 29, 1981, Charles and Diana got married. Camilla attended their wedding.

Are Charles and Camilla happy? ›

It's been a rocky road, but these two finally found their happily ever after. Of all the modern royal romances, King Charles and Queen Camilla's has more twists and turns than a romantic comedy.

Why didn t Camilla wear white at her wedding? ›

George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Although it is customary for guests to avoid any white clothing to prevent upstaging the bride, Camilla's mother-in-law the Queen waived this rule and stepped out in a stunning pale ensemble as she attended the latter with her late husband Prince Philip.

What do royals call toilets? ›


If you're looking for a restroom in Buckingham Palace, ask for the loo or the lavatory.

What time does the Queen go to bed? ›

Apparently, she heads to bed at 10.30pm each evening in order to get a good night's sleep. The bling is stunning, obviously. Regular exercise is also said to help with sleep and Kate leads an active lifestyle, often talking about how she loves to get outdoors – it's thought that she runs or walks every day.

Did Martin and Kate sleep together? ›

Mainly, depictions of sexual scenarios made it appear that Mara and Robinson's relationship is overly romanticized, even approved of. In contrast, while we know that Kate and Martin have sex in Cruel Summer, none of that is ever shown.

Are Kate and William really in love? ›

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, William and Kate are still very much in love and committed to each other. As the future king and queen consort of England, their relationship has been under public scrutiny, but they have managed to maintain a strong bond.

Do William and Kate have servants? ›

Despite not being King and Queen juuuuust yet, Kate and William have a huge staff thanks to their position as senior working royals—though unlike King Charles, their aides are not "men in gray" (the nickname given to the power players pulling the strings at The Firm).

Why don t royals share beds? ›

As an old tradition dictates, royal couples never share the same bed or bedroom, allowing them to move freely while asleep. It allows them much needed alone time after hours of being in the limelight.

Why did Camilla not attend Diana's funeral? ›

Reports in the British press say Camilla had little desire to attend the ceremony from the very start, but was persuaded by her husband that, as his wife and stepmother to his sons, she should be at his side. But a negative public backlash changed her mind, some British newspapers reported.

Who did not bow their head at Diana's funeral? ›

TheTalko website revealed how Margaret took her disdain for Diana to the late Princess' funeral, refusing to bow her head as the hearse drove past. The publication claimed: "Even though the story was true, Margaret could never forgive Diana for making the family look bad.

Did Diana get a royal funeral? ›

Diana didn't have an official state funeral, rather a lavish ceremonial one much like the one held several years later for the Queen Mother (in fact, because Diana's death was so unexpected, her funeral plans were modeled on Tay Bridge, a codename for the funeral plan that had been in place for Queen Mother since 1979. ...

Who did Charles love instead of Diana? ›

Before King Charles III (then Prince Charles) married Princess Diana (then Diana Spencer) in 1981, he was apparently already smitten with his former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles (then Camilla Shand, now Camilla, Queen Consort). After an extensive courtship, Charles and Camilla married each other in April 2005.

Did Prince Philip like Diana? ›

While Princess Diana and Prince Philip were not reported to have gotten along well (during her marriage to Philip, there were reports that he was "unkind" to her, according to CNN), behind closed doors, it appears he was there for Diana during the difficult divorce — to a degree at least.

Did the royal family like Diana? ›

She was very much a hit with the royal family—they really warmed to her,” Chernock says. “Diana worked very, very hard to ingratiate herself and to model what she thought being a princess would entail, and she did it very successfully.”

Did Charles always want to marry Camilla? ›

Answer: The big reason Prince Charles and Camilla Shand, as she was then known, didn't get married in the early 1970s: He never asked her. And there are probably a number of reasons for that. In his early 20s, like many other young men, Charles simply wasn't ready for marriage.

What is Camilla like in real life? ›

She's very laid-back—even untidy!

Camilla, queen consort of the United Kingdom, otherwise known as Camilla Parker Bowles, is a down-to-earth country girl who has won the hearts of the British people with her natural, genuine demeanor—just as she did her now-husband, King Charles, when they met 52 years ago.

What did Camilla wear to Diana's wedding? ›

Princess Diana married now-King Charles back in 1981, and the current Queen Consort was in the congregation watching the ceremony. Camilla Parker Bowles, as she was known then, wore a pale grey dress to the service which many assumed was a white gown.

Does Princess Anne bow to Camilla? ›

Since Charles has taken to the throne, the tradition has changed so that now, in the Royal order, Camilla has outranked Princess Anne - meaning all the royal women in the family must (and will) curtsy to her.

How does Princess Anne feel about Camilla being Queen? ›

Princess Anne is not happy with her sister-in-law Queen Camilla… Sources tell New Idea that it is unlike Anne to “lash out like that”, but claim she is fed up with her sister-in-law. “Anne feels Camilla overstepped the mark ahead of the coronation by referring to herself simply as Queen,” says one insider.

What is the difference between a Queen and a Queen Consort? ›

Essentially, a Queen is somebody who is a ruling monarch in her own right and a consort is the female spouse of the male monarch.

What happens to Camilla if King Charles passes away? ›

Will Camilla be queen if King Charles dies? If Charles, 74, dies before Camilla, she will have the name of “queen dowager” bestowed upon her, according to reports. As Camilla is excluded from the Windsor bloodline, she would not be the sole queen in the event that Charles passes away before she does.

Were Camilla and Diana ever friends? ›

Diana and Camilla might have never had a close friendship, but when Charles and Diana started dating the pair were friendly with each other. At the time Camilla was married to Andrew Parker Bowles and had two children with him.

Does Kate have to curtsy to Camilla? ›

Kate Middleton's decision not to curtsy to Queen Camilla was a clear indication of her disapproval of King Charles' wife and her mishandling of his coronation, according to sources. While Kate is known for her poised public image, insiders reveal that she is no pushover when it comes to royal politics.

What is the bath rule for royals? ›

The monarch isn't a fan of a deep bath either, she is said to bathe in “no more than seven inches of water”, according to royal author Brian Hoey for the Daily Mail. Seven inches is equivalent to 17.8 centimetres.

Can you hug the Queen consort? ›

Royal protocol dictates that one must not touch the Queen unless she offers her hand first.

Does Queen Consort ever become queen? ›

According to the Royal Family's website: "A Queen Consort is crowned with the King, in a similar, but simpler ceremony." The last Queen Consort to be crowned was the Queen Mother alongside King George VI in 1937. The Archbishop of Canterbury anointed her head with holy oil - a ritual also carried out with the monarch.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 19/11/2023

Views: 5839

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.