Prince charles camilla diana


Nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tune in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple’s romance was for the moment the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.

Before long, however, the fairy-tale couple grew apart, an experience that was particularly painful under the ubiquitous eyes of the world’s tabloid media. Diana and Charles announced a separation in 1992, though they continued to carry out their royal duties. In August 1996, two months after Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce, the prince and princess reached a final agreement. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of “princess,” Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne.

In the year following the divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way of achieving her dream of becoming “a queen in people’s hearts,” but on August 31, 1997, she was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed in a car accident in Paris. Tests conducted by French police indicated that the driver, who also died in the crash, was intoxicated and likely caused the accident while trying to escape the paparazzi photographers who consistently tailed Diana during any public outing.

On April 9, 2005, Prince Charles wed his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, in a private civil ceremony. The ceremony had originally been planned for April 8, but had to be rescheduled so as not to conflict with the funeral of Pope John Paul II. After the civil ceremony, which the queen did not attend, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams blessed the union on behalf of the Church of England in a separate blessing ceremony. An estimated 750 guests attended the event, which was held at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor and was attended by both of Charles’ parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Though Camilla technically became the Princess of Wales with the marriage, she has announced her preference for the title Duchess of Cornwall, in deference to the beloved late princess. Should Charles become king, she will become Queen Camilla, though she has already announced her intention to use the title Princess Consort, most likely in response to public opinion polls showing resistance to the idea of a Queen Camilla.

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Prince Charles’s relationship with Camilla Shand comes under the lens in Season 3 of The Crown, offering a rare peek at his love life before he became involved with Princess Diana. The famous princess doesn’t appear in The Crown’s new chapter, but the rise and fall of Charles and Camilla’s romance sets viewers up perfectly for Diana’s debut in Season 4.

Camilla Shand (played by Emerald Fennell) is introduced late in the season as she meets the Prince of Wales (portrayed by Josh O’Connor) at a polo match, which reportedly did happen in the early ’70s. Charles’s first meeting with Diana Spencer, however, took place only a few years later in 1977. Considering the years covered in The Crown’s third season range roughly from 1964 and 1977, the writers probably wanted to save off that big moment for Season 4.

Charles and Diana met at the Spencer family home in Althorp, when she was 16 and he was 29, according to The Telegraph. He was the member of a shooting party and a guest of her sister, Sarah Spencer, who was already one of his friends. “We sort of met in a plowed field,” Lady Diana recalled in an interview following their engagement in 1981, four years after their first encounter.

“I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was,” Charles reminisced in that same interview. “I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything.” Diana added that her first impression of Charles was that he was “pretty amazing.”

The couple admitted that when they first met, they had no idea they’d eventually get engaged, but Prince Charles explained that he “gradually” realized that Diana was the one. He said that in the late summer and autumn before he proposed was when he “began to realize what was going on in my mind and hers, in particular.”

During Diana’s first meeting with Charles at Althorp, there was dinner and dancing, and he went up to her and asked her to show him the gallery. “For a 16-year-old, for someone like that to show any attention was just so, sort of amazed,” Diana later recalled in private tapes that were made public in the 2017 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words. “Why would anyone like that be interested in me?”

They didn’t see much of each other after that meeting. “That was it for about two years,” she explained. Charles even dated Diana’s sister Sarah on and off for a bit. (“My sister was all over him like a bad rash.”) But when he celebrated his 30th birthday, he invited both sisters to his party.

Things heated up again when Diana was invited to stay at her friend Philip de Pass’s house when the Prince of Wales was also visiting. When the two got time alone, Diana sympathized with Charles, recalling how sad he looked at the funeral of Lord Mountbatten (Prince Philip’s “Uncle Dickie”). “And the next minute, he lept on me, practically,” she recalled in the tapes.

Although the couple shared plenty of phone calls and Charles invited Diana out to spend time with him and the royal family, they ultimately didn’t spend much time together before getting engaged. “We met 13 times and we got married,” the princess revealed in the footage.

Lady Diana and Prince Charles at the photo shoot announcing their engagement in 1981. Tim GrahamGetty Images

Charles and Diana married in 1981, welcomed two sons together (Prince William and Prince Harry), then divorced in 1996. Royal fans—and most of the general public—may already be familiar with the former couple’s ill-fated love story, but it’ll be interesting to see how The Crown brings it to life in it’s forthcoming season.

THE wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles was widely billed as the “wedding of the century”.

But where did the couple tie the knot and what happened between them in the following years?

4 Princess Diana’s wedding dress featured an incredible 25ft trainCredit: Reuters

Where did Princess Diana get married?

The wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, took place on Wednesday July 29, 1981.

They tied the knot at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding.

It was estimated to have been watched by a global TV audience of 750 million, and the UK had a national holiday on the day too.

However, the couple famously split in 1992 and finalised their divorce in 1996.

4 Princess Diana’s dress was seen by more than 750 million peopleCredit: Getty – Contributor

What was Princess Diana’s maiden name?

Before she was a member of the royal family, Princess Diana was known as Lady Diana Spencer.

The Prince of Wales first met his future bride when she was just 16, in November 1977.

He had been dating her older sister Lady Sarah, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1980, when Diana watched him play polo during a country weekend, that he took a serious interest in her as a bride.

The couple officially announced their engagement on February 24, 1981.

4 Charles proposed to Lady Diana on February 6, 1981, but the news was kept quiet for a few weeksCredit: Getty – Contributor

What was Princess Diana’s wedding dress?

Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress is one of the most famous in the world.

It was designed by close friend David Emanuel, who was a close confidante of Diana before and after her wedding to Prince Charles.

The gown was an ivory, silk taffeta and antique lace gown, which boasted a whopping 25ft train.

It soon set numerous wedding fashion trains, with its puffed sleeves, full skirt and soft touch fabrics.

David Emmanuel described it as being “suitably dramatic in order to make an impression”.

4 Kate Middleton now wears Princess Diana’s stunning engagement ringCredit: AFP

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What was their relationship like?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana are known to have had a very tumultuous relationship.

And a royal writer has claimed that Prince Charles said his then-wife would “hit him over the head” when he said his prayers at night after they rowed.

In Sally Bedell Smith’s book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, she said that the couple were at odds long before they separated.

The biographer said there was “nothing cozy or mutually supportive about their relationship”.

And she shockingly claims Prince Charles told his cousin Pamela Hicks that after an argument at bedtime, “Diana would hit him over the head and keep on with the row while he was praying”.

Other explosive claims in the book include Diana “ridiculed Charles when he wore a uniform”, and said that he “looked ridiculous in all those medals.”

Sally wrote that Diana’s “erratic behaviour weighed heavily on Charles”, and the Princess of Wales even taunted Charles by saying “you’ll never be king”.

Diana is also said to have “banished” friends of Charles, “all of whom she suspected of colluding with Camilla .

“She disdained them for their

Her disdain for anything to do with Prince Charles’s previous life also resulted in her banishing his yellow Labrador Harvey, who was sent to live with one of the Prince’s advisors.

sycophancy toward the prince.”

After Harry’s birth in September 1984, the couple were said to be sleeping in separate bedrooms, and by 1986 took separate holidays.

Charles is alleged to have told his friends “how awful incompatibility is”, and by mid-1986, he is said to have rekindled his affair with Camilla.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles separated in 1992, and formally divorced in 1996.

In more Princess Diana news, this is the reason why Lady Di had a secret second wedding dress… and it was lot less extravagant.

Plus, this is why Princess Diana’ sapphire engagement ring was SO controversial at the time.

What did Princess Diana’s engagement ring look like?

Charles proposed to Lady Diana on February 6, 1981, but the news was kept secret for a few weeks.

Diana selected a large engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire, set in 18-carat white gold.

However, the ring was initially not very popular with the Palace due to the fact that it had featured in Garrard’s catalogue, which meant it wasn’t bespoke.

The £32million sapphire band is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and was given to her when Prince William proposed.

It was reported that Kate had to make the ring made smaller to avoid it slipping off her hand.

Princess Diana touched everyone she met, no matter how powerful or famous

IN one of the most honest interviews ever from a royal family member, Princess Diana famously revealed she knew Prince Charles was having an affair with his now wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The interviewer, BBC journalist Martin Bashir is a contestant on X Factor Celebrity 2019. Here’s all you need to know about that interview…

3 Princess Diana infamously said there were “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles in the interviewCredit: BBC

What was the Princess Diana interview with Martin Bashir?

On November 20, 1995, the BBC managed to pull off a royal coup when veteran Panorama journalist Martin Bashir spoke to Princess Diana in her first solo interview since her marriage to Prince Charles.

Diana was still part of the monarchy – but only just after she and Charles legally separated three years before.

Her scandalous interview was kept a total secret from Buckingham Palace – and within a month of it being broadcast, the Queen wrote to both Diana and Charles personally advising them to divorce.

Dressed in a powerful black suit and white blouse, Diana sat down with Bashir for an hour in what would become one of the most explosive interviews ever conducted.

She dropped a number of bombshells as she opened up about her life as a member of the Royal Family.

A staggering 22.8 million watched it, and it remains one of the highest-rated BBC programmes of all time.

What did Princess Diana say about Camilla Parker-Bowles?

Around 20 minutes into the interview, Bashir mentioned a biography written by Jonathan Dimbleby where he revealed Charles had renewed his relationship with Camilla.

After asking the Princess how she knew about the affair, Diana replied: “Oh, a woman’s instinct is a very good one.”

She went on to say she was told about the relationship by staff and people “who minded and cared about our marriage”.

3 The famous Martin Bashir interview was filmed in 1995 without the Palace knowingCredit: BBC

Diana then admitted the “pretty devastating” revelation left her with “rampant bulimia”.

She also said she knew her husband loved someone else by the “change in behavioural pattern…for all sorts of reasons that a woman’s instinct produces”.

How did the famous ‘three people’ line happen?

Bashir – a seasoned journalist – asked: “Do you think Mrs Parker-Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?”

Diana, whose head had been pointing towards the ground, looked up and replied: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

The line became infamous and one of the most explosive in an interview already full of scandal.

What else did Princess Diana say?

The Princess also spoke candidly of her battle with post-natal depression after giving birth to William.

She said: “I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discusses, post-natal depression, you have to read about it afterwards, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time.

“You’d wake up in the morning feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself. I had never had depression in my life.”

3 Diana discussed her relationship with Princes CharlesCredit: Rex Features

Diana also explained how she received little sympathy from those around her, adding: “It gave everybody a wonderful new label – Diana’s unstable and Diana’s mentally unbalanced. And unfortunately, that seems to have stuck on and off over the years.”

She also revealed how her struggles with bulimia, which she branded a “secret disease”, where she would make herself sick five times a day.




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What Mean Nickname Did Camilla Parker Bowles Call Princess Diana?

We all know now that the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles was nothing like the fairy tale the outside thought it would be after they tied the knot in 1981. Maybe it was because they never got to know each other before they got engaged or maybe it was because Charles was always in love with Camilla Parker Bowles, not Diana.

Either way, the princess’ bombshell Panorama interview in 1995 changed everyone’s perception of what things were really like behind the palace walls.

Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles | Express Newspapers/Getty Images

In was in that interview that Diana uttered the famous line, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded,” when talking about her husband’s mistress. The princess also reportedly had an unflattering nickname she gave Camilla over the years and the now-duchess dubbed Diana with an equally cruel one as well.

Here’s more on what happened when the Princess of Wales confronted Camilla about her affair with Prince Charles and what the women used to call each other.

When Princess Diana confronted Camilla about the affair

Diana knew for some time that the prince was cheating on her and in 1989, she decided to confront Camilla directly about the affair. Diana showed up at a party unannounced and later described in her own words what happened that evening.

She said she interrupted a conversation between her husband, his mistress, and another man and asked to speak with Camilla privately. The princess recalled saying to the men, “OK, boys, I’m just going to have a quick word with Camilla and I’ll be up in a minute.”

Left: Princess Diana in Australia in 1996 | Patrick Riviere/Getty Images, Right: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2017 | WPA Pool/Pool/Getty Images

Diana then turned her attention to Camilla and told her, “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.”

The princess said Camilla then replied, “’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?’”

“I want my husband,” Diana shot back. “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.’”

What nickname Camilla had for Diana and what the princess called her

Charles and Camilla continued to carry on their affair and in 1992, Diana and the heir apparent separated. Needless to say, the two women were not fond of each other so one would figure there would probably be some trash talking on both sides.

(L): Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images, (R): Camilla Parker Bowles | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

According to Diana’s friend, Simone Simmons, the People’s Princess gave her rival a nasty nickname. In her book, Diana: The Last Word, Simmons wrote that the princess called Camilla “the Rottweiler” because she “looks like a dog — and because once she has got her teeth into someone she won’t let go.”

But Diana reportedly wasn’t the only one name-calling. Royal author Tom Bower claimed that the now-Duchess of Cornwall had an unflattering name for the Princess of Wales as well. Bower said Camilla referred to Diana as a “mad cow” after she did the Panorama interview.

He added that Camilla told people that the princess had “little right to complain about her affair with Charles, since she had been ‘working her way through the lifeguards.’”

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, one year before the princess’ tragic death. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla.

Read more: Why Camilla Parker Bowles’ Friends and Family Labeled Prince Charles As An ‘Absolute Pig’

  • Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles first met at a polo match in Windsor.
  • Although their initial relationship was short-lived, the two rekindled their romance, causing controversy for the royal family.
  • Season 3 of The Crown will feature the beginning of Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship.

Throughout her life, the Duchess of Cornwall has dealt with having a reputation of being “third person” in the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. But Camilla Parker Bowles’ relationship with the Prince of Wales — spanning four decades — is more than just a scandalous affair. Before reaching martial bliss, they had to tackle royal marriages, tabloid drama, and even tragedy in order to maintain their love, and now, the two are happily married. Here’s a look back on the timeline of Prince Charles and Camilla’s romance.


Prince Charles meets Camilla Shand for the first time at a polo match in Windsor. The two are immediately attracted to one another and start dating not long after their first meeting. But in 1971, the two part ways when Charles joins the Royal Navy.

Prince Charles and Camilla Shand spotting at a 1970 polo match. Getty Images


In July of 1973, Camilla marries Andrew Parker Bowles, a British Army lieutenant, who had previously dated Prince Charles’ younger sister, Princess Anne. Former boarding school classmate of Camilla, actress Lynn Redgrave, once said that for Camilla, “landing a rich husband was the top of the agenda. Camilla wanted to have fun, but she also wanted to marry well because, in her mind, that would be the most fun of all.”

Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles on their wedding day in 1973. Getty Images


Prince Charles formally meets 16-year-old Lady Diana Spencer while in a relationship with her older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale. Charles ended his relationship with Sarah and began courting Diana in 1980. According to Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton, the two sisters remained close despite their relationships with the Prince. Sarah notably claimed responsibility for their getting together saying, “I introduced them. I’m Cupid.”

Diana and Charles share a moment of affection while announcing their engagement in 1981. Getty Images


Charles proposes to Diana on February 6, 1981, and the engagement is officially announced on February 24. That summer, Charles and Diana marry on July 29 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a fairytale wedding. According to ABC’s special, The Last 100 Days of Diana, focusing on the summer before Diana’s death, Camilla was present at Charles and Diana’s wedding despite Diana’s wishes for her not to attend. A year later, on June 21, 1982, the royal couple welcomes their first born son, Prince William, and two years later, on September 15, 1984, their second son, Prince Harry.

Express Newspapers


Despite being in high profile marriages, Charles and Camilla resume their longtime love affair, the documentary notes. Surprisingly, Camilla isn’t the first in her family to have a royal affair. Camilla reportedly idolized her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, the famous mistress of Prince Charles’ great-great-grandfather Edward VII.

Camilla and Charles spotted together in 1979, a year before Charles began courting Diana. Getty Images


According to interview tapes recorded by Andrew Morton for the Princess of Wales’ biography, Diana claims to have confronted Camilla at a party and told her, “Camilla, I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on between you and Charles. I wasn’t born yesterday.” Camilla allegedly responded, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world to fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children. What more do you want?” And Diana said, “I want my husband.”


In November 1992, the press manages to release private tapes of intimate phone conversations between Charles and Camilla, confirming their affections for one another. The tabloids later label the tape incident “Camillagate.” A month later, Prime Minister John Major confirms martial issues between Diana and Charles and announces their separation.


Two years after their separation, Charles confesses adultery in nationally televised interview where he names Camilla as his mistress. But the Prince also defends his actions, saying that he did work to remain faithful to Diana, “until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.”


Camilla and her husband Andrew officially announce their divorce. The two, who had been living apart for two years, decide to end their marriage, saying, “There is little of common interest between us.” Diana also admits to adultery, having had an affair with James Hewitt, a well known polo player and Diana’s former riding instructor, and opens up about Charles’ affair with Camilla in a BBC interview. In the interview with Martin Bashir, Diana famously admits, “There were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” In order to get the exclusive interview, Diana worked with Bashir to keep their interview a secret from Buckingham Palace. Bashir even went as far as to sneak into the palace to do the interview without Diana’s team knowing, according to ABC’s The Last 100 Days of Diana.


Princess Diana is killed in a tragic car accident in Paris and the world is turned upside down by the news. The city of London took the streets to publicly mourn the Princess as Prince Charles walked with his family in the streets for the funeral procession. As for Camilla, the progress she had slowly made as the new woman in Charles’ life was brought to a temporary halt as the spotlight shifted once again to Diana.

Prince Charles stands by the side of his sons, Prince William and Harry during Diana’ expand= Getty Images


A year after Diana’s death, Charles formally introduces Camilla to his sons, William and Harry. Due to Diana’s sudden death, Charles and Camilla opt to keep their relationship out of the public eye.


The couple appear in public together for the first time at Camilla’s sister’s 50th birthday party at the Ritz Hotel in London. Charles and Camilla arrive at the event separately, almost two hours apart, but leave the event together. More than 200 photographers, journalists, tourists, and fans crowd the streets around the hotel to catch a glimpse of them, who were reluctant to be too public since Diana’s death. The rare sighting of the couple together was the moment that their relationship when from a public affair to a public romance.

Camilla and Charles leave Camilla’ expand= Getty Images


Though Camilla starts to form a relationship with Charles’ sons, she has yet to formally meet Queen Elizabeth. Unwilling to acknowledge Charles’ relationship with Camilla, the Queen refuses an invitation to Charles’ 50th birthday due to Camilla’s presence. But in the summer of 2000, the Queen decides to appear at the exclusive 60th birthday celebration for King Constantine of Greece at Highgrove, where Camilla is also present. The Queen choosing to attend the party where Camilla is a guest is seen as progress in approving Camilla and Charles’ relationship.


Charles and Camilla kiss in public for the first time at an event for The National Osteoporosis Society at Somerset House in London, where Camilla served as the organization’s patron. According to the BBC, Camilla being able to properly greet Charles was considered an important step in the couple’s public relationship. Charles coming out to support Camilla also showed an unfamiliar role reversal for the pair.

Camilla greets Charles with a kiss during an event for The National Osteoporosis Society at Somerset House in London. Getty Images


Camilla officially moves into Clarence House, the residence of Prince Charles.

Charles and Camilla outside of Clarence House in 2005. Getty Images


Charles and Camilla announce their engagement in February 2005, but the news causes public controversy and difficult political decisions, including the appropriate venue for their wedding ceremony. Two months later, Prince Charles and Camilla finally marry in a civil ceremony on April 9, 2005 at Windsor Guildhall. Prince William serves as the best man, and Camilla’s ex-husband and his second wife attend the ceremony. The Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, choose not to attend the wedding ceremony, but make an appearance at the Service of Prayer and Dedication held at the St. George Chapel at Windsor Castle, as well as the reception afterwards.

Charles and Camilla’ expand= Corbis


Camilla decides not attend Diana’s 10 year memorial service. Though Charles’ wife initially planned to attend, according to a People report, the public persuaded Camilla to do otherwise. The Duchess of Cornwall released a statement, saying: “I accepted and wanted to support them, however, on reflection I believe my attendance could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion which is to focus on the life and service of Diana. I’m grateful to my husband, William, and Harry for supporting my decision.”


In an interview with Prince Charles, NBC reporter Brian Williams asked Prince Charles the question on everyone’s mind: “Does the Duchess of Cornwall become Queen of England, if and when you become the monarch?” The Prince responses to Williams by saying, “That’s well … we’ll see won’t we? That could be.” Though Camilla will legally be Charles’ queen, she will hold the title of Princess consort, according to the royals’ own website.


Camilla and Kate Middleton make headlines just a few months before Kate’s wedding, as the two go out for lunch with Kate’s sister, Pippa, and Camilla’s daughter, Laura Lopes. According to an ABC report, onlookers of the lunch heard Camilla trying to offer motherly advice to the soon-to-be-bride. Two months later on April 29, William and Kate marry at Westminster Abbey and Camilla attends the wedding by Prince Charles’ side.

Charles and Camilla outside the Westminster Abbey gates before Kate and Will’ expand= Getty Images


While Diana will forever remain the People’s Princess, over time, the public opinion of Camilla and Charles changes and even the Queen begins to warm up to Camilla. In 2012, Elizabeth II expressed her acceptance of her new daughter-in-law by officially giving her a royal honor. Camilla is named Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. Later that summer, during the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee, Camilla accompanied the Queen on a carriage ride during one of the event’s processionals. This is seen as another big feat for Camilla, considering a decade ago, the Queen refused to show up to events if Camilla was there.

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla during the Diamond Jubilee carriage procession. Getty Images


Camilla and Charles celebrate 10 years of marriage. In honor of the day, Clarence House releases a photo of the couple at the Balmoral estate in Scotland, where the couple celebrated their honeymoon as well as their first wedding anniversary. A few months later, Camilla joins the whole family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the 2015 Trooping The Colour ceremony.

The royal family waves from the Buckingham Palace balcony during the 2015 Trooping the Colour ceremony. Getty Images


Charles and Camilla continue to make public appearances together, including a visit to Northern Ireland in May.

Charles and Camilla share an ice cream in Dromore, Northern Ireland. Getty Images

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Related Story

Long before Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles married Prince Charles, he fell for a very surprising woman most of us haven’t heard of.

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker Bowles, on paper, had a lot in common. Both were blonde, daughters of the English aristocracy raised in wealthy families who enjoyed the privileges that came with their class.

Both went to a Swiss finishing school and neither really ever worked. Most significantly, both were intimately involved with (and married to) Prince Charles.

All of which makes his choice of first girlfriend more surprising. While any debutante in the late 60s would have happily dated the heir to the throne, the woman who bewitched the Charles was not some blushing home counties girl wearing pearls but a quadrilingual older woman.


Meet Lucia Santa Cruz, the most important woman in the future King’s life you have never heard of.


Despite graduating from his hated, austere Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun, Charles was accepted into Cambridge. Unlike other undergraduates, when the then 18-year-old arrived in October 1967, he moved in a suite of rooms not usually offered to first year students along with a specially built private bathroom. After the Queen saw her son’s rooms she sent her a staff member from Sandringhim (known as her “tapissier”) to bring the Prince curtains, carpets and even a duvet, while the Queen Mother sent him a painting by a favourite Scottish artist.

At the time, the Master of Trinity College was Lord ‘Rab’ Butler, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. He happened to be incredibly well connected and had employed a friend’s daughter as his research assistant.

Lucia Santa Cruz was five years older than Charles. She spoke four languages, had degrees from Kings College, London, and St. Antony’s College, Oxford and was the daughter of the Chilean ambassador to the court of St James.

In the English spring of 1969, Butler, whether accidentally or on purpose, played cupid, inviting both his royal student and Lucia to a dinner party. Sparks flew. Charles’ cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson (who was also a friend of Lucia’s) commented, “She was the first real love of his life”.


Charles at that age was widely known to be shy and socially awkward. Still, his relationship with Lucia progressed. According to royal biographer Tina Brown, Butler even gave a Lucia a key to the Master’s lodge so the couple could meet up in private.

(In 1992, Lord Butler’s wife Mollie wrote that Lucia was a “happy example of someone on whom could safely cut his teeth, if I may put it thus”.)

This was no sordid liaison but a romance. In 1971 they were photographed in London in the back seat of a chauffeur-driven car and The Telegraph reported he even took her to Balmoral to meet his family.



Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles In 1979. Photo / Getty Images

Lucia is credited with not only being Charles’ first sexual partner but also the person who introduced him to perhaps the most important woman in his life – the then Camilla Shand.

While no one quite knows why things between Lucia and Charles ended, what we do know is that in 1971 she had moved into a flat in the London suburb of Belgravia. Living in a flat below was debutante Camilla Shand and the two women became firm friends.

In his authorised biography of the Prince of Wales, author Jonathan Dimbleby says Lucia told Charles she had “just the girl” for the young prince and then arranged for the royal to meet Camilla. Almost immediately, Charles was smitten and “he lost his heart to her almost at once”.

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Given the integral role that Lucia played in bringing together two of the twentieth century’s most controversial lovers, it is perhaps surprising that she ended up becoming one of Diana, Princess of Wales’ most trusted confidants and friends.

Lucia later married diplomat Paolo Tarso Flecha de Lima, who later became Brazilian Ambassador to the UK. In 1991, Lucia and Diana met during the Wales’ official trip to Brazil and later, over the course of the royals’ disintegrating union, she would offer Diana solace and the chance to escape London.

Prince Charles and Diana on the day of their announcement in 1981. Photo / Getty Images

On Boxing Day 1993, after spending Christmas Day absolutely alone, Diana flew to Washington to spend a week with Lucia. The 31-year-old was in a particularly vulnerable place, telling biographer Andrew Morton that “I cried all the way out and all the way back, I felt so sorry for myself”.

Despite her closeness to Diana, Lucia remained close to Charles also, with the Prince becoming godfather to her eldest son.


Despite Lucia’s closeness to Diana, she has also remained close Charles and Camilla. In 2009, when the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall embarked on an official tour of South America, they visited Lucia in Lima; in 2011, she was invited to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding and in 2014, Camilla attended a London charity function organised by Lucia.

Unlike other women in Charles’ orbit, Lucia forged a highly successful career and remains

a prominent figure in her native Chile as an established historian and academic, along with having served on the board of the Santander bank, the Chilean TV station TVN and assuming the prestigious role of Dean of Liberal Arts at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez.

It’s a famous—and infamous—love story: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, married in 2005 after an extramarital affair, their respective high-profile divorces, and, of course, the tragic death of Princess Diana. But before all the tragedy and drama, there were just two twenty-somethings in a budding romance: a young Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Shand.

That’s the time period captured in Season 3, Episode 9 of The Crown, “Imbroglio.” It’s a dramatic plot point: There’s sex, cheating, and even a plot to keep two lovers apart. But how much of that is real, and how much of it is fiction?

Before we continue—this post contains plot spoilers (although some of it is, well, history). Scroll at your own discretion.

How did Prince Charles and Camilla Shand meet? There are conflicting reports: BBC says a polo match in 1970, but according to Sally Bedell Smith, author of the New York Times best-selling biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life—the couple was introduced by mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz in 1972. (Charles also confirmed this to journalist Jonathan Dimbleby.) This rules out one plot point: the love quadrangle. Although Princess Anne was linked to Andrew Parker Bowles (Shand’s on-and-off boyfriend and future husband), their connection didn’t overlap with Camilla and Charles’s courtship. Princess Anne and Andrew Parker Bowles were actually together in 1971. “By the time Charles met Camilla some 18 months later, the romance between Anne and Andrew was in the distant rear-view mirror,” Bedell-Smith tells Vogue. “It’s also a stretch to say that Camilla wanted to ‘get back’ at Andrew for his involvement with Anne. Andrew had plenty of other girlfriends for Camilla to worry about.”

Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Emerald Fennell as Camilla Shand. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

It’s true that Prince Charles fell victim to bad timing. Bedell-Smith recalls that Lord Patrick Beresford, a friend of the couple, told her that Prince Charles “sort of parachuted in the middle” of Parker Bowles’s and Shand’s complicated relationship. “For Charles, it was a coup de foudre. For Camilla, it was an opportunity for a fling while her longtime boyfriend, Major Andrew Parker Bowles, was away. Andrew left England in July 1972 for a deployment in Northern Ireland and Cyprus for six months,” says Smith. Then, there’s the fact that Charles was long scheduled to leave for an eight-month stint in the Caribbean in January 1973. The couple had a six-month romance, kept largely under the radar except for some appearances at polo matches and at the nightclub Annabel’s.

Probably the most explosive storyline in The Crown is that the Queen Mother and Lord Mountbatten plotted to keep the couple apart. It’s entertaining but exaggerated. Lord Mountbatten allowed the couple to spend time at his country estate of Broadlands, where their feelings flourished. In mid-December, before Charles left for the Caribbean, Mountbatten hosted them for a final visit. Plus, says Smith, Mountbatten and the Queen Mother weren’t particularly close.

However, it does seem that the royal family didn’t realize the strength of Charles’s devotion. “Everyone knew about Camilla’s affair with Andrew Parker-Bowles, which had been going on for six years,” Smith recalls. “So to the extent that the royal family was aware of Charles and Camilla, nobody took it seriously.” History can tell you just how wrong they were.

PRINCE Charles cried the night before marrying Princess Diana and begged Camilla not to wed her first husband, a new book reveals.

Royal author Penny Junor says Charles stood at a Buckingham Palace window watching crowds with tears streaming down his face.

10 A new book claims Prince Charles wept the night before he married Princess DianaCredit: Getty Images 10 The then Camilla Shand marries Major Andrew Parker-Bowles in 1973Credit: Getty Images

The book, serialised in the Daily Mail, is based on accounts from the Duchess’s family and confidantes and tells of three stages in her secret relationship with Charles.

The first was before either married, the second was after Camilla gave birth to her daughter in 1978 and up until his engagement to Diana in 1981.

The third period began about five years later.

10 Author Penny Junor says Charles’ marriage broke down because he didn’t tell Di about his romance with CamillaCredit: Rex Features 10 He reportedly said he saw the princess’s ‘dark side’ after their engagementCredit: Getty Images 10 The book says Di threw a tantrum on her honeymoon with Charles, ripping up her new husband’s paintingsCredit: Getty Images 10 Prince Charles chats to Camilla at a polo matchCredit: Getty Images

Charles and Camilla were introduced by mutual friend Lucia Santa Cruz and quickly became close friends talking for hours on the phone and spending as much time together as possible.

The book claims the prince fell for his second wife quickly, but that there relationship never progressed amid warnings from hid great-uncle Lord Mountbatten that she was not sufficiently aristocratic.

She was dating Andrew Parker Bowles and reportedly smitten despite the fact he was also seeing Princess Anne for a period.

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Andrew eventually proposed in 1973, while the Prince was in the West Indies, and Camilla accepted.

Charles reportedly wrote in one letter that it was cruel such a “such a blissful, peaceful and mutually happy relationship” should last just six months and even begged Camilla not to go through with the marriage.
The book claims that Andrew was unfaithful to Camilla with a succession of different woman, including a number of her friends, causing much heartache.

Charles, godfather to the couple’s son, reportedly spent a lot of time with Camilla during those years as the pair at that time enjoyed a deep platonic friendship.

The book claims they spent hours on the phone and Charles would send her long expansive letters.

10 Camilla finally married Charles in 2005, eight years after Diana died in a Paris car crashCredit: Getty Images 10 The author spent more than a year following Camilla and spoke to her inner circleCredit: Getty Images – WireImage 10 Charles and Camilla were introduced by Lucia Santa CruzCredit: Rex Features 10 Princess Anne pictured with Andrew Parker Bowles at Cheltenham races in 1997Credit: PA:Press Association

But, the book claims that in 1979 Charles and Camilla became lovers again – Andrew was reportedly aware but in no position to complain.

It is claimed Charles caused his marriage disaster by not telling Di about Camilla and that he only saw the princess’s “dark side” after their engagement.

The book also says Di ripped up Charles’s paintings on their honeymoon and subjected a courtier to a six-hour ordeal by crying, kicking furniture and ranting.

Camilla, 69 — who finally married Charles in 2005, eight years after Di’s 1997 death — did not give a formal interview.

But the author spent more than a year following her and spoke to her inner circle.

IF nothing else, royalty buffs will have had their fill for a while. Last Friday, ABC broadcast a television movie called ”Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story.” Tonight at 9, CBS has a television movie titled ”The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana.” The subject, needless to say, is the courtship of Britain’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The wedding, in July 1981, was a splendid pomp-and-circumstance story, its live coverage enchanting television viewers throughout the world – a fact that just might be connected with the spectacle of television entertainment rushing to concoct dramatizations of the ”fairy tale” relationship.

The result, in both movies, is fantasy and speculation, drenched in elegant trappings. Each script is determined to raise to the heights of romance a marriage that could hardly have been more suited to the traditional demands of royal arrangement. John McGreevy’s script for the ABC opus did attempt to make brief references to certain pressing realities. A major figure in its scenario was Lord Louis Mountbatten, portrayed as Charles’s favorite uncle and adviser. When the uncle mentioned something about going to fish for lobster in Ireland, a flicker of concern could be detected in Charles’s eyes – though it was not made clear if he were thinking of his uncle, the lobsters or the ”troubles” in Ireland.

In any event, when Lord Mountbatten was killed by a bomb placed in his yacht off the coast of Ireland by members of the Provisional Irish Republical Army, Charles was seen in the ABC movie as being very despondent. The incident evidently led to his decision to give up his playboy ways and begin to think seriously about marriage and settling down. It’s an interesting theory, but curiously enough, it is totally rejected by CBS’s version of things.

In this evening’s movie, the character of Lord Mountbatten doesn’t even put in a perfunctory appearance. This script, patched together by the committee of Robert L. Freedman, Selma Thompson, Jonathan Platnick and Linda Yellin, who is also the producer, is much more fixated on the purely romantic possiblities of the story. Even passing references to raging unemployment and race riots are completely out of the question. Far more to the calculating point are an outrageously gooey theme song and periodic helicopter shots of stunning countryside. One of the emotional high points occurs when young Diana decides to cut her hair and, suddenly transformed, beams into the camera with her famous Lady Di cut.

How TV dramatized Princess Diana’s life and death

Roger Rees and Catherine Oxenberg in “Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After.” Everett Collection

You likely know by now — following the blitz of TV specials marking the sad occasion — that Thursday is the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

What you might not know about (or remember) are the TV movies that dramatized Diana’s “fairy tale” romance with Prince Charles, their 1981 marriage (a global event), the couple’s rocky road over the next 15 years — culminating with their 1996 divorce — Diana’s 1997 death in that horrific Paris car crash. There was even a TV movie about Charles and Diana’s oldest son, Prince William.

The titles alone, which veer from “A Royal Love Story” to “Unhappily Ever After” to “Feud,” give you a sense of the stormy turn taken by the Royal couple’s relationship.

“Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story”

Aired Sept. 17, 1982 on ABC

The title pretty much says it all in the first TV movie to air following the couple’s year-old marriage (before anyone knew about all the internal strife). Caroline Bliss played Diana, with David Robb as Prince Charles, Christopher Lee as Prince Philip and Margaret Tyzack as Queen Elizabeth.

“The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana”

Aired Sept. 20, 1982 on CBS

This one followed its ABC counterpart by only a few days, with Catherine Oxenberg — who’d reprise the role 10 years later — as Diana, Christopher Baines as Charles, Stewart Granger (!) as Prince Philip and Dana Wynter as Queen Elizabeth. Fun fact: Olivia de Havilland, who turned 101 in July, co-starred as The Queen Mother.

“Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After”

Aired Dec. 13, 1992 on ABC

Yep — its Oxenberg again as Diana, a decade later and famously unhappy in her marriage to Charles, portrayed here by Roger Rees, with Amanda Walker as Queen Elizabeth and David Quilter as Prince Philip. This one features Jane How as Charles’ true love, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and there’s even a very young Prince William (Thomas Szekeres) and Prince Harry (Oliver Stone — and yes, that’s his real name).

“Diana: Her True Story”

Aired April 4 & 5, 1993 on NBC

Now that the facade surrounding the Charles-Diana union had crumbled, NBC jumped on the scandal bandwagon with this two-parter starring Serena Scott Thomas as Diana, David Threlfall as Charles, Elizabeth Garvie as Parker-Bowles and Ann Stallybrass as Queen Elizabeth. Also featured: Tracy Hardwick as Sarah Ferguson, who was involved in her own scandalous Royal marriage to Prince Andrew.

“Prince William”

Aired Sept. 29, 2002 on ABC

Jordan Frieda, Martin Turner and Eddie Cooper in “Prince William.”REUTERS

Jordan Frieda, the son of Scottish pop singer Lulu and celebrity hairsylist John Frieda, played the title role this movie filmed in Ireland and covering three years in Prince William’s life — from Diana’s death to his entering St. Andrew’s College in 2000 (when he was 18). Martin Turner co-starred as Charles, with Eddie Cooper as brother Prince Harry, Rosemary Leach as Queen Elizabeth and Carolyn Pickles as Parker-Bowles.

“The Murder of Princess Diana”

Aired in 2007 on Lifetime

Timed to the 10th anniversary of Diana’s death (or “Murder,” according to this TV movie), this movie explored the circumstances surrounding the Aug. 31, 1997 car crash that claimed the life of Diana (Nathalie Brocker), Dodi Al-Fayed (Stephane Loumi) and limo driver Henri Paul (Denis Braccini).

“Feud: Charles and Diana”

Airs next year on FX

Ryan Murphy’s next entry into his “Feud” anthology hasn’t cast any of its leads (yet) — but it’s sure to be juicy.

Meghan and Harry need William and Kate more than ever

A year ago this week I attended the Australian Geographic Awards where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex handed out trophies to some of our most notable conservationists and adventurers.

A former colleague and I were within a metre of the couple as they shook hands with the award-winners and while I was struck by their natural warmth, she was having none of it.

“I give it five and two,” she whispered.

“Five and two?” I queried.

“Five years and two kids before they split.”

At the time it seemed a cruel analysis of the newly-pregnant duchess and everyone’s favourite prince. Their love was palpable and Meghan was tough. Indeed, Prince Charles was so taken with his daughter-in-law’s strength he nicknamed her “tungsten”.

MORE FROM ANGELA MOLLARD: What Meghan should learn from Diana

A year on I’m not so sure my colleague’s prediction won’t come to pass and if the couple were to falter under the pressure it would be the worst royal divorce in modern history. Would Meghan move back to America, taking Archie with her and leaving Harry more broken than he already is? Or would the Queen step in and forbid the 7th in line to the throne from leaving British soil?

media_camera Pundits have wasted no time speculating about the marriage of Meghan and Harry. Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP

While it’s unsavoury to speculate on the intimacies of anyone else’s marriage it’s not unreasonable to hypothesise on what could happen if the pressure becomes too much for Harry and Meghan. Statistics show 42 per cent of marriages in the UK end in divorce and while the Sussexes enjoy greater wealth and comfort than most, they are arguably far more vulnerable, and not just because of the constant scrutiny and criticism.

Whether you believe the royal couple should adopt a stiff upper lip or you empathise with their candour, what they have made blisteringly and unquestionably clear is that they’re unhappy. Right now that unhappiness is caused by external forces but those forces – which in civilians can be anything from redundancy and infertility to sickness or money troubles – have a habit of eroding otherwise functioning relationships.

MORE FROM ANGELA MOLLARD: Is Meghan fed up with royal life?

How Meghan and Harry manage the stress of their current situation and how they are supported is now critical. High-profile and widely scrutinised marriages can survive, as the Cambridges, the Obamas and our own Princess Mary and Prince Frederick have proved. Simply, it takes maturity, togetherness and a little less self-pity.

media_camera Michelle and Barack Obama, pictured in 2009. The state of their union has never been questioned. Picture: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

In the documentary about their tour to Africa – which became less travelogue and more a counselling session concerned with their precarious emotional state – Harry appeared troubled and agitated while Meghan confessed they were taking one day at a time, “existing, not living”. Her British friends had warned her against marrying Harry, she confided, a worry she had “naively” dismissed.

While the pair seem united for now, they lack the anchor points that might tether them when one snaps at the other, an inevitability when Harry is riddled with guilt and Meghan is questioning what she has got herself into. Both are children of divorce so they have no parental model of conflicts being settled and challenges worked through. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the emotional equipment to solve disagreements, but it’s a skill they’ll need to learn rather than one observed through the normal tussle of family life.

media_camera Meghan and Harry are keeping a busy schedule despite the scrutiny. Picture: Jeremy Selwyn/Getty Images

They both enjoy strong relationships with one parent but are desperately lacking the familial safe haven that can provide a buffer against the world. Meghan’s mother lives an ocean away and her father and toxic stepsister undermine her at every turn.

One of the reasons Prince William was so attracted to Kate Middleton was because her family was loving, solid and fiercely private. Not only has that given his wife an innate stability but the Middletons and their home has provided a sanctuary for the future King.

Prince Charles’s residences are clearly comfortable but for Harry, who effectively grew up at boarding school, they fail to provide a true sense of “home”.

MORE FROM ANGELA MOLLARD: The unexpected upside of downsizing

Worse, Harry has shut out his greatest ally – his brother. You can see exactly how it played out. Careful, mindful William – the man who wanted to be sure before proposing to his girlfriend of seven years – reportedly warned his brother about marrying in haste. Showing the same sort of petulance he occasionally exhibits to the media, Harry took offence, doubtless sharing his brother’s concerns with his beloved.

media_camera The couple seem a decade away from their happy wedding day. Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP

Instead of seeing the intervention as well-meaning, the Sussexes have adopted an “us and them” approach curiously similar to the tactic Thomas Markle has taken with his daughter.

None of this bodes well. For all her troubles Princess Diana would’ve given her youngest son and his wife the guidance they both so desperately need. Her love, humour and investment in their togetherness combined with her deep working knowledge of the royal family would’ve provided ballast and hard-won wisdom.

Without her the Sussexes are adrift, floating between paid flunkies who are proving horribly inadequate at damage limitation and a hodgepodge of family emotionally incapable of caring for their own.

You can only hope the couple’s own resourcefulness will lead them to seek help. They need a good psychologist, insightful friends, mentors such as the Obamas and bucket loads of hope and good humour. If the royals can evolve from chopping people’s heads off when life becomes challenging then it’s entirely possible Meghan and Harry can emerge from this stronger, smarter and forever aligned.