Details About Charles And Camilla's Long, Complicated Relationship

Ashley Hunte
Westminster Abbey, where the royal family holds weddings and coronations.
Unsplash | Manuel Weber

Prince Charles saw a title change earlier this month, with the loss of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Now, King Charles is the head of the British monarchy, alongside wife Camilla, Queen Consort.

And it's no secret that their relationship has been anything but simple over the past several decades. Let's take a look at some facts that show just how complicated it's been.

Charles and Camilla first met in the 1970s.

The two, who are close in age, had a very strong relationship after they first met. But for a number of reasons, the royal family deemed Camilla "unsuitable" for marriage, which ended up keeping them apart for years.

In fact, many of those factors were pretty... strange.

Or at least, they'd be strange for those of us who aren't royalty. But Camilla was not from a noble bloodline, and she was allegedly not "pure" enough to marry into the royal family.

For Charles, however, it was pretty much love at first sight.

While Camilla had her on-again, off-again boyfriend (and later first husband), Andrew Parker Bowles, Charles was very enamored with the woman who would (decades later) become his (second) wife.

Camilla got engaged to Parker Bowles while Charles was in the Royal Navy.

The two got married in 1973, much to Charles's dismay. Though their relationship wouldn't last, it was still a blow to the would-be king.

So much so, that Charles had allegedly begged Camilla to call the wedding off.

Camilla Parker-Bowles in a blue and white hat
Wikimedia Commons | Dan Marsh

Charles wrote to Camilla, asking her not to marry Andrew. But she had already made up her mind, and went through with the wedding anyway.

When the day came, Charles couldn't bring himself to attend the wedding.

Of course, since he begged Camilla not to go through with the wedding, it makes sense that he couldn't bring himself to actually go to the ceremony.

And yet, it didn't stop the two from having an affair.

They had remained friends after Camilla's wedding, but began having an affair after the birth of her second child, Laura. It continued until Charles became engaged to Diana.

But they were still close, and Charles even turned to Camilla after his great-uncle had been assassinated.

Charles wearing traditional garb alongside Camilla while visiting New Zealand
Wikimedia Commons | Office of the Governor General

Charles's great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was assassinated by the IRA in 1979. Camilla, of all people, was the one Charles turned to for support.

Camilla helped convince Charles to propose to Diana.

Charles and Camilla visiting the White House
Wikimedia Commons | The White House / Andrea Hanks

After Camilla married, Charles had a hard time finding a future wife. So when he was dating Diana, all eyes were on him to propose and marry the much younger woman, who was only 19 at the time.

Of course, he was pretty uncertain as to whether or not he wanted to.

Young Prince Charles seated, with a hand to his face
Wikimedia Commons | Allan Warren

But Camilla was one of the people who helped convince the future king to pop the question to Diana. Apparently, Camilla didn't think of Diana as much of a threat.

While Charles was not in attendance for Camilla's first wedding, she was there for his.

Prince Charles adjusting his collar with Princess Diana in the background
Wikimedia Commons | Patrick McKleinschuss

In 1991, Diana recalled knowing that Camilla would be at the wedding. “I knew [Camilla] was there, of course. I looked for her," she said.

"So walking down the aisle, I spotted Camilla, pale gray, veiled pillbox hat, saw it all, her son Tom standing on a chair."

Prince Charles and Princess Diana riding in a carriage
Wikimedia Commons | Elke Wetzig

"To this day you know — vivid memory."

Diana admitted that she felt like a "lamb to the slaughter" due to Camilla's presence, which really speaks volumes to their relationship with each other, and with Charles.

Charles and Camilla had estates that were close to one another.

Camilla and Andrew had purchased Bolehyde in 1973, shortly after getting married. In 1980, Charles bought Highgrove, an estate that's only 15 miles away from Bolehyde. Considering they were having an affair at the time, the location was definitely convenient.

According to a documentary, the Queen Mother knew about Charles and Camilla's affair.

In the documentary, The Royal House of Windsor, it was revealed that not only did the Queen Mother know about the affair, but she supported it, so long as they were "discreet."

She also let the pair meet up at one of her properties.

Camilla sitting next to Queen Elizabeth and opposite Charles in a royal carriage
Wikimedia Commons | Ben

She only wanted to make sure they avoided scandal.

On that end, she also called Diana a silly girl for thinking her then-husband was having an affair (even though he was).

Their affair was exposed in 1993, with what has been dubbed "Camillagate."

Charles in a grey suit with a slight smile
Wikimedia Commons | Dan Marsh

January 17th, 1993 was the day that transcripts from a 1989 phone call between Charles and Camilla was leaked to the public. It's one of the most scandalous things to happen to the royal family.

Camilla's engagement ring from Charles once belonged to his grandmother.

After decades of turmoil, scandal, and public scrutiny, Charles and Camilla finally tied the knot in 2005. The ring Charles proposed to Camilla with once belonged to the Queen Mother, and was given to him by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen initially disliked Camilla.

Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Donald and Melania Trump, examining artworks
Wikimedia Commons | The White House / Shealah Craighead

The royal family didn't like Camilla as a wife for Charles (as I've mentioned earlier). They didn't approve of her relationship history, and at one point, the Queen reportedly referred to Camilla as "that wicked woman."

But they eventually became a lot closer.

It took years, but Queen Elizabeth eventually came around to Camilla. Though she didn't attend their wedding, she was present for their reception, and even delivered a speech, congratulating her son and his second wife.

"They have overcome Becher's Brook and The Chair and all kinds of other obstacles," she said.

"They have come through and I'm very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves. Welcome to the winner's enclosure."

Charles and Camilla call one another Fred and Gladys.

The pair had bonded over a radio show called The Goon Show, which featured characters named Fred and Gladys. Charles would also call Camilla his "Girl Friday," and once bought her a bracelet that had GF engraved on it (which could be Girl Friday or Gladys Fred).

After the Queen's death, Charles and Camilla stayed in separate homes.

Charles sitting on the throne of Britian
Wikimedia Commons | ukhouseoflords

King Charles went to Highgrove for a day of private reflection, while Camilla stayed at Ray Mill House. Apparently, they do this a lot.

"The two of them have undertaken an incredibly grueling schedule which would impact anyone, let alone people who are in their 70s. So it is no wonder that when they had 24 hours off, they would both go to the places where they can kick off their shoes and relax," Royal commentator Joshua Rom said.