On This Date In History: Prince Charles Weds Camilla Parker Bowles

Charles & Camilla

Getty Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

April 9, 2018 marks the 13th wedding anniversary of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. While the couple has only been married for 13 years, their love affair has spanned several decades.

Camilla has always been, and continues to be a controversial figure. She was often criticized by the press for being Prince Charles’ alleged mistress while he was married to Princess Diana. The notion of Camilla being a homewrecker have ruthlessly followed her subsequent to Lady Di’s death in 1997.

Charles and Camilla have dealt with several embarrassing public moments over the course of their relationship. This includes private phone conversations between Charles and Camilla being leaked by the press. Reportedly, Diana had some of Charles and Camilla’s conversations taped to prove that the two were having an extramarital affair.

As a result, Camilla has never been fully accepted by the British people. The question of whether or not Camilla will be the next Queen of England remains somewhat unclear; and what remains further unknown is if Camilla will ever be embraced as Charles’ wife.

1. Prince Charles & Camilla Parker Bowles Wed On April 9, 2005

Charles & Camilla

GettyPrince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

On April 9, 2005, Camilla Parker Bowles and Charles, Prince of Wales took place at Windsor Guildhall in a civil ceremony. The ceremony was small and private; the guests were primarily members of the couple’s respective families. Following the ceremony, a Service of Prayer and Dedication was given at St. George’s Chapel. The prayer was televised by the BBC.

A reception was held at Windsor Castle hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Upon marrying Charles, Camilla assumed the royal title of Duchess of Cornwall. The couple’s engagement was publicly announced in February of 2005. Prior to the wedding, the marriage had to be approved by Queen Elizabeth II and the Privy Council per the conditions of the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Camilla’s engagement ring once belonged to the Queen Mother. It is described as Art Deco, with a 1920s platinum setting and a square-cut central diamond surrounded by six diamond baguettes.

The bride wore a chiffon gown, a floor-length blue and gold coat and golden feathers in her hair. The wedding cake was made by Sophisticake, a London specialty bakery. A few slices of the wedding cake were later sold on eBay with a hefty price tag of £215 apiece.

2. Both Charles & Camilla Were Previously Married

Charles and Camilla.

GettyCharles and Camilla.

Prince Charles was married to Lady Diana Spencer from 1981 until 1996, which is outlined in further detail below.

Camilla Parker Bowles (nee Shand) wed Andrew Parker Bowles, a lieutenant and Guards officer in the British army, in a Roman Catholic ceremony held in 1973. Andrew Parker Bowles briefly dated Princess Anne prior to marrying Camilla. At the time of their wedding, Camilla was 26 and Andrew 33. Several members of the royal family were in attendance including The Queen Mother, Princess Anne and Princess Margaret. Over 900 guests attended the reception, dubbed the “society wedding of the year” by the press.

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles had two children together. Their son, Tom, was born in 1974. Prince Charles is Tom’s godfather. Their daughter, Laura, was born in 1978.

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles divorced in 1995, ending a 21-year union.

3. Rumors Of a Love Affair Between Charles & Camilla Swirled For Years Prior To Their Marriage

Charles and Camilla

GettyQueen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend church services.

Prince Charles was romantically involved with Camilla prior to his marriage to Diana Spencer; it was rumored that the two continued an extramarital affair over the course of the marriage. In an interview given prior to her death in 1997, Diana stated that she at one point confronted Camilla about their affair; letting Camilla know that she was aware of what was going on and that she wanted it to stop.

4. Prince Charles Is The Heir Apparent To The British Throne

Charles and Camilla

GettyCharles and Camilla in Australia.

Queen Elizabeth II sits on the British throne. Prince Charles is next in line to inherit the throne as he is the direct successor and heir of Queen Elizabeth II, followed by Prince William. However, it has long been speculated that Prince Charles will be passed over in favor of Prince William, as Queen Elizabeth’s successor. People reports that “the longstanding speculation popped up again this month, with headlines claiming that Queen Elizabeth herself has decided to skip over Charles in the line of succession and name Prince William and Princess Kate the next King and Queen.”

However, it is doubtful that the rumors that William will be the next king, not Charles, are true. Per British law, the next successor to the throne must be a direct successor of the current monarch. Additionally, it is not Queen Elizabeth’s ultimate decision to make, and she does not have the political power to change the rules.

Camilla is certainly not the first controversial figure to marry a member of the royal family. Wallis Simpson, an American socialite, is arguably the most controversial figure to marry a royal in recent history. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Simpson. His marriage to Simpson, an American divorcee two times over, was not allowed by the guidelines that govern royal marriages, leading to a civil crisis. Edward stated that he could not go on without the support of the woman he loves and therefore gave up the throne to his younger brother, King George VI.

5. Camilla Remains a Controversial Figure in The UK

Charles and Camilla

GettyCharles and Camilla in Yorkshire.

Camilla and the press have had a bumpy relationship over the years. She was often criticized for being Prince Charles’ rumored mistress during his marriage to Princess Diana. Following the couple’s divorce and Diana’s subsequent death, Camilla was often blamed for breaking up the marriage and villainized by the press.

One particularly embarrassing moment is now known as Camillagate. In 1993, while Charles was still married to Diana, a sexually explicit and rather humiliating phone conversation with Camilla was leaked by the Daily Mirror. The Independent states that Princess Diana said “game, set and match” upon hearing of Charles and Camilla’s public humiliation.

Camilla has been referred to as the most hated woman in the UK. While a once-critical public appears to have warmed up to Camilla over the years, the majority of people surveyed in the UK do not think she is a good fit to be the next Queen of England. Some Britons continue to express a dislike for Camilla. Further private conversations reportedly recorded by Princess Diana were leaked in 2017. The taped conversations seem to have reignited a general dislike for Camilla among Britons. Camilla is still haunted by accusations that her behavior ultimately led to Lady Di’s death in 1997. It remains to be seen what will happen when it is time for the heir apparent to take the throne, and if the British public will ever embrace Camilla Parker Bowles.