King Charles and Queen Camilla's Relationship Timeline

·16 min read
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the reopening of Hillsborough Castle on April 09, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the reopening of Hillsborough Castle on April 09, 2019 in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty

King Charles and Queen Camilla had a roller coaster of a relationship for years — including during their previous marriages.

The couple, known as Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall until Queen Elizabeth's death on Sept. 8, 2022, hit it off as soon as they met in 1970, but their relationship didn't last at the time. They moved on and got married to others: Charles famously wed Princess Diana, while Camilla tied the knot with Andrew Parker Bowles.

The pair eventually reunited romantically. Amid a flurry of royal scandal, including leaked audio recordings of some of their pillow talk, Charles and Camilla each divorced their spouses and laid low. A year after Princess Diana's tragic passing in 1997, Charles and Camilla appeared publicly as a couple.

Prince Charles and Camilla wed in April 2005, and Camilla received the title of Duchess of Cornwall following their union. After Queen Elizabeth died, Charles became King Charles III and bestowed the title of Queen Consort upon his wife.

"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," King Charles said in his first address to the nation as monarch.

Though their relationship certainly had a rocky start, their love has been seemingly smooth ever since. Here's everything to know about King Charles and Queen Camilla's relationship.

1970: Prince Charles and Camilla meet

Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles In 1979
Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles In 1979

TIM GRAHAM/Getty

Prince Charles met Camilla in 1970 when they were introduced by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz. In The Duchess: The Untold Story, author Penny Junor wrote that Charles was immediately smitten.

"He loved the fact that she smiled with her eyes as well as her mouth, and laughed at the same silly things as he did," Junor wrote. "He also liked that she was so natural and easy and friendly, not in any way overawed by him, not fawning or sycophantic. In short, he was very taken with her, and after that first meeting he began ringing her up."

1971: Prince Charles and Camilla split

In 1971, Prince Charles joined the Royal Navy, and the grueling schedule and time away from home put his relationship with Camilla in turmoil. Further complicating their romance was that Camilla didn't meet royal prerequisites for marrying the heir to the throne: Reports claimed she wasn't a virgin and she didn't have an aristocratic bloodline. Charles and Camilla split, believing they didn't have a feasible future together.

1973: Camilla marries Andrew Parker Bowles

While Prince Charles was in the Caribbean serving in the Royal Navy, Camilla got engaged to Parker Bowles — incidentally, a former boyfriend of Prince Charles' younger sister Princess Anne. They married in 1973, devastating Charles, who reportedly tried to stop Camilla from marrying Parker Bowles.

"It seemed to him particularly cruel, he wrote in one letter, that after 'such a blissful, peaceful and mutually happy relationship,' fate had decreed that it should last a mere six months," Junor wrote.

Despite his broken heart, Prince Charles and Camilla remained good friends for several years after their breakup and during her marriage to Parker Bowles.

1978 or 1979: Prince Charles and Camilla begin an affair

According to Junor, Prince Charles and Camilla reignited their physical relationship around 1978 or 1979 — and Camilla's husband was said to be fully aware of what was happening.

"Andrew was in no position to complain; and when he discovered what was going on, he wisely didn't make a fuss," Junor wrote in The Duchess: The Untold Story. "Some would say that a part of him actually quite enjoyed the fact that his wife was sleeping with the future King; he might have felt differently had Charles been a traveling salesman."

1980: Prince Charles begins dating Princess Diana

Despite his relationship with Camilla, Prince Charles began courting Lady Diana Spencer in 1980. Born into an aristocratic family, Diana was more suited to wed the heir to the throne, according to royal family traditions and beliefs.

Though Prince Charles was dating Diana, he and Camilla were still quite close. Camilla and Diana were both spotted attending one of Charles' races in 1980.

July 29, 1981: Prince Charles and Princess Diana marry in the "wedding of the century"

After proposing to Diana in February 1981, Prince Charles and Princess Diana wed on July 29, 1981. Dubbed "the wedding of the century," 750 million people tuned in to watch Charles and Diana tie the knot. Camilla was a guest at the nuptials with her son Tom Parker Bowles.

1986: Prince Charles and Camilla begin another affair

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles leave the Royal Festival Hall after the performance Of Rachmaninoff's Hidden Perspectives on May 6th, 1999 in London
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles leave the Royal Festival Hall after the performance Of Rachmaninoff's Hidden Perspectives on May 6th, 1999 in London

Dave M. Benett/Getty

Prince Charles and Camilla reportedly began seeing one another again in 1986, despite both of them being married with children. In recordings she made for author Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story, Princess Diana recalled calling Camilla out for her affair with Charles.

"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 recalled. "She said to me, 'You've got everything you ever wanted. All the men in the world fall in love with you and you've got two beautiful children, what more would you want?' … So I said, 'I want my husband.' "

Diana added, " '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 9, 1992: Prince Charles and Princess Diana announce their separation

Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation on Dec. 9, 1992. At the time, Buckingham Palace said that there were no imminent plans to divorce and that the estranged couple would still occasionally attend royal events together.

January 17, 1993: Audio recordings of Prince Charles and Camilla's private calls are leaked

On Jan. 17, 1993, audio recordings of Prince Charles and Camilla were leaked and the transcripts were published in British tabloids. Recorded in December 1989 — while Charles was married to Diana and Camilla was married to Parker Bowles — the audio included both raunchy innuendoes and outright declarations of love.

June 1994: Prince Charles admits to cheating on Princess Diana

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles leave a reception at the headquarters of Charles' new Charity the Prince's Foundation in Hoxton, East London on June 20, 2000
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles leave a reception at the headquarters of Charles' new Charity the Prince's Foundation in Hoxton, East London on June 20, 2000

Gareth Davies/Getty

In an interview with ITV, Prince Charles was asked if he tried to be "faithful and honorable" to Princess Diana when they married. As his affair with Camilla had already been exposed to the public, Prince Charles replied, "Yes … until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried."

He also said of Camilla, "Mrs. Parker Bowles is a great friend of mine … a friend for a very long time. She will continue to be a friend for a very long time."

January 11, 1995: Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles divorce

On Jan. 11, 1995, Camilla and Parker Bowles announced their plans to divorce. The pair said in a statement that they lived apart for two years before deciding to split permanently, adding, "There is little of common interest between us."

Speculation of a divorce between Charles and Diana went into full force following Camilla and Parker Bowles' announcement, but the palace denied any plans for the Prince and Princess of Wales to end their marriage. Camilla and Parker Bowles' divorce was finalized in March 1995.

October 18, 1995: Camilla and Prince Charles both attend a party for a mutual friend

Though they arrived separately, Camilla and Prince Charles attended a party for mutual friend Lady Sarah Keswick in October 1995, reportedly dancing together for two hours at the event. Up to that point, Camilla and Charles had taken pains not to appear at the same events, especially since Prince Charles was still legally married to (albeit estranged from) Princess Diana at the time.

A month prior, Camilla had been spotted joining Charles at the royal family's country estate, Balmoral. During the same period, she was also frequently spotted at Prince Charles' country house, Highgrove.

A veteran royal journalist told PEOPLE that the semi-joint outing at Lady Keswick's celebration "was hugely significant. It opened up the gates a little further — making the point that he and Camilla are a couple and will be seen at things together."

November 20, 1995: Princess Diana talks about Prince Charles and Camilla's affair on Panorama

Princess Diana spoke publicly about Prince Charles and Camilla's affair in an interview with BBC's Panorama in November 1995.

Acknowledging her own extramarital relationship with James Hewitt, Princess Diana said that she "desperately wanted" her marriage to Prince Charles to work. She said it was her "woman's instinct" that initially made her suspicious. Diana also added that Charles' infidelity was "pretty devastating" and made her feel "useless and hopeless and failed."

Her most famous quote about the affair remains indelible today: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

It was later found that journalist Martin Bashir used deception to get Princess Diana to agree to the interview, and the BBC has vowed "never" to broadcast the interview again.

February 28, 1996: Princess Diana and Prince Charles agree to divorce

In February 1996, Princess Diana announced she agreed to Prince Charles' request for a divorce. Negotiations continued for several months, and they reached a settlement agreement in July 1996. On Aug. 28, 1996, their divorce was finalized. One year later, Princess Diana died in a car crash.

June 12, 1998: Prince William meets Camilla for the first time

Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles Walking Together In Green Park On Their Way To Host Prince Charles' Staff Christmas Lunch At The Ritz Hotel.behind At Right Is Prince Charles' Bodyguard Tony Parker
Prince Charles And Camilla Parker-bowles Walking Together In Green Park On Their Way To Host Prince Charles' Staff Christmas Lunch At The Ritz Hotel.behind At Right Is Prince Charles' Bodyguard Tony Parker

Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty

According to The Guardian, Charles' eldest son Prince William first met Camilla by surprise on June 12, 1998. The then-teenage William stopped by the palace "unexpectedly" and spent about half an hour with his father and Camilla. Over the next month, William and Camilla met twice for lunch and tea. Camilla was expected to meet Prince Harry shortly thereafter.

Summer 1998: Queen Elizabeth confronts Prince Charles about Camilla

According to biographer Tom Bower's book Rebel Prince, only a few months after Diana's untimely death did Prince Charles speak to his mother, Queen Elizabeth, about welcoming Camilla into the royal family. The Queen was allegedly unhappy about her son's relationship with his former mistress.

Bower wrote that the Queen had "several martinis and to Charles' surprise she replied forcefully: She would not condone his adultery, nor forgive Camilla for not leaving Charles alone to allow his marriage to recover." Bower also claimed that the Queen referred to Camilla as "that wicked woman," leaving Charles to call Camilla in tears.

January 1999: Prince Charles and Camilla make their first public appearance together

Prince Charles and Camilla first stepped out as a couple at a birthday party for Camilla's sister Annabel Elliot at London's Ritz Hotel in January 1999. Though Prince Charles arrived after Camilla, around 150 photographers were present to capture the pair leaving together.

2000: Queen Elizabeth acknowledges Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla

The Prince Of Wales And Camilla Parker Bowles Attend The Mey Highland Games In Scotland
The Prince Of Wales And Camilla Parker Bowles Attend The Mey Highland Games In Scotland

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press

The Queen attended a lunch with Charles and Camilla in 2000. While this was a seemingly small gesture, her attendance reportedly signified her tacit approval of the couple.

2002: Camilla attends public events with Prince Charles and holds her first solo engagement

Camilla attended several public engagements with Charles in 2002, including the Queen Mother's funeral that April. In May, she held her first solo speaking engagement for the National Osteoporosis Society. The same month, The Guardian reported that Prince Charles paid for Camilla's private security, though the palace wouldn't confirm or deny the expense. A spokesperson for Charles said, "Whatever the prince is providing is a private matter."

August 2003: Prince Charles and Camilla move into Clarence House

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage

In 2003, Prince Charles and Camilla took their relationship to the next level when they moved into Clarence House together. The palace established an office for Camilla in Clarence House shortly thereafter. The next year, Camilla was included in Charles' "annual review," which documents the public funds he spends each year.

February 10, 2005: Prince Charles and Camilla announce their engagement

Prince Charles and Camilla announced their engagement on Feb. 10, 2005. The couple revealed that they would marry on April 9, 2005, and Charles said, "Mrs. Parker Bowles and I are absolutely delighted. It will be a very special day for us and our families."

William and Harry released a joint statement of their own, saying, "We are both very happy for our father and Camilla, and we wish them all the luck in the future."

When asked if Prince Charles got down on one knee to propose, Camilla said, "Of course. I'm just coming down to Earth."

April 9, 2005: Prince Charles marries Camilla

Prince Charles, and The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles in silk dress by Robinson Valentine and head-dress by Philip Treacy, leaves the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England
Prince Charles, and The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles in silk dress by Robinson Valentine and head-dress by Philip Treacy, leaves the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England

Tim Graham Photo Library April 9, 2005: Charles and Camilla on their wedding day

Prince Charles married Camilla, who received the title Duchess of Cornwall, on April 9, 2005. Unlike other royal weddings that feature grand processions at a chapel, Charles and Camilla's nuptials were relatively low-key, with a civil ceremony held at Windsor Guildhall, just outside of Windsor Castle. Though Prince Philip and the Queen didn't attend the civil ceremony, they later joined the couple for a blessing at St. George's Chapel and hosted a reception afterward.

The couple wasted no time getting back to work — Camilla joined Prince Charles at numerous royal engagements within days of their wedding.

May 2017: Camilla says she felt like a "prisoner" during her affair with Prince Charles

Camilla opened up about how difficult it was to cope with the public scrutiny and vitriol she faced during her affair with Prince Charles.

"I couldn't really go anywhere. But the children came and went as normal — they just got on with it — and so did great friends," 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."

Camilla also said that her friends and family help keep her grounded.

"You also have to laugh at yourself because if you can't, you may as well give up. I sometimes think to myself, 'Who is this woman? It can't possibly be me.' And that's really how you survive," she said. "Also, having so many friends who, if I ever even vaguely look like getting uppity, which touch wood I never have, they would just say, 'Look, come on, pull yourself together! Don't be so bloody grand!' "

October 30, 2017: Prince Charles and Camilla share a rare public kiss

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's 2017 Christmas card which was taken by Hugo Burnand showing the royal couple in the Orchard Room during the private 70th birthday party of The Duchess of Cornwall at Highgrove Saturday 15th July 2017
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's 2017 Christmas card which was taken by Hugo Burnand showing the royal couple in the Orchard Room during the private 70th birthday party of The Duchess of Cornwall at Highgrove Saturday 15th July 2017

Hugo Burnand

Though they've been together for decades, Prince Charles and Camilla rarely engage in PDA. In 2017, the couple were photographed kissing for the third time ever: They traveled to Southeast Asia, where they arrived separately in Singapore and shared a kiss upon reuniting.

July 5, 2018: Prince Charles reveals Camilla's guilty pleasure

During a visit to Crickhowell, Wales, Prince Charles turned down an opportunity to taste some chocolate from a local business, telling the crowd, "It's my darling wife who likes chocolate!" Charles instead opted to sample some organic cannellini beans.

April 9, 2020: Prince Charles and Camilla celebrate their 15th anniversary and recreate their engagement photo

To mark their 15th wedding anniversary, Charles and Camilla subtly recreated their engagement announcement photo. The couple posed for a picture together in front of their Birkhall Home in Scotland with Camilla's Jack Russell terriers. The porch was the same location they used for their engagement announcement photos in February 2005.

February 5, 2022: Queen Elizabeth acknowledges Camilla as the future Queen Consort

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pose at The Sandringham Flower Show 2022 at Sandringham on July 27, 2022 in King's Lynn, England
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pose at The Sandringham Flower Show 2022 at Sandringham on July 27, 2022 in King's Lynn, England

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

When Camilla and Charles first got engaged, it was announced her title would be Princess Consort when Charles eventually ascended to the throne. In February 2022, the Queen said in a statement — on the eve of her Accession Day — that Camilla's title will be Queen Consort when Charles becomes King.

The Queen said, "I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father's reign. 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."

The announcement came a little over a month after the Queen appointed Camilla to the Order of the Garter, the most senior order of knighthood in the British honors system. Knights of the Garter are personally chosen by the monarch to honor those who have held public office, contributed to national life or personally served the monarch.

June 18, 2022: Camilla opens up about public scrutiny of her relationship with Prince Charles

In an interview with British Vogue, Camilla revealed that the media and public attention on her relationship with Prince Charles in the '90s were exceptionally difficult for her.

"It's not easy," she said. "I was scrutinized for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it. Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticized … But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it. You've got to get on with life."

She also described her current relationship with the heir apparent.

"It's not easy sometimes, but we do always try to have a point in the day when we meet," she said. "Sometimes it's like ships passing in the night, but we always sit down together and have a cup of tea and discuss the day … You know when we go away, the nicest thing is that we actually sit and read our books in different corners of the same room. It's very relaxing because you know you don't have to make conversation. You just sit and be together."

September 8, 2022: Prince Charles and Camilla receive new titles after the death of Queen Elizabeth

After Queen Elizabeth died on Sept. 8, 2022, Prince Charles immediately became King Charles III.

"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," Prime Minister Liz Truss said.

Camilla also received a new title, and will now be referred to as Queen Consort, an honor Queen Elizabeth first expressed her wishes for in February.

September 9, 2022: King Charles names Camilla as Queen Consort

In his first address as monarch, King Charles officially referred to Camilla as Queen Consort for the first time.

"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," King Charles said in his speech.

A few days later, the couple took their place on thrones for the first time since the Queen's death as they met with 900 members of the legislative body and members of the House of Lords.