On February 10, 2005, Prince Charles announced an engagement to his longtime sweetheart, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Their relationship began in the early 1970s, but Camilla did not fit the royal family led by Elizabeth II as the wife of the heir to the throne.
Since then, they have separated and reunited several times and experienced unhappy marriages, adultery, ridicule and hatred of British society. But almost half a century later, it was Elizabeth who put the final point in the recognition of Charles and Camilla’s relationship. She announced that Camilla would officially receive royal status as soon as Charles ascended the throne.
Before then, 23-year-old Camilla was experiencing yet another betrayal of her lover, an officer of the Royal Horse Guards, Andrew Parker-Bowles. They were rumored to have been introduced by the prince’s ex-girlfriend, the daughter of the retired Chilean ambassador, Lucia Santa Cruz, who decided that Charles and Camilla wouldn’t mind a little fling.
Camilla actually did see the relationship with Charles as a way to annoy Andrew at first, it wasn’t the first time for her. Parker-Bowles also did not care and started an affair with Charles’s younger sister, Princess Anne. But the prince really fell in love. He showered Camilla with love letters and pestered her with long nightly phone calls.
Camilla was not like the girls from Charles’s circle. Instead of dresses and shoes, she preferred riding breeches and soldier’s boots, used almost no makeup, and never reached into her pocket for a word. She and Charles also shared common hobbies — horses, dogs, and hunting.
They even liked the same comedy radio shows. After all, in half a year, their affair turned into a whirlwind romance. In November 1972, Charles was already thinking about asking Camilla to marry him. But he could not dare, realizing that the royal family would not approve of this union.
Today, some historians and biographers say that the royal family could have avoided all further scandals if they had immediately allowed the heir to the throne to marry Camilla.