Camilla Parker Bowles is celebrating her 74th birthday today with Prince Charles no doubt by her side.
The couple have had a tumultuous relationship, from when they first met more than 50 years ago, to their infamous affair, to celebrating their 15th anniversary just one year ago.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall start dating in 1970 , when they first met during a polo match at Windsor Great Park and discovered their common passion for the sport and the outdoors.
Camilla had, ironically, joked at the time about her great-grandmother having an affair with King Edward VII, saying: “My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common.”
The two dated for a while before Charles departed to serve in the Royal Navy for eight months.
By the time he got back, Camilla had got engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles who had previously dated Charles’ sister Anne – they got married in 1973 .
At this point Camilla had two children with Andrew, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles, while she stayed friends with the future king and so much so that Charles was made Tom’s godfather.
Charles, now aged 31, meets Lady Diana Spencer, who was only 18 at the time in 1980 but would go on to the capture the hearts of people worldwide as the People’s Princess.
The two get engaged in February 1981 and a televised interview a few weeks later is famously remembered for a bitter comment made by Charles when the couple were asked if they were in love.
A timid Diana responds “of course”, before Charles quips: “Whatever love means.”
The two marry on July 6 in St Paul’s Cathedral and with Camilla reportedly attending the fairytale wedding which is estimated to have been watched by 750 million people globally.
The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana then welcome the arrival of Prince William, born in 1982 , and soon after that of Prince Harry, born in 1984 .
But it’s not long before tensions between the two heighten as, according to a biography authorised by Charles, he started having an affair with Camilla in 1986 .
By 1989 Diana seems to have had enough of being kept in the dark so decides to take matters into her own hands and confront Camilla.
“I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that”, Diana reportedly said.
Camilla snapped back saying: “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?”
To which Diana replied: “I want my husband,” before adding, “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.”
In 1992 Diana shocks the world with revelations about her marriage made in Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story and the jealousy felt over Charles’ affair with Camilla.
Questions started to arise about whether Charles would be able to divorce and still be future king as the Church of England at the time would not consent it.
Prime Minister John Major then announced in December that Prince Charles and Diana had officially split.
In 1994 , Charles admits he had cheated on Diana as when asked whether he had been faithful to his wife while taking part in a year and a half documentary into his life, he said: “Yes, yes…Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”
That while he describes his future wife Camilla as a “friend for a very long time”.
In January 1995 , Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles announce that they will divorce.
November 1995 is when the now-infamous BBC Panorama interview saw Diana respond to Martin Bashir asking her if Camilla had contributed to the reason for her divorce saying: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
In 1997 , Charles hosts Camilla’s 50th birthday party at his country home, Highgrove.
Just over a month later and with Diana being only 36, the Princess of Wales brings the world to a halt as the tragic news of her death in a car crash in Paris stuns the world.
Charles, along with Diana’s sisters, flies to Paris to bring Diana’s body back to England.
He and his sons William and Harry, along with Diana’s brother Sir Earl Spencer, walk in the funeral procession as mourners came in from every corner of the world to leave flowers and tributes for the People’s Princess outside her home at Kensington Palace.
Charles at that point and rightly so, puts on hold his intentions to announce to the world that he was back in a proper relationship with Camilla.
But by 1998 Charles confirms tabloid reports of his son William having met Camilla as he gradually worked to make his relationship official.
The Queen, however, doesn’t agree with him being in a relationship with a woman he had cheated on his wife with, so refused to attend a 50th birthday party for her son as she knew Camilla would be among the guests.
By 1999 , the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are photographed together for the first time as they leave a party at the Ritz for Camilla’s sister together.
Later that year, Princes William and Harry spend a holiday in Greece with their dad and his new partner.
In 2000 the Queen seems to relent as she attends a party for the 60th birthday of the King of Greece at Highgrove, knowing her Camilla would be there too.
Camilla moves into Clarence House in 2003 , which to this day remains the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
February 2005 is when the two finally announce their engagement and by April 8 they marry in a civil ceremony with Prince William as the best man but with one notable guest missing – the Queen.
Her Majesty does, however, attend the reception that came after the ceremony.
Camilla gains the title of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall so Diana can stay the only Princess of Wales.
Speculation inevitably starts over what title the Duchess of Cornwall will get once her husband ascends to the throne.
Because she is seen as one of the underlying reasons for the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, she would be expected to become Princess Consort.
But when asked in 2010 if she would become Queen of England, Charles sparked uproar when he replied: “That could be.”
The palace later insisted Princess Consort was the title intended for Camilla.
Six years later in 2016 , Camilla, along with the Prince William, is named to the Privy Council, a group of the Queen’s most senior advisers.
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Close to her 70th birthday in 2017 , Camilla opens up in an interview to the Daily Mail about the “horrid” press attention that came with her affair with Prince Charles.
She said: “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.”
She is asked if she is capable of moving on, to which she replies: “Most definitely, yes.”
One of the biggest moments in their relationship lately has been Prince Charles contracting coronavirus in 2020 , from which he recovered without major issues but which saw the couple having to quarantine separately.
To celebrate their 15th anniversary the same year, they shared a picture of them beaming as they sit on a bench at Birkhall with their dogs Bluebell and Beth.