King Charles III and his wife Camilla, Queen Consort's path to marriage may have not been easy, but they do say the course of true love never did run smooth. Regardless of the royal couple's feelings for each other, it took years for the public to accept Camilla as Charles' new girlfriend and then wife in 2005, following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
However, over the decades, fans have warmed to the Queen Consort and credit her for supporting our new King and becoming his rock. And now, Camilla is just as popular a figure when out and about on royal duties as the rest of the royal family.
As King Charles ascends the British throne alongside his beloved wife Camilla, HELLO! takes a look at their enduring love story.
When did Charles and Camilla first meet?
A chance meeting at a polo match in 1970 marked the beginning of Camilla Shand's relationship with Prince Charles. The two – both then aged 23 – began dating, but their romance cooled when the King-to-be was called away on naval duties overseas.
Charles didn't ask his girlfriend to wait for him to return from his time in service, and she went on to marry – and have two children – with another long-standing admirer, Andrew Parker Bowles.
The two remained friends, however. Charles was made godfather to Camilla's son Tom, born in 1975, and continued to see his former girlfriend and her new husband on the social scene and at their old meeting ground – the polo circuit.
As Camilla got settled into family life, Charles found love again with Lady Diana Spencer, whom he went on to marry in July 1981.
However, eventually both of their marriages fell into difficulty. Camilla divorced in 1995, and Charles got divorced from Diana the year after. There was controversy when Charles admitted he had committed adultery with Camilla while still married to Diana, but she chose to remain silent on the subject.
When did Charles and Camilla get engaged?
After the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997, the two kept their blossoming relationship low-key. However, they made their first public appearance together in 1999, at a party at the Ritz Hotel in London.
'Operation Ritz' – as it was dubbed at the time – was orchestrated by the royal's spin doctor, Mark Bolland. Mark was tasked with presenting Charles and Camilla to the world and persuading the public to accept them as a couple. From then on, Camilla made more and more high-profile appearances alongside Charles.
In 2002, it became evident that the royal couple were ready to move further into the spotlight when the first picture emerged of them holding hands. In April 2002, Camilla attended the Queen Mother's funeral alongside her now public partner, Charles.
Then in August 2003, the couple were announced to be moving into Clarence House together. Three years later came the news many royal watchers had been waiting for: Charles and Camilla were engaged to be married.
On 10 February 2005, Charles and his future wife revealed the news and Camilla walked out in front of reporters at a London event that evening with a unique art deco style ring worn on her left hand. The family heirloom was reportedly given to the Queen Mother in 1926 on the occasion of the birth of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth.
When did Charles and Camilla get married?
Charles and Camilla tied the knot on 9 April 2005 in a civil ceremony which was held at Windsor Guildhall. The couple's immense joy was evident as they posed for their official wedding photos.
The bride was elegant in a Philip Treacy hat and full-length porcelain blue silk Robinson Valentine dress with a hand-painted ikat design, hand-embroidered with gold threadwork. During the wedding toast, guests reported that Charles shouted "I love Camilla" as he raised his glass.
Following their wedding, the Queen Consort has been credited with bringing a joie de vivre to the couple's shared life. And never is that so evident than during their public engagements, when a shared laugh never seems to be far away.
What is Camilla's relationship with Prince William and Prince Harry?
During her time with Charles, Camilla has become an integral and much-loved part of the lives of his sons Princes William and Harry. She was there in 2008 to watch proudly as William was invested with the order of the garter.
"We are very grateful for her. She's made our father very happy," Prince Harry has also said of his stepmother. However, in 2023 during an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, Harry also admitted that back in 2005 he and William had asked for their father not to get married as they felt it was "unnecessary".
How long have Charles and Camilla been married?
In April 2020, Charles and Camilla celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary through Clarence House releasing a sweet portrait of the couple with their dogs, Beth and Bluebell, outside their Scottish home, Birkhall.
Since their marriage, Camilla has taken on an increasingly prominent public role and is a constant presence on royal tours and trips abroad, such as their visit to romantic Venice in 2009. In Camilla, Charles has found his soulmate and equal. A witty and intelligent woman, she shares his love of outdoor life and never fails to bring a smile to his face.
See: King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla's most tender moments caught on camera
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