They’ve been married for 12 years now, but Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ love story is one of the most controversial in British history.
Long before Princess Diana was ever in the picture, Charles was left heartbroken when the woman he loved walked down the aisle towards another man.
He was so devastated, that a new book claims his wounded heart was the reason he did not attend the wedding, despite being very close friends with the couple.
His grandmother the Queen Mother, and sister Princess Anne, were both there to witness Camilla say ‘I do’, but Charles conveniently had another engagement come up.
“Charles did not attend Andrew and Camilla’s wedding… claiming he was duty-bound to attend Independence Day celebrations elsewhere,” Gill Knappett, author of Charles Prince of Wales, writes, “but he was godfather to their first child, Tom.”
The saga started 12 months earlier in the summer of 1972, when Camilla’s long-term boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles was overseas, and Charles and Camilla were left to fall in love.
The then 24-year-old prince is said to have shared a magical few months with Camilla, finally finding ‘the warmth he yearned for’ in the young socialite.
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Things were progressing swimmingly between the pair, and they spent many nights on the town together and at Camilla’s London apartment, until Charles was posted to the West Indies on naval duties.
It’s been reported that during their time together, Charles had some lingering concerns about whether he should propose; Was he too young to marry? Did she have a ‘virginal’ enough image for a princess? (It was expected at the time that a prince’s bride have at least the appearance of virginity.)
But while he was mulling it over on his posting, the decision was taken out of his hands as Camilla’s partner Andrew, returned to the UK and proposed.
“Charles and Camilla became the greatest of friends and on hearing the news of her engagement to Parker Bowles in March 1973, the Prince, on board the HMS Minerva in the West Indies, was bereft,” Gill Knappett writes.
Meanwhile according to another royal author, Camilla’s father and Andrew’s brother conspired to see them wed, and printed a false engagement announcement in the newspapers which forced Andrew to get down on one knee and Camilla to accept.
The pair went ahead and tied the knot in July 1973, a year after her summer with Charles, but as we all know, it wasn’t the end of her love story with the prince.
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