Season three of The Crown will delve into the relationship drama between Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles (maiden name Shand), and Andrew Parker Bowles. The conclusion of these relationships are already well-known—a turbulent affair between Charles and Camilla; a divorce for Camilla and Andrew as well as for Charles and Princess Diana; and an eventual marriage for Camilla and Charles.
But what The Crown audiences may know less about is Camilla’s relationship with her first husband, and how Camilla’s early, 18-month connection with Charles wasn’t enough to stop her from marrying Andrew instead of Charles. So what really happened?
Camilla was in love with Andrew.
According to royal biographer Penny Junor: “[Camilla] was passionately in love with [Andrew] but he was a cad, he was bonking other people, some of her friends…So when she was introduced to Charles and he thought she was pretty special…he thought she was a bit of alright and she thought ‘Andrew is at the moment off with Princess Anne, you know her brother, teach Andrew a lesson.’ So she had a fling with Charles.”
It’s pretty clear at this point that Charles was in love with Camilla; Camilla’s feelings at the time are less clear. Later, when Charles was stationed abroad in the Caribbean and Andrew had broken up with Anne, Camilla went on to marry Andrew. Charles wrote of his sadness to his uncle, Lord Montbatten, that “such a blissful, peaceful and mutually happy relationship” had ended. The Queen Mother and Princess Anne both attended Camilla and Andrew’s wedding.
Andrew and Camilla went on to have two children, Tom and Laura; Camilla and Charles remained friends during this period.
Neither Camilla nor Andrew were faithful.
Andrew had never been faithful in the relationship, apparently, and that trend continued after the pair got married. In fact, while the two were married, he began a long-term relationship with his second wife, Rosemary Pitman, who he married after he and Camilla officially split up.
Camilla and Charles’ relationships while both parties were still married to other people is, by now, common knowledge. But apparently, even though Andrew reportedly had no issues with the relationship, the fact that Charles’ letters to Camilla were made public and Charles admitted to the affair on national television caused Andrew public embarrassment. Subsequently, he finally requested an official divorce, which went through in 1995. That said, the two are still amicable, even post-split. Camilla even came to Pitman’s funeral after she passed away from cancer.When Camilla and Charles finally did marry in 2005, the Queen offered the following as a wedding toast: “They have come through and I’m very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves.”