Camilla Parker-Bowles and her husband Prince Charles are certainly the subjects of some wild tabloid gossip lately, particularly of scandal, violence and expensive divorce. The tabloids would have you believe that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is nothing but a money-grubbing, power-hungry social climber who is impatient for her husband to ascend to the throne. Reports of scandal are primarily coming from tabloid sheets Globe and Celebrity Dirty Laundry, which prompts the question – are any of these accusations founded in reality?
Prince Charles met a young Camilla Shand when they were both 23, in 1970. The two began talking at a polo match and went on to begin a relationship that would end when the heir to the British throne was called away to perform his duties in the Royal Navy. While the Prince was away and uncommitted to her, Camilla married Andrew Parker-Bowles and had two children with him. Despite their lives having gone in two separate directions, Camilla and Charles remained friendly, as did Charles and Andrew. Prince Charles is in fact godfather to Camilla and Andrew’s son, Tom, born in 1975.
Of course in 1981, Prince Charles married the Lady Diana Spencer, who would become the mother of his two children, the Princes Harry and William. Prince Charles’ marriage, as well as the marriage of Camilla and Andrew, was not granted much longevity, as in 1996 the couple divorced. This was only one year after the divorce of Camilla and Andrew. Facing a great deal of public pressure to explain the events leading to the royal divorce, Prince Charles admitted that he had been romantically involved with his ex-lover Camilla while he still remained married to Princess Diana.
Celebrity Dirty Laundry would have you believe that Camilla is currently blackmailing the royal family in order to prevent a costly and very public divorce. It has been purported – based on no supporting evidence whatsoever – that the Duchess of Cornwall is threatening to release personal information about the royal family if she is not allowed to continue on as the Duke’s wife. Why, it must be asked, would she not have done such a thing nearly 30 years ago? Surely if the woman is as ethically-vacuous as the tabloids say she is, she would have used her chance to blackmail Charles into marriage in the 1970s.
Instead of profiting from tell-all interviews and book deals, however, Camilla Parker-Bowles kept entirely silent on the subject and looked towards a real relationship with Prince Charles. The couple stayed very low-key in the years following the royal divorce and Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997. They weren’t photographed so much as holding hands with one another until 1999. Charles’ role as the heir apparent of Great Britain made a second marriage seem out of the question; however he proved the world wrong in 2005 when he married Camilla Parker-Bowles in Windsor.
This was the second time in recent memory that a King-in-waiting wanted to marry a divorcee; the first occurrence was in 1936. In the first case, the marriage was forbidden and led to the abdication of Edward VIII so that he was free to marry Wallis Simpson, a woman who had two previous failed marriages. At the time, a royal was not allowed to rule if he or she had married someone whose ex-spouse remained alive.
Queen Elizabeth did not make a fuss over her eldest son’s choice to marry a divorcee in 2005, however she didn’t show up to the civil union ceremony either. Instead, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip attended the Church of England blessing of the couple’s union, and hosted a reception at Windsor Castle. The new bride was given the title “Duchess of Cornwall” from her royal mother-in-law, and as such is unlikely ever to be granted the title of “queen” when Prince Charles is crowned as king. So much for being as power-mad as the tabloids make her out to be. The entire royal family seems genuinely warm towards Camilla.
“We are very grateful for her. She’s made our father very happy,” Prince Harry once said of his stepmother, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Prince Charles and his wife certainly have made some missteps, but the reality of their story is far from the innocuous gossip of today’s tabloid newspapers. There is certainly no substantial evidence that should lead us to conclude that this mature and respected couple is seeking a divorce.
Written by Mandy Gardner