Charles and Camilla reportedly first met at a polo match at Windsor Castle in 1970. Now, 53 years later, the couple is the king and queen of the nation.
In Netflix’s royal dramaThe crown, Charles was portrayed by numerous actors, including Josh O’Connor and Dominic West, while Camilla was played by Emerald Fennell and Olivia Williams.
All of these actors have received critical acclaim for capturing the royals’ voices and mannerisms, but how accurate is the show’s portrayal of their relationship?
In season three of The crownThe royal family is shown to disapprove of Camilla, with Lord Mountbatten (a paternal character of Charles) seen arranging for the former prince to be sent on a Navy mission in 1972 to separate the two.
It’s hard to say if the royal family was in fact calculated to separate the couple, but according to Tina Brown’s 2011 book The Diana Chronicles, The firm saw Camilla as a “learning experience” for Charles rather than a serious partner.
In 1973, while Charles was away, Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles.
According to the biography by Sally Bedell Smith Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable LifeCharles continued to speak to Camilla very frequently after she married.
Brown writes that the two resumed their relationship in 1979 after Charles was heartbroken by the IRA’s assassination of Lord Mountbatten. He began dating Diana in 1980 and they married the following year.
Episode three of the fourth season of The crown Chronicles Diana finds a bracelet that Charles wanted to give to Camilla. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Charles actually gave Camilla the jewelry as a parting gift to say their relationship had to end because he was marrying Diana.
The show suggests the bracelet had the initials F and G because Charles and Camilla called each other goon show-inspired nicknames, Fred and Gladys, but according to Jonathan Dimbleby’s book, The Prince of Wales: A Biographythe engravings on the bracelet stood for “Girl Friday”, Charles’ nickname for Camilla.
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It is unclear at what points during Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana (1981–1996) he had an affair with Camilla, but some biographers have surmised that the affair took place in 1986, as Diana confronted Camilla about it at a 1989 friend’s birthday party. That same year, Charles and Camilla had an intimate phone conversation that was later leaked to the press.
This call was the center of the fifth season episode of The crown, “The Way Ahead”. The Netflix show follows Charles telling Camilla he wanted to live inside her as a tampon. It also shows him later admitting adultery in a television interview with Dimbleby.
Diana’s “Revenge Dress” – the black strapless piece of clothing she wore after the interview – was also featured in this episode.
In a later episode, “Couple 31”, Charles negotiates a divorce settlement with Diana. Meanwhile, Charles suggests Camilla meet up with Spin Doctor Mark Bolland as she has been demonized in the media and her image is in dire need of rehabilitation.
“You don’t want to be just ‘poor me,’ but people haven’t been kind,” she says on the show. “I think they forget that love for the Prince of Wales cost me everything.”
Camilla really was was seen as “the other woman” back then, and Bolland really was employed as private secretary to Charles. In a 2005 interview, he said: “It was decided by a small group of people that I was the right person to help him. I felt I could speak frankly with him; I would be respectful but kind of nervous.”
The upcoming sixth and final season of The crown intended to depict Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005, eight years after Diana’s death.