Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla have endured an incredibly long and windy road to end up together. While they've known each other almost 50 years, they only got married in 2005. They were both married and divorced before they tied the knot with each other, and were ensconced in a not-so-secret affair throughout both of their separate marriages. While you may be tied up in Meghan and Harry mayhem at the moment, here are some facts about Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' relationship to get you even deeper into your royal family obsession.
In case you're not caught up on some of the juiciest royal family drama in history, here's a refresher: Prince Charles married Diana Spencer in July 1981, despite still talking to (and allegedly still being in love with) ex-girlfriend Camilla. During his marriage to Diana, he remained in contact with Camilla, even though he knew his family didn't approve of her. According to a biography about Prince Charles titled Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion, and Defiance of Prince Charles, by Tom Bower, Queen Elizabeth once told her son, "I want nothing to do with that wicked woman," referring, of course, to Camilla.
Yikes — not exactly what you want an in-law saying about you. However, the two eventually found their way back to each other, and are now married. Here are other tidbits you may not know about the scandalous relationship between Charles and Camilla.
Of course, having similar interests in common isn't the only key to a successful relationship. Charles and Camilla's shared bond also brings them together.
"They like all the same things," Santa Sebag Montefiore, who knew Diana and Camilla, told Vanity Fair. "They love the countryside and countryside pursuits. They love Scotland, which is his big passion. They love the ballet, theater, and opera. She’s not an airhead who just thinks about clothes or the next party. She’s a deeply intelligent woman. The dynamic between them is perfect."
The Prince's friend, Lucia Santa Cruz, introduced the two in 1971 at her apartment, according to Catherine Mayer's biography Charles: The Heart of a King.
"As she made the introductions, she joked, 'Now, you two, be very careful, you’ve got genetic antecedents. Careful, CAREFUL!'" royal author Penny Junor wrote in her biography The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown Daily Mail, as excerpted by Daily Mail.
"As Charles and Camilla were well aware, she was referring to Alice Keppel, Camilla’s great-grandmother, who had been a long-term mistress of Edward VII — [Charles’] great-great grandfather," Junor wrote.
This meeting sounds less like a rigid royal appointment to meet potential spouses, but instead, a more natural love story waiting to happen.
In 1989, when both Prince Charles and Camilla were still married to their spouses — Diana and Andrew, respectively — they were rocked by the scandalous release of an eight-minute tape, commonly referred to as "Camillagate."
In the tape, the two have a conversation that feels extremely uncomfortable to read as it was, without a doubt, never supposed to be public. At one point, Camilla says, "You're awfully good at feeling your way along," and Charles replies, "Oh stop! I want to feel my way along you, all over you and up and down you and in and out." Damn.
This wasn't the first time the two shared secret phone conversations, either. Before Prince Charles and Diana wed, Diana overheard her then-fiancé tell Camilla on the phone, "I will always love you," a not-so-secret Diana told journalist Andrew Morton about years later.
While Charles was once significantly more angsty due to his spiraling marriage with Diana, his union with Camilla is one that seems to mellow him out.
"She has given Charles belief in himself that he's never had before, and that has made him much more likable and therefore much more popular," Junor said in her biography, excerpted by USA Today. "And popularity is vital in a modern-day monarch."
"He's no longer angst-ridden and tortured; he's relaxed, he's humorous, he's teasing and he looks happy," said Junor. "The public wants to engage with him again. And she has made that happen."
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!