Camilla Parker Bowles: What you don't know about her children

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles have been married since the mid-2000s, but the couple first became acquainted in the early 1970s. The two didn't seek matrimony right away though, with Camilla marrying British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973 and Charles marrying Diana Spencer (later Princess Diana) in the early '80s. By the mid '90s, however, both marriages were falling apart. According to Camilla's biography, she and her husband got divorced in January 1995. Charles and Diana officially dissolved their marriage in 1996, after four long years of separation. 

While Charles and Camilla had been engaged in a decades-long on-again, off-again affair, they would wait a long time to marry each other. Although we now know of Camilla as the Duchess of Cornwall and, thus, part of the royal family, she once lived a more ordinary life as a married mother of two. That's right — she has children other than her two stepsons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Here's what you don't know about Camilla's non-royal kids.

Camilla is close with both of her biological children

In 1974, shortly after Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, the couple welcomed their first child, son Thomas. And, in 1978, Camilla gave birth to a daughter, Laura. According to royal expert and biographer Penny Juror's book The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown, Camilla is close with both of her biological children, though she "is particularly close to her daughter, Laura." Both Thomas — or Tom, as he is more often called — and Laura are also described as being "protective" of their now-royal mother.

While you've likely become accustomed to seeing Camilla with Prince Charles' side of the family, her children with ex-husband Andrew are still very much a part of her life. In The Duchess, Juror shared that Camilla spends "most weekends" with her side of the family. Juror continued, "She has kept the house in the country that she had before she married the Prince and goes there as often as she can, and she is joined there by her family."

Tom is not just Prince Charles' stepson

According to the royal biographer, Camilla isn't the only one who carves out time to spend with her children. "Often the Prince quietly joins her," reveals The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown"Normality is not something he has had much experience of in his life." Out in the country, he's afforded the opportunity.

Just as Camilla has known Charles for practically forever, Camilla's children have also known the prince for a very, very long time. Nearly since birth, in Tom's case. As it happens, the Duke of Cornwall was anointed as Tom's godfather long before he became his stepfather. In the biography Prince Charles: The Passions and the Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith explained Charles' role in Camilla's son's life. "As a conscientious godfather," the book reads, "Charles also followed the progress of Tom Parker Bowles, sufficient grounds for calling Camilla from time to time." It seems he was a caring godfather, even if he did have some ulterior motives.

Tom attended the same school as his future step-brothers

Before Prince William and Prince Harry would attend Eton College, Tom's parents sent him to the prestigious boarding school. Shocking as it may be, he was only 7 years old when he left home to start attending Eton. According to an interview with The Times cited by the Scottish Daily Mail, Tom said his mother revealed that "she'd never do it again, but it was the thing you did, you know." 

Tom admitted that he didn't work very hard during his first two years at the school. It wasn't until his father threatened to send him to a different school that he "bucked up and did some work." Still, he claimed, "I was rubbish at everything." Despite Camilla's regrets about sending her son off to boarding school, Tom plans to send his son to the school one day. However, he plans to wait until his kid is at least a teenager.

Thomas made some "naughty" decisions when he was younger

The one thing Tom did well at Eaton? According to him, smoking. And his habit would only continue after graduating Eton and starting college. According to royal expert Katie Nicholl's biography, William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls, Tom was "caught in possession of cannabis while reading English at Oxford [Brookes University]." But that's not all. He was also "trapped into offering cocaine to an undercover reporter in 1999 while working as a publicist at the Cannes Film Festival."

Tom himself confirmed in an interview with A Current Affair that he got "into all sorts of trouble" during his teenage years and said he'd been "naughty [with] drink, drugs, whatever it was." Of course, this made him an easy target for tabloid fodder. As an adult, Tom admitted that he knew better even back then. He added, "But, you know, I was sort of 19 — didn't really think."

He cleaned up his act

He may have dabbled in drugs as a teen, but Tom eventually cleaned himself up and started getting serious about his career. In 2009, Press Gazette revealed that GQ hired Tom as a contributing editor. Prior to accepting an editorial position, Tom was a contributor to Tatler magazine and had started running his own food column for the Mail on Sunday

When South China Morning Post asked Tom how he first got interested in writing about food, he revealed, "I was rubbish at everything else. I was sacked from every job I had." Upon leaving university, he didn't know what career he wanted to pursue. After getting fired from a job in the film industry, he approached the editors of Tatler and offered to become their food writer — a position that didn't previously exist. Food writing then became his bread and butter. Although he told the Evening Standard (via The Telegraph) that his mother wasn't much of a cook while he was growing up, he developed a love of food — especially of the expensive variety. At that time, he admitted to spending around £2,000 (about $2,600) per month just on food.

He's written several cookbooks

Since Tom became a food writer, he's gone on to release several cookbooks, including the 2017 Sunday Times bestseller, The Cook Book: Fortnum & MasonThe Duchess of Cornwall's son's first foray into cookbook-writing began in 2004 with E is for Eating: An Alphabet of Greed. In 2009 came Full English: A Journey Through the British and Their Food, which earned Tom the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food by the Guild of Food Writers in 2010. Three years later, he released his next book, The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes.

In 2010, Tom was considered one of the "most exciting names in British cooking." He participated in the Market Kitchen Cookbook, a book titled after the British television series in which Tom is also featured. In addition to releasing his cookbooks over the years, he became a judge on Food Glorious FoodHe has undeniably come a long way since his rebellious teen years.

Tom married a fellow writer

Not long after his first cookbook was published — and not long after his mom and Prince Charles took a trip down the aisle — Tom himself said, "I do." The Telegraph reported in 2005 that Tom married then-32-year-old fellow writer and editor Sara Buys. At the time, Buys was working as Harpers & Queen's fashion features editor. "It was a very family-oriented day," one of Buys' friends told the publication. "It felt very relaxed." The friend continued, saying, "It was a typical English wedding with lots of eccentric people and everyone up and dancing. Prince William even did a few star-jumps on the dance-floor." That would've been a sight to behold!

Although not a royal himself, Tom is affiliated with the royal family because of his mother's position as a duchess. As such, he's subjected to much of the same tabloid coverage — positive and negative. In 2018, rumors started swirling about possible relationship trouble between Tom and his wife. Based on the reports, a divorce seemed imminent. However, the couple is still together as of this writing.

Tom was at this big event

Amid rumors of a failing marriage, Tom Parker Bowles and his wife, Sara Buys, arrived together at the 2018 Trooping the Colour. They also brought with them their two children, Lola and Freddy, as reported by Hello! magazine.

While you may not have recognized them at the time, Tom and his family were in the audience watching the parade along with other spectators. Looking back, you can really see the class distinction that exists between the two families. "Commoners" Tom, his wife, and children were standing behind a chain barricade at the late spring event while Tom's own mother, Camilla Parker Bowles, was waving to the crowd alongside her very royal in-laws — including Queen Elizabeth II herself — from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. For Freddy and Lola, this must've been even harder to understand. After all, their grandmother was up there beside her other grandchildren. Eek.

Laura once blamed Prince Charles for her parents' divorce

At the Trooping the Colour parade in 2018, you wouldn't have spotted Tom Parker Bowles' sister, Laura, because it seems she did not attend. That doesn't mean there's bad blood between Laura and the royals. Well, we should say, there's no bad blood between Laura and the royals anymore. At one point in time, they most definitely did not get along.

According to the biography William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls by royal expert Katie Nicholl, Laura was not a fan of Prince Charles. When he would call to speak to her mother at their house in Wiltshire, Laura would pick up a phone tied into the same line and yell, "Why don't you stop calling Mummy and leave our family alone." Yikes! As Nicholl explained, Laura "couldn't care less that it was the Prince of Wales," as "she blamed him for breaking up her parents' marriage." Understandably, she was obviously not Charles' biggest fan.

She and her brother were "teased mercilessly"

Divorce can be hard on any child, but, thankfully, most children don't have to read about their parents' divorce — and affairs — on the covers of magazines. According to William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls, both of Camilla Parker Bowles' biological children were "teased mercilessly when intimate conversations between Charles and Camilla ended up in the British press." And intimate conversations they most certainly were.

According to Biography.com, the transcripts of the couple's alleged telephone calls that were made public in 1993 included commentary like Charles wishing "to live inside [Camilla's] trousers." These tapes and the scandal that stemmed from them earned the name "Camillagate" in the media and would follow the couple for years and years to come. While this must've been — and probably still is — humiliating for Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, Tom and Laura likely had to endure classmates both discussing the intimate details of their mother's' extramarital affair while also making fun of them for something they had literally no control over. Not a great situation, to be sure.

Laura got into "terrible fights" with Prince William

Laura and her brother, Tom, weren't the only ones who were forced to deal with the public humiliation of a parent's affair. Princes William and Harry were going through the exact same thing with their father, Prince Charles — at the exact same time, of course. Eventually, this shared experience would bring Laura and William closer together. Katie Nicholl confirmed in her book William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls that the eventual step-siblings got to a point where they "got along well." They weren't allies from the get-go, though.

"William would blame Camilla for all the hurt she had caused his mother, which would send Laura into a rage," a family friend revealed in William and Harry. "Laura was not having any of it. She would take a hard line and fire back at William, 'Your father has ruined my life.'" 

Despite the friction that occurred when blending these two families, William and Laura eventually worked past their issues.

She became an art curator

Unlike older brother Tom, Laura didn't get into any trouble — at least not any notable trouble — with drugs or drinking while attending school. After studying history at Oxford Brookes University, Laura went on to complete an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice, Italy. Named after the 20th century artist, the museum features many of Peggy Guggenheim's works as well as collections from other artists. After Laura completed her internship in Italy, she moved back to England and became the manager and art curator for Eleven Fine Art in Twickenham. There she remained for ten years.

As of this writing, it is unknown if Laura is curating art for another gallery or if she's taken her career in an entirely new direction. According to her website, the last exhibition she curated was in May 2018. Unlike her royal step-siblings, and even unlike her biological brother, Laura lives a very under-the-radar life. And really, can you blame her? After having her family's dirty laundry aired pretty much constantly throughout the 1990s and 2000s, she likely values privacy even more than the average person.

Her wedding was a big deal for Kate Middleton

In 2006, 27-year-old Laura married Harry Lopes, a former Calvin Klein underwear model-turned-accountant, at a church in her hometown of Wiltshire, as reported by BBC News. Although Laura values her privacy, her wedding was a somewhat public affair with "some 500 well-wishers" waiting to get a glimpse of Laura and the other royals in attendance. At the time, Prince William was dating Kate Middleton, and the wedding provided the future Duchess of Cambridge a big opportunity. 

According to Express, Laura's wedding was William and Kate's "first family outing." Although there were already many rumors about their relationship and even photographs of the couple from around that time, Kate's first formal event took place during Laura's big day. Royal expert and biographer Marcia Moody additionally confirmed in Kate: A Biography (via Express) that Laura's wedding was "their first family wedding together." 

Later, when William and Kate married in 2011, Laura was a guest at their wedding. As E! News revealed, Laura and her husband's daughter, then-3-year-old Eliza, served as a bridesmaid for the royal couple.

Laura has a son named Louis too

Besides daughter Eliza, Camilla Parker Bowles' daughter Laura also gave birth to two other kids. She and husband Harry welcomed twin boys, Gus and Louis, in 2009. Hmm, does the name Louis ring any bells? Along with marrying someone who shares the same name as her step-brother, Laura gave her son a name that he'd wind up sharing with his future cousin.

Several days after Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their third child, Kensington Palace revealed the infant prince's name. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their son Louis Arthur Charles. The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge," the statement explained. According to Town & Country, the prince's first name is a tribute to the late Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Philip's uncle. It also happens to be one of William's middle names.

Even though the name may very well be a tribute to a member of the royal family, one has to wonder how Laura feels about her stepbrother and sister-in-law commandeering her son's name and bestowing it on a prince. Well, for their sake — and ours — we hope there's no bad blood between them!