What Most People Don't Know About Camilla's Ex Andrew Parker Bowles

It's no secret that people are obsessed with the British royal family, and for good reason: There's been no shortage of entertainment to come from the royals over the years, and as hard as they might try to appear prim and proper, there's no denying that they've all had some super dramatic moments. Take Camilla Parker Bowles, who was married before she entered into the royal family by marrying Prince Charles, who was also previously married. Their love story is seriously sensational, and it wouldn't exist with Andrew Parker Bowles.

Still, you probably don't know all that much about Camilla's ex-husband, Andrew. After all, the pair got divorced years ago, and as Camilla has remarried Charles, it's only natural that Andrew would sort of fade into the background. But if you don't know anything about the pair's relationship, all the drama that's followed them around might shock you. Seriously, before Camilla settled down with Charles she had quite the intense relationship with Andrew. Here's everything that we dug up about this rather enigmatic character.

Andrew Parker Bowles served in the military

Like many men who are a part of the royal family, Andrew Parker Bowles served his country when he was in the military. And though he was never a royal himself, his service was still important.

In fact, according to the Animals in War Memorial Fund, Andrew served as "an officer in The Household Cavalry and Royal Army Veterinary Corps from 1960 to 1995 and was awarded The Queen's Commendation for Bravery." That's a long time to be in the army, and an impressive award for Andrew's service to his country.

As Prince Charles was also in the Royal Air Force for a time, as noted by to Town & Country, it would be safe to assume that Camilla Parker Bowles has a type and loves a man in uniform. And according to another article in Town & Country, Andrew and Camilla met in the 1960s, right when Andrew's service was just starting. The two dated for a while before getting married, though, so clearly Andrew's time in the military didn't stop him from living his life and falling in love.

Andrew Parker Bowles isn't a stranger to the royal family

Obviously, after Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles went their separate ways and got divorced, she would go on to become part of the royal family in a major way. But before any of that happened, Andrew himself got pretty familiar with the Firm, and probably not in the way you might think.

Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith told Vanity Fair that Andrew had already had a relationship with the royal family before anything happened between Camilla and Prince Charles. Specifically, he was very close with Charles' younger sister, Princess Anne. "Anne and Andrew started dating in June 1970," Smith said, adding that the pair had met at the 1970 Royal Ascot, when Andrew received a very special invitation from the royal family to celebrate with them. So while Andrew and Camilla were seeing each other on and off, he'd also started to date Anne, putting him in close range to the royal family years ago.

Andrew Parker Bowles is a father

Though Andrew Parker Bowles isn't in the spotlight as much as his ex-wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, he's still an important part of her life. And that's because the two share children from their marriage, and neither went on to have anymore children.

Camilla and Andrew's oldest son, Tom Parker Bowles, was born on December 18, 1974; according to Town & Country he's a food writer. "I loved eating and could just about string a sentence together, so I thought I could write about food," Tom shared. Tom writes for The Mail on Sunday, Esquire UK, and has his own cookbooks, too. Clearly, Camilla and Andrew raised an impressive young man. 

Additionally, Andrew and Camilla welcomed a baby girl, Laura Parker Bowles, on New Year's Day in 1978. Laura founded an art gallery in Belgravia, and got married to her husband, Harry Lopes. The pair have three children, making Camilla and Andrew grandparents together as well. So even though the pair are divorced, they will forever share the bond of having children and grandchildren together.

Andrew Parker Bowles had a first love before Camilla Parker Bowles

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles were married from 1973 until 1995, which isn't exactly a short amount of time. But even though they dated for a while even before their long marriage, Andrew actually had an intense connection before he tied the knot with Camilla. Yes, Andrew was dating Camilla on and off when he first started dating Princess Anne, but he definitely felt love for her.

In fact, Andrew might have married Princess Anne were it not for this one specific reason: As royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith told Vanity Fair, "Anne and Andrew enjoyed each other's company, but they could never marry because he was a Catholic." 

Still, Anne and Andrew still share a strong connection, and are friends to this day. Additionally, Andrew is even godfather to Anne's daughter, Zara Tindall. Clearly, Andrew and Anne were totally in love, and while it didn't work out, their bond stayed strong.

There were plenty of affairs in Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles' marriage

For fans of the Netflix original series "The Crown," the complications between Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles seem pretty melodramatic. And in all actuality, it kind of was complex between them. Andrew and Camilla may have been in love once, but there was a lot of cheating going on in their relationship, that was all kept on the down low.

Royal biographer Penny Junor told Marie Claire that there was basically a love quadrangle going on with Camilla and Andrew. "[Camilla] was passionately in love with [Andrew] but he was a cad, he was bonking other people, some of her friends," Junor explained. "So when she was introduced to Charles and he thought she was pretty special ... 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." 

Basically, Andrew was cheating on Camilla with Anne, while Camilla was cheating on Andrew with Charles, Anne's brother. Yeah, it was messy.

There was no plot to marry Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles

Speaking of "The Crown," the show is known to have some historical inaccuracies to make the series more dramatic. Obviously, if things played out on screen exactly as they did in real life, it certainly wouldn't be as interesting or binge-worthy, hence the inaccuracies. 

Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith explained to Vanity Fair that one such inaccuracy was the series insinuating that the Queen Mother had secret meetings to make sure Camilla Parker Bowles didn't marry Prince Charles, but instead marry Andrew. Additionally, Camilla's affair with Charles wasn't even on the Queen Mother's radar. "Interfering like that is something the queen would never do," Smith stated. "It was highly unlikely that she even knew about Charles and Camilla. It was generally known that Camilla was in love with Andrew Parker Bowles and wanted to marry him. But no one took the romance between Charles and Camilla seriously." So no, Andrew and Camilla weren't forced together by anyone but themselves.

Andrew Parker Bowles remarried after Camilla Parker Bowles

In January of 1995, Andrew and Camilla Parker Bowles announced that they were getting divorced, and as Prince Charles and Princess Diana had separated a few years prior, everyone knew what would happen next. In fact, Diana even subtly admitted that Charles and Camilla wanted to be together during an interview. "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded," she famously said. 

Andrew at least was able to move on fairly quickly; he married Rosemary Parker Bowles in 1996, the very year after his divorce from Camilla was finalized (via The Telegraph). According to Harper's Bazaar, Rosemary, a garden designer, was also previously married and had three children from her first marriage, meaning she and Andrew had quite a bit in common. Additionally, the couple was also friendly with Camilla and Charles, despite their complicated history. They even visited them at Sandringham, the queen's country estate. 

Andrew might not have ended up with either of his loves from earlier in his life, but he still got a happily ever after.

Andrew Parker Bowles contracted COVID-19 in 2020

As the years went on, Camilla Parker Bowles' ex-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, obviously moved on from his first marriage. However, he remained close with the royal family, especially Princess Anne. And in 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak afflicted nations all over the world, Andrew was unfortunately impacted by the disease. And because of Andrew's proximity to the royals, his diagnosis was obviously the talk of the town, and as it happened early on during the pandemic, it certainly was a big deal (via Vanity Fair).

In April of 2020, Andrew was diagnosed with COVID-19, sparking a renewed interest in his relationship with Anne. This is because Andrew was seen at the Cheltenham Festival with Anne and others, meaning he could have exposed the royal family to COVID-19. Obviously, Andrew recovered from the virus, but it couldn't have been easy for him to have gotten sick with such a serious disease.

Andrew Parker Bowles' second wife had a tragic end

Sadly, Andrew Parker Bowles' second wife, Rosemary Parker Bowles, met a tragic end before the two lived happily ever after for too long. According to The Telegraph, Rosemary passed away on January 10, 2010, from cancer, leaving behind Andrew and her three children to mourn her loss. 

Fortunately for Rosemary and Andrew, she was still able to have been there for some pretty huge milestones. "She was very pleased to have made Christmas and then Andrew's birthday, his 70th, just after Christmas, and subsequently the birth of his grandchildren," Henry Pitman, one of Rosemary's children, said, according to Hello! magazine.

Obviously, Andrew struggled with the death of his wife, but his first love, Princess Anne, was there at the funeral to comfort her good friend of so many years. Throughout his life, Andrew has remained close to the royal family, so it's nice that they were there for him during such a hard time.

Andrew Parker Bowles lives a fairly private life

Andrew Parker Bowles isn't on social media, and while he continues to remain close to the royal family and especially Princess Anne, he's still a relatively private person. After all that's he's been through, having had his relationship with Princess Anne and Camilla Parker Bowles talked about so openly in the press and commented on by random people, it makes sense that Andrew wouldn't want to stay in the spotlight anymore.

According to Town & Country, Andrew has kept a low profile; it seems that especially after his second wife died, he spent more time working to not attract any attention than he ever had before. However, with the success of Netflix's "The Crown," Andrew's life is once again in the public interest, so his decision to stay out of the public eye might also be pretty strategic. Considering the fact that he was around while Prince Charles was cheating on Princess Diana with Camilla, his own wife, people are naturally curious about him. But really, he's moved on from it all and is just living his best life.