Camilla Speaks Out About Her Marriage To Prince Charles Like Never Before

Even for people who experience love at first sight, there can be a lot of hard relationship work in the days and years that follow. For Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, there was a definite spark way back in 1970 when they met for the first time during a polo match (via People). However, after a brief romance, Charles was whisked away for an extended period with the Royal Navy. During his absence, Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker-Bowles, per Us Weekly. Camilla and Andrew went even further back, having first met when Camilla was only 17 (via Daily Mail).

During her marriage to Parker-Bowles, Camilla and Charles maintained a friendly connection, with Charles being named godfather to Camilla's son. Charles moved on from his reported heartbreak and married Diana Spencer in 1981, but after only a few years, their marriage was in jeopardy (via Brides). Charles and Camilla's alleged affair came to the public's attention when a private phone conversation between the two made headlines in 1993. Shortly after, Camilla and Andrew separated and subsequently divorced in 1995. Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, although it took until 1999 before Charles and Camilla went public with their relationship, and another six years until the pair married (via Us Weekly).

Now, after 17 years of marriage, Camilla, the future queen consort, has shared some insight into what her life with Charles is really like.

Camilla and Charles reportedly have a cozy relationship

As senior royals, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles have busy schedules. In 2019 alone, the Prince of Wales completed 521 royal engagements, per The Times. While this number dipped to 253 during 2020's pandemic restrictions, Charles' schedule increased to 385 events in 2021.

The Duchess of Cornwall maintains a full schedule herself. With numerous patronages, Camilla frequently attends multiple events in a single day. However, she and her husband make an effort to spend time together as a couple. "Sometimes it's like ships passing in the night, but we always sit down together and have a cup of tea and discuss the day," Camilla told British Vogue in June 2022. "It's not easy sometimes, but we do always try to have a point in the day when we meet."

Charles previously shared how much he appreciates Camilla's support. "It's always marvelous to have somebody who, you know, you feel understands and wants to encourage," the Prince of Wales told CNN in 2015. Charles spoke with enthusiasm about Camilla's sense of humor as well. "She certainly pokes fun if I get too serious about things. And all that helps." 

Charles and Camilla reportedly enjoy cozy companionship when the two are in the same place at the same time. "When we go away, the nicest thing is that we actually sit and read our books in different corners of the same room," Camilla told British Vogue. "It's very relaxing because you know you don't have to make conversation. You just sit and be together."

Camilla weathered the storm of public opinion in the name of love

After they dated the first time, and before they rekindled their romantic relationship, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles enjoyed an unusually close friendship, per Daily Mail. Charles reportedly spent a lot of time hanging out at Camilla's house, writing her long letters, and the pair allegedly spent hours enjoying lengthy phone conversations. Perhaps the biggest reason for their relationship's success was that Camilla ostensibly liked Charles for who he was, and she didn't treat him differently because he was heir to the throne.

Although their much-publicized 1989 telephone conversation is known for its more salacious elements, parts of the conversation point to their mutual affection. Toward the end of the exchange, Camilla says that loving Charles is "easier than falling off a chair." When Charles remarks, "You suffer all these indignities and tortures and calumnies," Camilla responds, "I'd suffer anything for you. That's love. It's the strength of love," (via Mirror).

The Duchess of Cornwall has displayed her fortitude despite intense media coverage. "I was scrutinized for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it. Nobody likes to be looked at all the time," she told British Vogue. "But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it. You've got to get on with life."

The Duchess of Cornwall showed her resolve in gaining royal acceptance

Public scrutiny and dislike aside, Camilla Parker-Bowles endured many years of being on the "do not invite" list for royal gatherings. In 1978, she was reportedly excluded from Prince Charles' 30th birthday celebration. 20 years later, the same thing happened with Charles' 50th birthday bash. However, in 2000, the duchess and Queen Elizabeth met in person as the first step of royal acceptance, per Daily Mail.

After this small acknowledgement, the relationship between Her Majesty and Camilla grew slowly over time. By 2005, the queen signaled her approval of the couple at a reception following Camilla and Charles' wedding. Royal expert and author Penny Junor told Express that after announcing the results of the Grand National race, the queen concluded by saying, "she was delighted to be welcoming her son and his bride to the 'winners' enclosure."

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Junor noted that, despite a rocky beginning, Queen Elizabeth and Camilla have shared interests that helped bolster their relationship. "The queen didn't want Camilla around in the early days because their relationship was so damaging to the monarchy, but on a personal level, she has always liked Camilla," Junor said. "They have a lot in common, particularly their love of dogs and horses."

As the ultimate endorsement of Camilla, the monarch combined her Platinum Jubilee message with an announcement stating that, when Charles becomes king, "Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," per People.