Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles: A Love Story Spanning over Four Decades

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By Christine Jane Caparras | August 1, 2014 4:21 PM EST

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been the subject of an endless string of controversies in the past several months but the two of them are not amateurs when it comes to dealing with controversies whether true or false. Here's a look back at the decades-long love affair between the two which has been riddled with intrigue and drama but has so far proved enduring with the pair having celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary in April this year.

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla arrive for the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England June 18, 2014.

Prince Charles met Camilla Shand in 1970 and the two immediately hit it off due to their many shared interests. Camilla was London-born but grew up in Sussex. After returning to England from finishing schools in Switzerland and France, she met Prince Charles while she was only 23 years old. The relationship lasted only a year as Charles went off to start his service with the Royal Navy in 1971.

After their split, Camilla went on to marry Andrew Parker-Bowles, a young cavalry officer of the British Army. Despite marrying Andrew in 1973, Camilla kept in touch with the young Prince and the pair continued to be close. They have developed pseudonyms for each other and have started calling themselves Fred and Gladys.

Prince Charles for his part famously married Lady Diana Spencer in a well-publicised wedding in 1981. The night before the wedding, Charles reportedly spent the night with a blonde woman who was later revealed to be Camilla.

Camilla bore her husband Andrew two children and Charles himself had two children with Diana, William and Harry. After the two Princes were born, the strains in the Royal's marriage became more obvious but the palace attempted to keep the marital issues a secret.

Charles and Diana started living separately in 1992 with Diana staying in Kensington palace with their two children. Meanwhile, Charles moved to Highgrove where it was widely believed that he lived with Camilla after her divorce in 1995. At around the same time that Charles openly admitted that he had been unfaithful to Diana, Camilla and her husband Andrew divorced. Diana also later said in an interview with BBC that Camilla had been Charles mistress.

The Wales' divorce was finalized in 1996 a year after both of them openly spoke out about their infidelities. Charles and Camilla had also become more brazen with their relationship and no longer attempting to conceal it. Charles even hosted a birthday party for Camilla in 1997.

They made their first public appearance in January 1999. The couple then announced their engagement in February 10, 2005. 34 years after they first met. The original wedding date was set at April 8, 2005 but with the death of Pope John Paul II and his funeral being set on the same date, the couple had to change the date to April 9. The wedding took place at Windsor's Town Hall but the Queen was not in attendance. She however hosted the reception and was present at the Church blessing in St. George's Chapel.

The love story continues nine years on and it remains to be seen if the couple will celebrate a tenth anniversary next year.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett)
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla arrive for the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England June 18, 2014.
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