British Royal Family

The emotional story behind Prince Charles and Camilla Shand's early (and doomed) relationship of the 1970s

The pair met long before they eventually married.

By Jess Pullar
These days, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla look to be the perfect fairy tale royal couple, but their decades-long courtship has not come without some major ups and downs.
In the latest season of The Crown, released November 17, viewers see the very origins of the couple's dramatic relationship as it begins to develop, and then unravel during the 1970s.
And while we're well aware that the pair did eventually end up together, and are still blissfully married today, there was a lot that happened in between.
So, we decided to go right back to the origins of their relationship to see how it all unfolded.

1970 - Charles and Camilla meet

It is understood Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla met at a polo match in Windsor, which took place in 1970.
Sparks flew from the get-go between the pair, and the couple began to date.
A mutual love of polo, the outdoors and the same sense of humour fuelled the connection between the pair, and it was clear they were extremely fond of each other.
Charles and Camilla reportedly met at a polo match in 1970. (Getty)
While the relationship was undoubtedly a happy one for the most part, things eventually came to an end between the pair when Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy for eight months.
When he returned, Camilla was engaged to someone else - Andrew Parker Bowles.
WATCH: Diana's confrontation with Camilla in 1989. Story continues after video...

1973 - Camilla marries Andrew Parker Bowles

Just three years after their romantic first encounter, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles.
The pair went on to have two children together, named Tom and Laura.
At this point, it is understood Charles and Camilla were still friends.
In fact, Charles was even godfather to Camilla's son, Tom.
Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. (Getty)

1977 - Charles meets Princess Diana

The future king and Diana Spencer met when the soon-to-be princess was just 16-years-old.
At the time, Charles was actually dating Diana's older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale - the two sisters reportedly remained close despite both dating the same man.
In fact, Sarah even went so far as to say she was a "cupid" for bringing Charles and Diana together!
Charles and Diana met in 1977, and were married in 1980. (Getty)

1980 - Charles begins to date Diana

Prince Charles began dating Diana when she was 18 years old, and in 1981, the Prince proposed.
While it seemed all was rosy between the pair, there is some speculation as to whether Charles had early doubts.
In an interview shortly following their engagement, Charles insisted he was in love with Diana, before adding: "Whatever love means."
The pair were married that same year, with more than 700 million people watching the spectacle from around the world.

1986 - reports of an affair with Camilla

Reports have it that Charles began an affair with Camilla while he was still with Princess Diana, with his authorised bigoraphy stating so.
A few years later, Diana approached Camilla at a party and called her out on it, telling her: "I know what's going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that."
Camilla reportedly replied to Diana saying: 'You've got everything you ever wanted. You've got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you've got two beautiful children, what more do you want?'
Diana replied: 'I want my husband.'

1995 - Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles divorce

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles called quits on their marriage the same year that Princess Diana delivered her explosive interview with Martin Bashir.
Upon being asked whether Camilla was a result of the breakdown of her marriage, Diana simply responded: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."
In 1996, Charles and Diana's divorce was also finalised.
WATCH: Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1983. Story continues after video...

1997 - the death of Diana

In a tragic event, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident involving paparazzi in France, 1997.
The event shocked the world, and rocked the royal family.
Charles walked in the funeral procession alongside his two sons, Prince Philip and Diana's brother.
Prince Charles attended the funeral of Princess Diana alongside his sons. (Getty)

1998 - Charles introduces Camilla to his sons

A year after Diana's death, Prince Charles introduced Camilla to his two sons, William and Harry.
At this stage, the pair kept their relationship very quiet and out of the public eye.

Early 2000s - Charles and Camilla go public

Eventually, Charles and Camilla start to attend public events together.
In 2003, Camilla officially moved into Clarence House, where Prince Charles resided.
Charles and Camilla slowly started to take their relationship public in the early 2000s. (Getty)

2005 - Charles and Camilla are married

After announcing their engagement early in 2005, Charles and Camilla were married in a civil ceremony in April that year.
The intimate event was a far cry from the extravagant royal weddings we've since seen from Prince Harry and Prince William, but the pair clearly wanted to keep things low key.
Camilla's ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles even attended the 2005 ceremony, suggesting there was no bad blood between the trio.
Charles and Camilla were married in a civil ceremony in 2005. (Getty)
The rest, as they say, is history.
Charles and Camilla have been happily married ever since, often attending engagements together and undertaking their royal duties with the level of class and elegance we've come to know and love from members of the royal family.
And despite their rocky beginnings, the love story has endured through the years.
WATCH: Prince Charles gives Camilla a hug on her birthday:

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