What The Crown Gets Right About How Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles First Met

Season 3 of The Crown explores a plethora of important moments in the history of the British royal family. And as the story moves through the late ’60s and early ’70s, we’re finally introduced to the budding relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles (then Shand).

While Charles and Camilla have since gone on to marry one another, their complicated love story started in the early ’70s. But how exactly did the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall first meet?

In the eighth episode of The Crown Season 3, we’re finally introduced to Camilla Shand. While on a break from a tumultuous relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles, who she would later marry, Camilla meets and falls for Prince Charles.

In the show, it’s slightly unclear how the couple first meet. Camilla is shown cheering Charles on during a polo match, where Parker Bowles is also playing. It’s assumed that Camilla met the prince while originally watching Andrew play, and sparks subsequently flew.

Reports vary slightly regarding how the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall met in real life. The BBC reported, “A young Charles and Camilla first meet at a polo match in Windsor in 1970.”

However, People suggested that the pair hit it off at a party. Per the publication, “When she met the prince at a party in 1972, Camilla Shand, then a 25-year-old postdeb living in London, told him sassily, ‘My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common.'”

A third account, reported by Oprah Magazine, referenced a key biography about the couple written by Gyles Brandreth. In his book, Brandreth apparently suggested that Camilla and Charles met in 1972 at a polo match, and that “they were actually introduced by their mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the former Chilean ambassador to London,” per Oprah Magazine.

While it’s impossible to know which account is true, it seems that The Crown Season 3 remained true to the start of Charles and Camilla’s relationship. The young couple did bond over their love of polo, and Camilla’s great-grandmother reportedly really did have an affair with King Edward VII.

And sadly, much like in The Crown, Charles and Camilla’s relationship ended when the prince left to serve in the Royal Navy. By the time he returned, Camilla was already engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles, who she would marry in 1973.

As for what happens next onscreen between the duke and duchess, viewers will have to wait until Season 4 of The Crown is released.

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