The Biggest Camilla Parker Bowles Rumors Through The Years

Camilla Parker Bowles has been something of a controversial figure for years. As Lady Diana was the people's princess, Camilla was the other woman in King Charles' first marriage. This didn't exactly win the future queen consort a lot of fans.

In his bombshell memoir "Spare," Prince Harry shared that he worried about what life would be like when Camilla married into the family. "I recall wondering ... if she'd be mean to me. If she'd be like all the wicked stepmothers in storybooks. But she wasn't," he wrote. While she wasn't wicked, Harry did reveal to Anderson Cooper in 2023 that once upon a time, he and Prince William felt she was a "villain" who not only played a key role in the dissolution of Charles and Diana's relationship, but apparently used the tabloids to salvage her public standing. He later clarified his remarks on "GMA," noting that she's no "evil stepmother." "I have a huge amount of compassion for her, being the third person within my parents' marriage," he told Michael Strahan. "I see someone who married into this institution and has done everything that she can to improve her own reputation and her own image for her own sake." 

Villain or not, there's no question Camilla's reputation has been put through the wringer. When it comes to the queen consort, there is no shortage of stories, rumors, and gossip. Put on your fascinator and pour yourself a piping cup of English Breakfast, because we're about to get into some proper tea.

She had a boyfriend when she met her first husband

Andrew Parker Bowles isn't a royal, but he sure has some significant ties to the royal family. Of course, he was married to Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles before she wed King Charles III, but do not forget that he also briefly dated Charles' sister, Princess Anne. Though his seemingly casual romance with Anne didn't last, the two remained friends throughout the years.

Andrew and Camilla tied the knot in 1973 after dating — and not dating — for some years. Throughout their relationship, a number of cheating rumors bubbled up. Andrew was painted as a player who had a number of affairs; Camilla connected with Charles when she was still married. As writer Petronella Wyatt claimed to the Daily Mail, Camilla felt "crushed and unwanted" throughout her relationship with Andrew, and she ultimately ended up forging a bond with the royal who would become her second husband. Even with all the drama and speculation, Camilla and Andrew remained married for 22 years and welcomed two children. 

Another interesting piece of the Camilla and Andrew saga? Camilla was reportedly dating another man when she first met Andrew in 1965. According to E! News, the two apparently didn't strike up a romance until the following year, but it's still kind of juicy, and it definitely goes hand in hand with all the aforementioned gossip. 

She vandalized her ex-husband's car after an affair

As you might've gleaned, Andrew Parker Bowles' unfaithful ways were an open secret — and apparently, even members of Camilla Parker Bowles' inner circle were in on it. As Penny Junor wrote in "The Duchess" (via E! News), a friend of Camilla's apparently once said to Andrew, "I'm really hurt, Andrew. I'm the only one of Camilla's friends you haven't made a pass at — what's wrong with me?"

Camilla reportedly took matters into her own hands when needed. As Junor recounted in the documentary "Camilla: Making of a Mistress," Camilla happened to spot Andrew's car outside her friend's house one evening prior to getting hitched. She had a strong inkling that he wasn't there to help her move a heavy piece of furniture. "And so she wrote a very rude message in lipstick on the windscreen and let the tires down," Junor declared. "So she wasn't a complete doormat!" What we would give to know what she scrawled across the front of his car. 

In the same doc, Ingrid Seward claimed, "[Andrew] had a string of girls who were all happy to be in his stable if you like." She went on to say that Camilla wasn't necessarily surprised by this behavior, but certainly did not approve of it. "I think she thought that she could tame him," Seward added.

Her great-grandmother is said to have been a royal mistress

Rumor has it Camilla Parker Bowles wasn't the only one in her family to have a royal affair. According to E! News, there have been stories that when Camilla and future King Charles were introduced, she reportedly said to him, "Oh, you know your great grandfather and my great grandmother were lovers. How about it?" Now, this quote hasn't been confirmed — but her great-grandmother's affair was.

Per Town & Country, King Edward VII (who's actually Charles' great-great-grandfather) had a longtime affair with Alice Keppel — 27 years his junior — between 1898 and his 1910 death. He was 56 and not yet king when their romance started, while Alice was already married to army officer George Keppel, who apparently told a pal of the royal affair, "I do not mind what she does as long as she comes back to me in the end." Alice's presence in Edward's life seemingly helped ease his sometimes-unpredictable mood as she also advised him on governmental matters. "There were one or two occasions when the King was in disagreement with the Foreign Office and I was able, through her, to advise the King with a view to the policy of Government being accepted," said the Viceroy of India. "She was very loyal to the King and patriotic at the same time."

Much like Camilla does with Charles nowadays, as Penny Junor noted to Vanity Fair, "She always has a twinkle in her eye and is a terrible giggler, often reducing Charles to fits of giggles too."

Charles asked her to drop her engagement before the wedding

Before they became King and Queen, Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' relationship was a complicated one. Even though the two had at first denied an affair, Charles confessed to in in 1994 during a TV interview (via Yahoo!News). This came as shocking news considering both him and Camilla were still married to their first spouses.

Days before Camilla married Andrew Bowles, Charles continued to pursue her. In her book "The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown," Penny Junor shared, "He [Charles] did have one last-ditch attempt to get Camilla to change her mind, however. At the end of June 1973 — the week before the wedding — he wrote asking her not to marry Andrew" (via Yahoo!News)

Despite Charles' attempts to put an end to the engagement, Camilla married Andrew. Even though he claimed to have a previous engagement, Juror states: "Those close to him assumed that he stayed away for another reason: he simply couldn't bear to watch the woman he loved walk down the aisle with someone else."

Princess Diana heard a phone call between Charles and Camilla

Throughout their marriage, Princess Diana was always suspicious of Charles and his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. The Mirror reported that during an interview with Andrew Morton discussing her heartbreak, Diana said, "I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way."

This interview was recorded, and in the tapes, Diana discussed meeting Charles and getting engaged, as well as the different moments in which she found clues of his affair with Camilla. The biggest incident came after she reportedly heard him confessing his love: "We always had discussions about Camilla, though. I once heard him on the telephone in his bath on his hand-held set, saying: 'Whatever happens, I will always love you.' I told him afterwards that I had listened at the door, and we had a filthy row" (via Daily Mail).

In another story that Diana relayed, she reportedly once found a bracelet Charles had made for Camilla, engraved with the initials of nicknames the latter two used for each other: G and F. According to Diana, Charles supposedly gave the gift to Camilla two days before he married Diana.

Princess Diana confronted her about the affair

If Camilla Parker Bowles was able to take out her rage on Andrew Parker Bowles' car, it was only fair that Princess Diana confronted her about her affair with Charles. It all happened during Camilla's sister's 40th birthday party, when after being brave enough to show up, Diana realized both Charles and Camilla were missing from the rest of the group.

Daily Mail shared a transcript of Diana and Morton's interview in which she told the story herself, remembering how Camilla tried to dismiss the argument. However, that didn't stop Diana from saying what was on her mind and making it very clear that she wasn't oblivious to the affair. "Camilla, I would just like you to know that I know exactly what is going on. I know what's going on between you and Charles, and I just want you to know that."

The biggest twist came when Camilla reportedly said, "You've got everything you ever wanted. You've got all the men in the world falling in love with you, and you've got two beautiful children. What more could you want?" The answer was very clear and the reason why the conversation started in the first place, as Diana responded, "I want my husband."

There were rumors of an illness

In 2004, rumors started about Camilla Parker Bowles being sick. It all began when Cindy Adams wrote for New York Post stating, "Camilla, a longtime smoker, appears to be battling cancer" (via Daily Mail). Because Adams had been the one to break the news regarding Jackie Onassis' illness before she passed away due to cancer in 1994, many didn't know whether to believe her or not. A source close to Camilla said, "This is absolutely and utterly untrue." Even though it was common knowledge that Camilla had started smoking when she was 15 years old, Charles had insisted on her giving up the habit. It was his office that dismissed the allegations because there was no further proof in Adams' article to corroborate the rumors about Camilla's illness being true.

Further, Camilla has taken an interest in fighting the disease. In 2021, she penned a letter for the Daily Mail, in which she wrote in part, "Like everyone, I have seen close family and friends fight cancer. Sadly, some have now gone, but others came out the other side."

There were talks of a secret child with King Charles

In 2022, an Australian man contacted the media claiming to be the secret child of King Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Simon Charles Dorante-Day was 8 months old when he was adopted and 56 years old when he shared his claims. He told 7News that he wanted to go through the proper legal channels in order to get a DNA test from both Charles and Camilla. After sharing his story, Dorante-Day claimed many filmmakers and documentarists had reached out to him looking to bring his story to the screen.

Even though this was the first time the media seemed interested in his story, Dorante-Day has been making these claims since the 1990s. The Daily Mail reported that Dorante-Day's adoptive grandparents used to work for the late queen, and it was his grandmother who brought up the idea that he was the child of Charles and Camilla.

As more people began to listen to his story, many started comparing photos to see if there was any veracity in what he said. Dorante-Day even shared some of the comparisons through his Facebook page. "I think the comparisons between myself and Tom Parker Bowles are some of the most interesting," he wrote. "But it's important for people to know that my belief that Charles and Camilla are my parents isn't based on photos."