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Revisiting King Charles III’s Affair Scandal With Queen Camilla Ahead of Princess Diana Divorce

Revisiting King Charles III Affair and Cheating Scandal
Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles wed, Circa 2005 Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s royal relationship started with a very public cheating scandal.

While Charles and Camilla had been friends for years and briefly dated as teens, they went on to marry other people. The king exchanged vows with Princess Diana in 1981, nearly eight years after Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles.

Charles and Camilla remained friendly throughout their respective marriages, which each resulted in children. (Charles and Diana welcomed sons Prince William and Prince Harry, while Camilla shares son Tom and daughter Laura with Parker Bowles.)

Charles and Camilla’s kinship turned romantic before either of them filed for divorce. Rumors of an affair started swirling in 1986, seven years before the release of a transcript of a 1989 phone call between Charles and Camilla that featured several suggestive comments. At one point, Charles allegedly said he wanted to “live inside [Camilla’s] trousers” and joked about reincarnating as a tampon. The incident was henceforth nicknamed Camillagate or Tampongate.

Prince Charles Duchess Camilla Relationship Timeline

Related: King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s Relationship Timeline

Charles eventually admitted that he had been unfaithful during a televised interview in 1994.

“Yes,” Charles said when asked whether he had committed infidelity. “[Not] until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.”

Revisiting King Charles III Affair and Cheating Scandal
Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles Reveal Her Engagement Ring, Circa 1981 Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Charles, however, denied to name Camilla at the time despite reports that she was the person with whom he had an affair.

The interview took place amid Charles and Diana’s separation, which was announced in 1992. Diana, for her part, broke her silence in her own bombshell interview.

“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana infamously said in a 1995 interview with BBC’s Panorama when asked whether Camilla contributed to her split from Charles.

Biggest Royal Family Scandals Through Years

Related: Biggest Royal Family Scandals Through the Years

Diana further explained how the royal family had allegedly handled her separation.

“I think everybody was very anxious because they could see there were complications but didn’t want to interfere but were there [and] made it known that they were there if required,” the late Princess of Wales claimed before detailing how she and Charles had been living apart. “When we went abroad, we had separate apartments, albeit we were on the same floor, so of course that was leaked [by the press] and that caused complications, but Charles and I had our duty to perform and that was paramount.”

After four years of living separately, Charles and Diana formally filed for divorce, and their split was finalized in 1996. They were committed to coparenting William and Harry until Diana’s unexpected death one year later. Diana and then-partner Dodi Al-Fayed were killed during a car crash in Paris in August 1997. Diana was 36 at the time.

Charles and Camilla ultimately wed in April 2005 in a civil ceremony. They were crowned king and queen in May 2023 after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the year prior.

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