The Crown season 4: Why did Prince Charles not marry Camilla in the first place?

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The Crown series four embarks on the 1980s where Margaret Thatcher (played by Gillian Anderson) reigned over the country as Prime Minister. What Netflix subscribers have been mainly focused on this series is the love triangle between Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Camilla Parker-Bowles. Following her divorce from the future king in 1996, the Princess of Wales had famously described their marriage as “overcrowded”in an interview with the BBC.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from The Crown.

In the new episodes of The Crown, viewers get to see how Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer as well as the build-up to their wedding and what married life was like for them.

However, the drama shows much disruption caused by the fact Prince Charles was still very much in love with ex-girlfriend Camilla.

In The Crown just a few days before their wedding, Charles had presented Camilla with a personalised bracelet with the initials “F and G”, which stood for their nicknames, Fred and Gladys.

During his marriage to Diana, Charles continued to regularly speak to and see Camilla.

In an interview with Jonathan Dimbleby in 1994, the Prince of Wales admitted he had an affair with Camilla in 1986 after his marriage had “broken down”.

During their marriage, Princess Diana also had an affair with Major James Hewitt. 

In a separate interview with Martin Bashire, referring to Hewitt, Diana said: “Yes, I adored him, yes, I was in love with him.”

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996 and people around the world were left stunned when she died in a car crash in Paris just a year later.

Charles and Camilla, who is now the Duchess of Cornwall, did eventually get married at an official at a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall in 2005.

Why did Prince Charles not marry Camilla in the first place?

There appear to be numerous reasons as to why Prince Charles didn’t marry Camilla first instead of Princess Diana, none of which have been officially confirmed by the British royal family.

The first theory is Camilla was already in a relationship with Andrew Parker-Bowles when she met Charles at a polo match in their 20s.

Her relationship with Andrew was turbulent and so she began seeing Charles while they were on a break.

But when he went to travel abroad for eight months with the Royal Navy, they called time on seeing one another.

In series three, Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) and the Queen Mother (Marion Bailey) are seen to be the ones who orchestrated this but there is no evidence that this actually happened.

Nevertheless, the royal family didn’t believe Camilla was suitable to marry the future king.

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In a letter to Prince Charles, Lord Mountbatten wrote: “In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down.

“But I think for a wife he should choose a suitable attractive and sweet-character girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for.”

As Camilla was known for being in an on-off relationship at the time with Andrew, she was not deemed a good match.

Prince Charles’s biographer Sally Bedell Smith said: “The conventions of the time called for the heir to the British throne to marry a woman who at least appeared to be virginal.”

Camilla then ended up marrying Andrew in 1973 and went on to have two children together, Laura and Tom Parker-Bowles.

This wasn’t to last though as in 1995, they announced their divorce, describing the reason in a statement as “a private matter.”

During this time, Prince Charles had married Princess Diana in 1981 and had children, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Diana was originally thought of as the better choice as she was the granddaughter of the Queen’s friend Lady Fermoy and unlike Camilla, didn’t have a known history of relationships.

Speaking of Camilla, royal expert Penny Junor wrote in the Daily Mail in 2017: “The Queen had wanted her [Camilla] gone before Diana’s death and felt no different after it.”

However, Prince Charles did eventually marry Camilla and the couple have now been married for 15 years.

The Crown is available to watch on Netflix.

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