One of the more dramatic plot points of season 3 of The Crown? The relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Shand (later Camilla Parker Bowles) and the disapproval that the relationship met with from the British royal family—up to and including Queen Elizabeth. While some observers believe that the family had an active role in splitting the pair up, the reality is a bit murkier.
There have been a number of rumors that Charles was deliberately separated from Camilla via an overseas assignment—but other rumors suggest that the two separated because Camilla was still in love with her future husband, Andrew Parker Bowles. What does seem pretty clear, though, is that Charles' family never really cared for Camilla as a suitable match for the future king. Why?
The royal family saw Camilla as a "learning experience" for Charles.
Charles' uncle, Lord Mountbatten, apparently wrote in a letter to his nephew: "I think it is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage." Camilla had dated several men by that point and was on and off with Andrew, so that diminished her suitability, as it were. (Charles, on the other hand, was encouraged to play the field, the irony of which isn't lost on anyone.)
Camilla was also seen as "earthy," which could mean "wholesome," or more likely could just be a synonym for "common," since she wasn't the daughter of a titled family (unlike Diana, the daughter of an earl). So Camilla was seen as something of an early test run relationship for Charles, but not someone he would marry. He, on the other hand, fell hard and fast for her and pined for her even after the two broke up.
The royals definitely wanted Camilla gone later on.
Long after both Charles and Camilla went on to marry other people, the two resumed an affair—which, as we all know, led to two divorces and a royal scandal. The royal family (in particular, Queen Elizabeth) allegedly wanted Camilla "gone" after the two were still seeing each other after their respective divorces.
Charles, in response, said that Camilla's presence in his life was "non-negotiable." Things escalated: The Queen apparently called Camilla "that wicked woman" and may even have said that Camilla wasn't allowed to come to Buckingham Palace (this may also had something to do with her respect for Princess Diana, as mother of William and Harry). Spoiler alert: Charles was steadfast in his feelings, and over time, Camilla's approval with the public began to rise. The two were married in 2005, with the Queen's blessing.
So, a happy ending for those two! But a very turbulent journey, which is sure to be dramatized in seasons three and four of The Crown.
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