Did Princess Anne and Andrew Parker Bowles Date, Per 'The Crown'?

It's the other royal love triangle.

Anne Parker-bowles
(Image credit: Tim Graham)

Most people, royal fans or otherwise, already know about the royal love triangle between Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles. The consequent scandal prompted two high-profile divorces and one of the messiest breakups in royal history. But one of the lesser known royal love triangles—which dovetails with that one—is the one between Princess Anne (Charles' sister), Andrew Parker Bowles, (opens in new tab) and Camilla, who would later go on to be Andrew's wife, and then ex-wife. As The Crown is expected to depict in season three, (opens in new tab) Anne and Andrew dated while Andrew and Camilla were off and on, and Anne was reportedly the reason that Andrew (played by Andrew Buchan) (opens in new tab) and Camilla broke up. So what's the true story behind the fictional depiction?

Andrew dated both Camilla and Anne.

Andrew, both before and during his marriage to Camilla, was known for not being faithful. Apparently, before getting engaged to Camilla but while the couple was still dating, Andrew was seen out on a number of occasions with Anne. This apparently infuriated Camilla and caused her to explore her relationship with Charles (in a "tit-for-tat" move to teach Andrew a lesson).

Biographer Penny Junor explained (opens in new tab), "So when she was introduced to Charles and he thought she was pretty special...he thought she was a bit of alright and she thought, 'Andrew is at the moment off with Princess Anne, you know her brother, teach Andrew a lesson.' So she had a fling with Charles."

But Anne and Andrew were only together briefly.

It's not totally clear how serious the relationship between Anne and Andrew was, but after they broke up, Andrew went on to marry Camilla (so it's likely that was the stronger relationship). Even though the Queen apparently invited (opens in new tab) Andrew to Windsor Castle while Anne and Andrew were dating, Anne wouldn't have been able to marry Andrew for the very simple reason that he was Catholic. Some sources say that this led to heartache on Anne's part, but that's probably speculation. Andrew was her first boyfriend, so that may have played a part in how outsiders saw the relationship.

Anne With Parker-bowles

(Image credit: Tim Graham)

Anne and Andrew's relationship shows up in The Crown.

Spoilers for season three. Andrew doesn't get a whole lot of screen time in The Crown season three (he'll probably get more in season four, which will see the extramarital affair between Charles and Camilla), but when he does, it's his relationship with Princess Anne that's in focus. There's really no way we could know about the intimate details of their IRL relationship, but season three presents the narrative that the relationship is largely sexual, with Andrew telling Anne he can't promise her anything romantically and is concerned about taking advantage of her. (Anne assures him that he isn't.)

Throughout season three, Andrew's role is to be more of a plot device than anything else—to be one-half of the Andrew/Camilla duo that's entangled with the Anne/Charles sibling duo at first, and, later, to take Camilla away from Charles—and there's not a lot of character development to that end. As Camilla and Charles continue to gravitate towards one another in season four, however, with disastrous consequences, it's likely that he'll get more of a role as his marriage breaks down.

Anne and Andrew keep in touch.

What's hilarious is that the exes are friends and see each other regularly, particularly at horse racing and other social events:

Hat, Fedora, Headgear, Fashion accessory, Cowboy hat, Recreation, Outerwear,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hat, Event, Tradition, Fashion accessory, Recreation, Fedora,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hat, Headgear, Fashion accessory, Human, Fedora, Recreation, Cowboy hat, Suit, Tourism,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fashion, Hat, Outerwear, Headgear, Suit, Formal wear, Uniform, Event, Gesture, Dress,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Community, Event, Fun, Photography, Conversation,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So it seems like there's no bad blood between them. (Camilla and Andrew are also, apparently, amicable too.)

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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.