King Charles and Queen Camilla’s relationship has been far from plain sailing, a plot to prevent them from marrying, an affair that rocked the globe and decades of hard work to show the world that they’re the real deal.
It’s not been easy and many had doubted that the pair would be able to pull off leading the British monarchy – but today proved that all the heartache and drama was worth it.
The moment they stepped out onto the Buckingham Palace balcony they showed the world their commitment – both to the job and to each other.
Their balcony appearance proved a stark contrast to their composure earlier on in the day, where the King looked solemn and nervous ahead of the two-hour Coronation service to the sheer delight of making it through the day without a glitch.
Throughout the ceremony he found it hard to relax, concentrating on the task at hand. And it wasn’t made easy, with long heavy robes, a crown weighing 2.23kg (4.9lbs), having to hold multiple regalia while millions of eyes were upon him.
Even on the procession route back, the King looked as though he was holding back – but he finally thawed out as he stepped out onto the Buckingham Palace balcony some 40 minutes after arriving at his official home.
Looking lovingly into Camilla’s eyes as they both stood wearing their robes and crowns, Charles’s face said a thousand words. After years of having people question whether this day would ever come, the pair proved them wrong.
Side by side the pair waved to the thousands of adoring fans who stood below, who were jubilant at catching sight of the newly crowned King and Queen firsthand.
Charles even sought to tease them, by prolonging his departure from the balcony and continuing to wave to the crowds despite every other family member heading back inside the warm and dry.
Their encore moment was a sight to behold as they captured the cheering crowd perfectly.
Dozens of pictures showed the sheer delight on both of their faces, as they faced the crowds and each other.
It proved a key moment in the course of their relationship, which has been far from plain sailing,
The couple started dating in the early 1970s, but it was fairly short-lived. According to journalist Jonathan Dimbleby, “he lost his heart to her almost immediately.”
When they met, Camilla was in a drawn-out on-and-off relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles, the man who would go on to become her first husband.
A number of concerns were raised about her suitability to marry the future King, including her dating history.
Camilla was married to Andrew until they divorced in 1995, and they have two children together, Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes.
A few years later, Prince Charles would famously marry Princess Diana in 1981 and later welcomed two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
But both marriages didn’t go the distance, with Camilla divorcing her husband in 1995 and Charles formally severing ties with Diana a year later.
The relationship breakdown was played out heavily in the press, and the future King came under heavy scrutiny after admitting his relationship with Camilla had resumed while he was married to Diana, stating in a 1994 interview that he had been faithful to her “until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried”.
Swathes of the public struggled to accept Charles and Camilla’s relationship following the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Camilla was reviled for years and had to work tirelessly to repair her public image. Even by the time of their wedding in 2005 she was still disliked by much of the public.
However, gradually things improved, culminating in the late Queen’s masterstroke of announcing her wish for Camilla to be known as Queen Consort when her son ascended the throne.
This wish has been carried out, and now the Coronation is over she will be known as Queen Camilla, or simply Queen.
Today marks a significant milestone in their relationship and is the final step in their protracted relationship. Their relief and sheer joy on the day shows the world just how much it means to them and how happy they are to have finally reached it.
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