The True Story Behind the Love Quadrangle Among Charles, Camilla, Anne, and Andrew

Emma Baty
Photo credit: Des Willie / Netflix

From Cosmopolitan

In season 3 of The Crown, there's no sign of Princess Diana, so if you were waiting to hear all about how that royal love story started, you're out of luck. However, the season does explore how a young Prince Charles first came into contact Camilla Shand (now Camilla Parker Bowles, his second wife).

Basically, the show claims Charles and Camilla were only dating because she was on a break from her on-again-off-again boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles. And it also shows that Princess Anne, Charles' sister, dated Andrew while he and Camilla were on a break. A royal love quadrangle!! Who knew!! Did it actually happen though? Here's what we know.

First, Charles and Camilla

Photo credit: Des Willie

Yes, okay, so the show depicts Charles and Camilla meeting by locking eyes during a polo match in which Charles was playing against Camilla's then-boyfriend Andrew. Poetic!

Earlier in the episode, Camilla and Andrew have an argument an argument about another woman, and Camilla says, “You deserve to know how it feels.” Soon enough, she's hanging out with Prince Charles, and they start dating.

IRL, the two of them did actually meet at a polo match and started dating afterward. He was 22 and she was 24.

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Biographer Penny Junor wrote, "So when [Camilla] 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."

Okay, so what about Anne and Andrew?

The show depicts the two of them meeting at a party, and then going home together afterward. But she then finds out he has been dating Camilla, and a star royal love quadrangle is born.

Princess Anne did date Andrew for a while when he and Camilla were on a break. She was 20, and he was 31.

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Andrew was Anne's first boyfriend, and shortly after they broke up, he and Camilla got engaged, so it must not have been that serious, right? The Queen did invite Andrew to Windsor Castle while he and Anne were dating, but they wouldn't have been able to get married anyways because he was Catholic.

How did this all end?

In the show, Lord Mountbatten and the Queen Mother decide they don't want Charles to date, so they concoct a plan to send him on a military excursion so they'd be forced to break up. This didn't actually happen, according to Christopher Wilson, the author of A Greater Love: Charles and Camilla, “I can discount them cooking up any kind of plot.” Charles was in the military, so him getting called to duty was inevitable.

With Charles out of the way, Camilla and Andrew got married in 1973.

Photo credit: Frank Barratt - Getty Images

So what happened after that?

As history tells us, Charles went on to marry Diana Spencer, and Princess Anne married a man named Mark Phillips.

Charles and Diana eventually divorced, as did Andrew and Camilla, and now Charles and Camilla are now married. Weirdly, exes Anne and Andrew still keep in touch.

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