King Charles III has officially been crowned king on Coronation day at Westminster Abbey, making history as the first previously divorced man to take the throne.
Thousands of people witnessed the ceremony, with millions tuning in from around the world.
In addition to the king’s crowning, the coronation marked another historic day for the royal family as Queen Consort Camilla received a title change and became a queen herself.
This move breaks one of the final wishes from his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The rocky start to the royal love story
Charles’ decision to follow his own rules as the new sovereign reflects a changing of the guards for the royals decades after Camilla became known as the “mistress who very publicly broke up the king’s first marriage” to Princess Diana.
Despite being married for 18 years, Camilla and Charles’ love story began decades ago and the couple has always had a penchant for following their own hearts.
A long-standing love affair
According to Christopher Andersen, author of The King: The Life of Charles III, Camilla (formerly Camilla Shand) was an “extremely wealthy aristocrat” and the granddaughter of a baron.
She met Charles at a polo match in 1970, and they were later formally introduced at a party.
Camilla’s great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, was Edward VII’s mistress, which she jokingly brought up to Charles during their first meeting.
Charles, Andrew, and Camilla traveled in the same social circles, and the future king became the godfather to Camilla and Andrew’s son, Tom.
They also have a daughter, Laura. When Charles first met Diana Spencer in the late ’70s, he was dating her sister, Sarah.
By 1981, Charles and Diana announced their engagement, which was followed shortly after with the royal wedding on July 29 in which Camilla attended.
Infidelity and divorce
Reports of Charles and Camilla rekindling their romance while each were still married and raising families surfaced in the 80s.
In 1993, “Camillagate” hit the palace when an intimate phone call between Charles and Camilla recorded in 1989 was leaked.
Camilla filed for divorce from her husband in January 1995, and Princess Diana and Charles divorced the following year.
Forgiveness and a private ceremony
It took years for many in Britain to forgive Charles, whose admitted infidelity and long-time links to Camilla torpedoed his marriage to Princess Diana.
The couple made their first public appearance together in 1999, and in 2005 they said “I do” in a private ceremony.
The Archbishop of Canterbury at the time made them both get down on their knees and beg to be forgiven for their “manifold sins and wickedness.”
From mistress to queen
Camilla has worked tirelessly to win public approval after being caught in the middle of a royal affair.
She supports a wide range of charities, including victims of domestic abuse, literacy programs, and animal welfare agencies. Although she was once a controversial figure, Camilla has proven herself worthy of the title of Queen Consort.
As Andersen said, “Camilla obviously experienced a surge in popularity after Queen Elizabeth endorsed her as Queen Consort.”
Charles’ decision to make Camilla a queen reflects a changing of the guards for the royals.
She will be the first divorced woman ever to be crowned queen, and Charles will be the first divorced man ever to be crowned king.
Despite their rocky start, Charles and Camilla’s love story has endured, and they have shown that age and time cannot weaken their bond.
Many people have criticized their relationship and the idea of Camilla becoming queen, but Charles has been resolute in his love for her and his belief that she would make a wonderful queen.
It remains to be seen how the public will receive Camilla as queen, but the royal family seems to have accepted her as one of their own.
She has been a constant presence by Charles’ side at public events, and they have carried out many charitable endeavors together.
Charles has even referred to her as his “rock” and his “soulmate,” showing just how important she is to him.