Lady Diana (†36) and Prince Charles (70) split up twenty-six years ago. A further six years passed before Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla (71) first appeared in public as a couple. They left the Ritz Hotel in London together on 28th January 1999, after having attended Camilla's sister's 50th birthday party.
Charles and Camilla's "debut" as a couple
Prince Charles said a quick goodbye to Camilla's children, Laura and Tom, before heading out into phalanx of paparazzi, with cameras flashing everywhere. A beaming Charles briefly lost sight of Camilla amongst all the commotion, but quickly found her, taking her arm and escorting her to their car.
He then quickly walked around the car to the opposite door, smiled once more for the cameras, before climbing into the car and disappearing.
This carefully choreographed "coming out", which was also known as "Operation Ritz", signalled that Charles and Camilla were finally officially in a relationship. Around two hundred photographers were positioned outside the Ritz to capture the event, a PR campaign planned with military precision by Mark Bolland, who was deputy private secretary at that time.
The photos made the front pages of all the major British newspapers.
Charles and Camilla: still a royal scandal?
Camilla and Charles were always very careful not to appear in public together before their "coming out". The Duchess of Cornwall was portrayed as a homewrecker and was blamed for the failure of Charles and Diana's marriage. Charles and Camilla's relationship in one of the biggest royal scandals of all time.
Charles and Camilla got married in Windsor Town Hall in April 2005 and Camilla became the Duchess of Cornwall and thus a member of the Royal Family.
Camilla did not accompany Charles to public events for years after their first public appearance as a couple, but over the years, the Duchess of Cornwall has started to appear at his side more regularly. The Clarence House Instagram account frequently posts pictures of them together, as well as posting on the charitable work that Charles and Camilla carry out individually.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that both Prince William (36) and Prince Harry (34) approve of their step-mother, in fact they even love her. Prince Harry revealed in 2005 that he was delighted to see his father so happy with Camilla, adding, "William and I love her to bits". And, in all honesty, if William and Harry have embraced her as a member of their family, maybe it is about time that the British public embraces her as a member of the Royal Family, too.