The highly anticipated fifth season of “The Crown” is out, and this time the reality-inspired Netflix drama covers the ‘90s, a time that featured scandals, tell-alls and eventually a rare royal divorce for the Prince and Princess of Wales.
But theirs wasn’t the only relationship that came to an end during that decade.
“The Crown’s” audience got its introduction to Parker Bowles in the show’s third season, when stage and screen star Andrew Buchan played the part. But there’s more to the man than what the series showed.
So, who is Andrew Parker Bowles?
His earliest royal ties
His father, Derek Henry Parker Bowles, was a close friend of the Queen Mother (Elizabeth, queen consort of King George VI), per Sally Bedell Smith's Prince Charles biography.
At the age of 13, Andrew forged his own connection to the royals. According to Vanity Fair, the young Parker Bowles served as page at Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation.
The military man
Parker Bowles graduated from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and joined the Royal Horse Guards, a calvary regiment of the British Army, per Blues and Royals regiment of the Royal Horse Guards, Vanity Fair.
Parker Bowles went on to become an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and retired in 1994, per the London Gazette, after achieving the rank of brigadier.
A royal romance of his own
As “The Crown's” loyal viewers will have noted, before settling down with Camilla, Parker Bowles reportedly dated Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, Anne.
In “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbably Life,” biographer Sally Bedell Smith notes that because Parker Bowles was Catholic, he was “an unlikely candidate” to marry Anne.
But she added that the one-time couple forged a strong bond all the same, writing, “Even when their romance eventually wound down, they remained lifelong friends.”
Marriage to Camilla
In 1973, Parker Bowles became serious with a past girlfriend — then known as Camilla Shand, who’d notably dated Prince Charles before accepting a marriage proposal from Parker Bowles.
By July of that same year, the couple wed.
They had two children together: A son, Tom, born in 1974, and a daughter, Laura, born in 1978.
Divorce and marriage to Rosemary Pitman
After scandals involving her rumored (and later admitted) affair with Britain’s heir to the throne, Camilla and Parker Bowles divorced in 1995. It was an amicable split, and they’ve remained friends in the years since their breakup and her remarriage.
His surprising connections to Charles
In addition to being the ex-husband of King Charles’ wife and the ex-boyfriend of his sister, Parker Bowles and the sovereign have other connections.
For one, they played polo with (and against) each other. They also have intertwined god-families. Parker Bowles is godfather to Charles’ niece, Zara. And King Charles is godfather to Parker Bowles’ son Tom, per Sally Bedell Smith’s “Prince Charles.”