'The Crown' Season 3 Episode 9: Prince Charles, Camilla Shand, Andrew Parker-Bowles and Princess Anne did create a quadruple mess!
The story contains spoilers from 'The Crown' Season 3 Episode 9 — 'Imbroglio'.
Relationships are complicated. And when royal families are involved, it can be even more tangled and tortuous. Episode 9 hints at one such relationship mess where Prince Charles is in love with Camilla Shand, but she is "obsessed" with Andrew Parker-Bowles and the latter has had an on-and-off fling with Princess Anne. Poof!
At Duke of Windsor's funeral, Wallis Simpson gifts Prince Charles a pocket watch and a compass with the message: "No excuse for going in the wrong direction." Charles shares a secret about his girlfriend and it is then that she gives him a piece of her mind.
Wallis: Is she the one?
Wallis: Then if I may offer two pieces of advice: Never turn your back on true love. Despite all the sacrifices and all the pain, David and I never once regretted it.
Charles: Thank you, and the second?
Wallis: Watch out for your family.
Charles: They mean well.
Wallis: No, they don't.
The conversation perfectly elucidates how the royal family has orchestrated a set of messed up relationships. Cracks in the family are beginning to form when Camilla tells Wallis she saw the black widow and calls her a "funny old crow." Charles then tells her how he feels about his family and confesses he feels he is the replacement of the Duke of Windsor.
"I looked at them as I was leaving and I thought, that's what he must have looked to them. He was brighter, wittier, more independent of thought. So they united against him. In that moment, they looked at me in some god-awful way and I realized I have just replaced him."
Prince Charles confesses his love with to Camilla as he says that the "sense of safety and the loneliness all vanished. And it's all rather miraculous." She, however, seems to be confused about her feelings. Moreover, when Lord Mountbatten comes to know about Charles' real feelings towards Camilla, he hatches a plot to separate the two.
"My fault entirely. I never expected him to develop feelings," he tells Queen Mother, who says she will handle the Shands and the Parker-Bowles family while lets Mountbatten handle Charles by getting him posted overseas as apparently, it "will bring him back to his senses." However, the plot is fictionalized as Queen Mother could not stand Mountbatten and it seems highly unlikely she would plan a break-up with him. Moreover, it isn't likely that Mountbatten would have got the overseas tour 'fixed'.
In the Netflix series, a perplexed Prince Charles comes from Dartmouth to see the Queen. He asks: "Eight months in the Carribbean. I'm not happy about it. Did you arrange it? To break me up with Camilla Shand." "Why would we do that?" the Queen asks to which he answers: "Simply because it amuses people in this family to separate two people who are perfectly happy."
When the Queen orders to meet Lord Mountbatten and Queen Mother, they show her the real picture of Andrew Parker-Bowles' involvement with Princess Anne and Camilla Shand. Ultimately, Prince Charles' heart is broken even as Camilla tells him: "Whatever anyone tells you, you must know that my feelings for you are real. We are going this way because apparently this will be better for everyone else. In the long run."
Camilla and Andrew Parker-Bowles get married in July 1973. Prince Charles is left heartbroken. Yes, Camilla dated Andrew before meeting Charles and the former dated Princess Anne is his "off" parts of his on-and-off relationship with Camilla. And the episode, rightfully titled 'Imbroglio' shows how the royals messed up their love lives and turned it into an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.