Anne Robinson confirms she is in relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles (2024)

As the so-called “Queen of Mean” and the former husband of the actual Queen, they have been at pains to keep their romance under wraps.

But Anne Robinson, 79, the television presenter, has confirmed that she is in a relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles, 84.

Asked whether she was dating the former Household Cavalry officer, who was married to the Queen for 22 years, she gave a characteristically sharp response: “Yes. Full stop. Mind your own business.”

Robinson acknowledged that she had been out of the dating game for some time, noting: “If you don’t drink, you’re not as reckless, are you?”

But she told Saga magazine: “I’m a great believer in surprising yourself by taking risks.

“Personally and professionally. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If the worst that can happen is you get some egg on your face, that’s not terrible is it?”

On why dating can be easier in older age, she added: “You’re much more selective about what you’re going to get into a tizz about. Nothing matters that much. You’re not going to change.”

The pair are thought to have been dating for about 20 months but have gone out of their way to avoid being seen together in public. Not for nothing is Mr Parker Bowles known for his discretion.

Yet their unlikely romance has been an open secret within certain society circles in the Cotswolds, where both maintain their own homes.

The news leaked out in unconfirmed reports last December, although at the time, both remained tight-lipped.

A mutual friend revealed: “They have judiciously avoided being photographed together as they both wanted to keep this quiet for as long as possible.

“Annie proudly tells everyone she is the daughter of a market trader chicken-seller and is as far removed from a toff as could be. Frankly, it beats any storyline The Crown could possibly come up with.”

The source told The Sun that she remained “fiercely independent and self-sufficient”, adding that there was “no chance” of the pair cohabiting.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, perhaps the couple might be more amenable to being photographed together at their favoured racetracks and restaurants.

They are understood to have met at a lunch Robinson hosted for her brother, Peter, and his old school friends in around September 2022.

Their unlikely matchmaker is said to have been one of her neighbours, Father Felix Stevens, a retired monk, who attended Ampleforth, the North Yorkshire boarding school, with Robinson’s brother and suggested she include fellow alumni Parker Bowles on the guest list.

Since then, the duo have conducted their fledgling romance behind closed doors, shuttling back and forth between each other’s homes some 30 miles apart and venturing out together only to attend private dinner parties with friends, Lord Cameron, the foreign secretary, among them.

The Queen is said to have been initially amused by the pairing but also supportive.

On the surface, they appear an unlikely match: she the Lancashire-born daughter of a market trader known for her icy put-downs and he, the aristocratic cavalry officer and father of the Queen’s two children.

Mr Parker Bowles became so well known for his philandering that Dame Jilly Cooper, an old friend of the Queen, said that he was one of the inspirations for her fictional seducer Rupert Campbell-Black, in the Rutshire Chronicles.

But the couple have much in common. Both have been marriedtwice and have much-cherished children and grandchildren. Both love the countryside, hunting and racing.

Mr Parker Bowles married Camilla in 1973, much to the frustration of the then Prince Charles, who had already fallen for her.

They had two children, Tom Parker Bowles, now 49, and Laura Lopes, 46, before divorcing in 1995. While Camilla returned to Charles, Parker Bowles married garden designer Rosemary Pitman in 1996, remaining with her until she died of cancer in 2010.

Robinson met her first husband, Charles Wilson, while working as a journalist at the Daily Mail.

The couple married in 1968 but divorced five years later, when Wilson was granted custody of their daughter, Emma, against the backdrop of Robinson’s heavy drinking.

She married her second husband, John Penrose, another journalist, in 1980. They divorced in 2007, when Robinson was at the height of her fame presenting The Weakest Link.

“No mother puts her son on her knee and teaches him what to do when he grows up and marries someone who earns more money and might even be smarter than him,” she told the Daily Mail in 2021.

“There are few happy husbands under those circ*mstances, and I am astonished that Penrose and I got as far as we did.”

Robinson has remained friends with both of her former husbands.

In 2017, she told the BBC she was a “committee of one” but extolled the benefits of sex in her 70s.

“I hope all women my age are having sex, why wouldn’t they be? It’s what keeps me young,” she said.

Several years earlier, she told Radio 4: “It is quite hard at my age to find someone that punches at your weight. I am quite demanding.”

She vowed not to marry a third time, insisting it was “just not necessary”.

Anne Robinson confirms she is in relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles (2024)
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