It’s a tale that stretches the limits of credulity – a secret love child born to Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles as teenagers, but could there be any truth to the story of Simon Charles Dorante-Day?
The British-born engineer, 55, who now lives in Queensland, was conceived in 1965 and born the following April in Gosport, near Portsmouth. He claims that his adoptive grandmother told him the Duchess of Cornwall was his mother back in 1998.
Having since ‘done his research’, Simon is convinced he now has enough proof – along with his his ‘Windsor-like cheek-bones and teeth’ and ‘Camilla-style hair’ – that his claims are true. He has said a number of times that he would like a DNA test to prove his family link and wrote to the couple in 2012.
And this week, the father-of-nine shared a photo of his son to ‘prove’ they are related to the Royal Family, claiming the 14-year-old is the spitting image of a young Elizabeth II.
Dorante-Day insists he’s not ‘looking for a title’ or in it for the money – though he has recently set up a new business called ‘Royal Riffs’ selling handmade guitars ‘with that royal finish’ – and is ‘simply a man looking for my biological parents’.
Unsurprisingly, Charles and Camilla have never responded to his claims – but do they stack up? Here FEMAIL unpicks the theories he has presented so far and examines his evidence.
CLAIM: ADOPTIVE GRANDPARENTS WORKED FOR QUEEN AND PRINCE PHILIP
Dorante-Day asserts that, at the age of eight months, he was adopted by a local Portsmouth couple called Karen and David Day.
He says his adoptive grandparents, Winifred and Ernest Bowlden, had both worked for the Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9 aged 99, as a cook and a gardener in one of their royal households.
He claims Ernest received an Imperial Service Award for his work for Her Majesty, and that his adoptive grandmother told him many times that Charles and Camilla were his real parents, and that Camilla kept him until he was given up.
‘She didn’t just hint at it, she told me outright,’ he said in a previous interview.
Dorante-Day claims Camilla used protection officers and royal family connections to help her keep him a secret, but it was arranged that Winifred would have her daughter adopt him when he became ‘too old’.
VERDICT: LIKELY FALSE
While his grandparents may well have worked for the royal household, Dorante-Day claims his grandfather Ernest Bowlden received an Imperial Service Award for his work for the Queen.
However, he does not appear to be listed on any of the Queen’s Birthday or New Year’s honours lists since her coronation in 1953.
CLAIM: CHARLES AND CAMILLA BECAME CLOSE IN 1965 – AND CAMILLA DISAPPEARED FROM SOCIAL SCENE FOR EIGHT MONTHS
Dorante-Day claims his research suggests Charles and Camilla first became close in 1965, with one report alleging he said they met at Winston Churchill’s funeral in January of that year.
As he was born in April 1966, Dorante-Day would have been conceived in the summer of 1965. He claims in the months before he was born, Camilla disappeared from the social scene for at least nine months, while Charles was sent to Australia.
As a young boy, he claims he has recollections of being taken to houses in the Portsmouth area and would spend time with a woman he believes was Camilla, with his adoptive parents and royal protection officers waiting outside.
VERDICT: LIKELY FALSE
Charles, who was born on November 14, 1948, was 16 when he attended Winston Churchill’s funeral, along with 6,000 other guests. It’s not known if Camilla Shand – then aged 17 – was among them, and there’s no evidence the two met at the event.
At the time, Charles was studying at Gordonstoun school in Scotland, and in early February 1966, he travelled to Australia for two terms at Timbertop, the rural campus of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, where he remained until July 1966.
Meanwhile Camilla – who was raised in East Sussex and South Kensington – was a debuntante in London on March 25, 1965, and photographed throughout that year at balls and parties.
It is said that within just a few days of her coming out party, the future Duchess of Cornwall lost her virginity to a gentleman called Kevin Burke, which was allegedly what prevented her from marrying Prince Charles in her youth.
It is believed that Camilla and Burke dated for a year, with him describing it as ‘the best time’, adding: ‘I remained with Camilla all that year. I suppose we were in love. Then she ditched me.’ Camilla is then said to have begun a relationship with Rupert Hambro, of the banking dynasty before falling for Andrew Parker Bowles. Throughout this time she is not known to have exhibited any signs of pregnancy or birth.
It’s been widely reported that Charles and Camilla met at a polo match in Windsor Great Park in 1970. Legend has it that she introduced herself with the line: ‘You know, sir, my great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather – so how about it?’ – a reference to Edward VII and his mistress, Alice Keppel. She eventually married Charles in 2005, 10 years after her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995.
CLAIM: HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS ‘FICTITIOUS’
Dorante-Day claims his birth certificate is ‘complete rubbish’, alleging the hospital where it states he was born didn’t deliver a single baby during the decade he was born.
He also says the names given for his birth parents are ‘fictitious’ and that the documentation he has from his adoption is written in his adoptive mother’s handwriting.
Dorante-Day has said there are ‘lots of bits of evidence’ of this nature that he requires further proof to back up, such as handwriting analysis, before he takes it to court.
VERDICT: DIFFICULT TO VERIFY
According to a Quora thread, Dorante-Day has never disclosed the names on his birth certificate or the hospital in question, making it hard to verify his claims.
The poster also claimed that his theory is not probative anyway as ‘people do sometimes give birth unplanned in hospitals without maternity services if they present in labour too advanced to be moved’.
CLAIM: DORANTE-DAY AND FAMILY LOOK LIKE CHARLES AND CAMILLA
Dorante-Day regularly shares side-by-side comparison photos of himself and his children with members of the Royal Family, which he claims reveal a striking similarity.
On a photo of himself as a young man, he wrote: ‘Good quality shot – the Camilla style Hair doesn’t miss.’
Another acquaintance noted how much he looked like a young Prince William, while others said he shared the Queen’s bone structure.
Today he appeared on Sunrise claiming his son is the spitting image of a young Queen Elizabeth, telling hosts David Koch and Natalie Barr: ‘I think the evidence speaks for itself.’
Dorante-Day snapped a photo with his son Liam, 14, last week while on a fishing trip at Bribie Island. He then shared it to his Facebook page, where he often posts about his alleged blood relation to the royals.
‘I just shared it with the people on the page and a lady took the photo and changed it into black-and-white and rotated it and put it alongside the Queen,’ Mr Dorante-Day said. ‘I said every day, when I get up in the morning and the kids speak to me, the first thing I see when I turn around, is that, so it is always in my face.’
Dorante-Day has brown eyes, and according to reports, once claimed that his eye colour was changed in some kind of operation when he was small. Charles and Camilla both have blue eyes.
VERDICT: MATTER OF INTERPRETATION
Dorante-Day reportedly hasn’t disclosed his medical records for this period to confirm if his eye colour did change.
It is possible for children to have completely different eye colours than either of their parents, however darker colours tend to dominate. It isn’t common for blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child, but it is possible.
CLAIM: PRINCESS DIANA ‘KNEW OF HIS EXISTENCE’
In an interview with New Idea in February 2019, Dorante-Day said he believes Princess Diana knew of his birth and that she had been preparing to ‘go public’ before her death in 1997.
He said: ‘At the time, there were all sorts of rumours flying around about the Royal Family, and my existence was one of them.
‘I think Diana was at a point where she was finding out answers about her life, how she was wronged, and she was going to go public with it.’
VERDICT: IMPOSSIBLE TO VERIFY
While it’s not possible to verify if this were true, given Dorante-Day alleges he was born out of a love affair between Charles and Camilla while they were still in their teens, it begs the question why Diana would necessarily feel ‘wronged’ by his existence.
Charles only met Diana in 1977, at which point he was in a relationship with her sister Sarah. They reportedly next met in 1980, and married the following year – by which point Camilla was married to Andrew Parker Bowles.
According to Charles’ authorised biography, he began an affair with Camilla in 1986.