People: Feb. 8, 1999

MUCH-AWAITED 15 SECONDS

On Jan. 28, 1999, just before midnight and by careful plan, a man with big ears exited the Ritz Hotel in London with his longtime girlfriend after attending a birthday party for her sister. Side by side, they waited momentarily on the curb for their car. This event was attended by 200 photographers, all there to capture the duo's first public appearance as a couple, and heralded by a British paper as a "Royal Night of History." Thus was CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES officially sanctioned the Royal Girlfriend by PRINCE CHARLES. Nothing like spontaneity to spark up a romance.

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