Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (née Shand, on 17 July 1947) is the second wife of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent to the thrones of 16 independent states. Since her marriage to the Prince of Wales, Camilla has been legally titled as The Princess of Wales, though she uses one of her other titles Duchess of Cornwall in all parts of the United Kingdom save for Scotland, where she is titled as Duchess of Rothesay. This unconventional use of titles was adopted to avoid conflict with the princely title closely identified with the Prince of Wales' first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Though a long time paramour of Prince Charles, Camilla was herself previously married, and had two children during the union. She emerged into the public eye when it was revealed during the idiomatically dubbed War of the Waleses that it was she who was the Prince of Wales' lover. Following his divorce from the highly popular Diana, Clarence House (Charles' household) worked on Camilla's public relations, and she gradually became a part of royal life. She today supports the Prince of Wales in his official duties, and carries out some engagements of her own.
Early life and first marriage
Born in the village of Plumpton
, on 17 July 1947, Camilla was raised in a home opposite the Plumpton Racecourse with her parents, Major Bruce Shand
(a British Army
officer turned wine
merchant) and The Honourable Rosalind Cubitt (eldest child of Roland Calvert Cubitt, Baron Ashcombe
), as well as her brother, Mark
, and sister, Annabel. Camilla attended Dumbrells School in Sussex
, as well as Queen's Gate School
, and later the Mon Fertile finishing school
. Following her education, she worked for a year at the offices of designers Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler.
Camilla became an avid equestrian, and participated in fox hunting, and, in 1974, married Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she had two children: Tom, born in the year of Camilla's marriage and a godson of Prince Charles, and Laura, born in 1978, both of whom were raised in their father's Roman Catholic faith. Camilla and Parker Bowles divorced on 3 March 1995.
Relationship with the Prince of Wales
The relationship between Camilla and the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
began when they met at a polo
match in 1970. Though she became one of the numerous girlfriends of Charles, and he was said to have desired to marry her, Camilla was seen by royal courtiers as an unsuitable match for the future king. Robert Lacey
wrote in his 2002 book, Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
, that Charles had met Camilla too early, and that he had not asked her to wait for him when he went overseas for military duties in 1972.
In the 1970s, Camilla's sister, Annabel, worked as an artist in New York
, New York
. At the same time, Charles was acting as Colonel-in-Chief
of the Royal Regiment of Wales
, and would annually visit the regiment in New York, where he met Annabel. Camilla was also known to have visited her sister in New York during this period. It was thus said that it was then that the couple resumed their affair, and that it continued throughout the Prince's engagement, including an intimate meeting between the two on the night before Charles' marraige to Diana. However, though the timing of these tangled relationships has been much discussed and dissected, reliable published reports indicate that they renewed their romantic relationship in the early 1980s.
The affair became public knowledge a decade later, with the publication of Diana: Her True Story, followed by the Camillagate scandal, wherein an intimate telephone conversation between Camilla and Charles was secretly recorded and the transcripts published in the tabloids. With the extra-marital relationship in the open, Diana gave a candid interview on the BBC programme Panorama, in which she blamed the relationship between Camilla, whom she privately referred to as "the Rottweiler", and the Prince of Wales as the reason for the break up of her own marriage, saying: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded. Though Camilla kept up a low profile at this time, she was made unpopular by these revalations, which her friends denied, suggesting that everything was a tabloid media invention that had become an urban myth. However, it was confirmed by Charles in a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby that the relationship between he and Camilla resumed after their respective marriages. Following this, the Parker Bowleses announced their own divorce in 1995; they had been living apart for some time, and a year later Andrew Parker Bowles married Rosemary Pitman.
Charles attempted to make his relationship with Camilla more public and accepted, having her become his unofficial, occasional companion at events. This coming out temporarily ceased at the time of the Princess of Wales' death, but Camilla and Charles were photographed in public together in 1999, following a birthday party for Parker-Bowles' sister, Annabel Elliott; this was regarded as a sign that the relationship was now official, a feeling that was further enhanced when Camilla met the Queen in June 2000. Though he maintined her residence in Wiltshire, Camilla then moved into Charles' household in 2003, resulting in decorative changes to both homes, though Buckingham Palace was explicit in pointing out that public funds had not been used for the renovations. In 2005, the media reported that Charles had also bought Camilla jewelry and a designer wardrobe. Marriage between the couple remained elusive, however: As the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the prospect of Charles marrying a divorceé, and one with whom he had conducted a relationship, was seen as controversial. Opinion of both the public and the church shifted, though, to a point where civil marriage was seen as an agreeable solution.
Second engagement and marriage
On 10 February 2005, it was announced by Clarence House
that Camilla and the Prince of Wales were engaged; Camilla had been presented with an engagement ring
that had belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
. The marriage was to have been on 8 April of that year, and was to take place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle
, with a subsequent religious blessing at St George's Chapel
. But, because the conduct of a civil marriage at Windsor Castle would oblige the venue to thereafter be available to anyone wishing to be married there, the location was changed to the Windsor Guildhall
. On 4 April it was announced that the marriage would be delayed by one day to allow for the Prince of Wales and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II
. As Charles' parents did not attend the marriage ceremony (the Queen's reluctance to attend arising from her position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England
), neither did Camilla's; her children, instead, acted as witnesses of the union. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did, however, attend service of blessing, and held a reception for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle, afterwards. Following the wedding, the couple travelled to the Prince's country home in Scotland
, and carried out their first public duties as a couple during their honeymoon.
Life as Duchess of Cornwall
After becoming Princess of Wales, the Duchess was placed as the second highest ranking female royal in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after the Queen), and as typically fifth or sixth in other realms' precedence orders, following the Queen, the relevant viceroy, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. It was revealed, though, that the royal order of precedence for private occasions had Camilla placed fourth, after the Queen, the Princess Royal, and Princess Alexandra. Her degree of acceptance within the Royal Family was shown in the decision to allow Camilla to borrow and wear one of the tiaras of the late Queen Mother, and she also was appointed to the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, two years after her second marriage.
Though no details were publicly released, it was confirmed in March 2007 that Camilla had undergone a hysterectomy, the same year that marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana. Though she had initially accepted the offer from her step-sons, after further discussion and advice, Camilla declined to attend the memorial service held on 31 August, stating that she wished not to "divert attention from the purpose of the occasion which is to focus on the life and service of Diana. In October, Camilla's son, and his wife, Sara, had a daughter; and, in January of the following year, Camilla's daughter gave birth to her own.
Initially, the Duchess of Cornwall's royal duties invoved accompanying the Prince of Wales on his official obligations. However, Camilla was soon performing her own solo appearances, the first being a visit to a hospital in Southampton
, and she attended the Trooping the Colour
for the first time in June 2005, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
afterwards. The same year, she made her innagural overseas tour to the United States
, and, in March of the following year, the Prince and Duchess undertook a trip through Egypt
, Saudi Arabia
, and India
, throughout which Camilla was praised for her persistence and down-to-earth attitude. She also conducted the naming ceremony
for HMS Astute
on 8 June 2007, and, on 10 December, she did the same for the new Cunard cruise ship
, MS Queen Victoria
, it being said that the Queen had been surprised by Cunard's invitation.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 17 July 1947 4 July 1973: Miss Camilla Rosemary Shand
- 4 July 1973 3 March 1995: Mrs Andrew Parker Bowles
- 3 March 1995 9 April 2005: Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles
- Since 9 April 2005 : Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall
- Since 9 April 2005 (for Scotland): Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay
Camilla's style and title in full: Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland'.
Because the title of Princess of Wales remains strongly associated with the previous holder of that title, Diana, Camilla is referred to with the feminine form of her husband's subsidiary title, Duke of Cornwall. Also, unless a specific Act of Parliament is passed in the United Kingdom to the contrary, Camilla will, upon the acession of her husband, legally be titled as Queen. However, it has been indicated that when the Prince of Wales acceeds to the throne, Camilla will remain styled as Her Royal Highness, with the title of The Princess Consort. This decision may alter with shifts in popular opinion before Charles' coronation; historian Sir Roy Strong felt that Camilla will be crowned as Queen.
Honorary military appointments
Following her marriage to Prince Charles, Camilla was appointed by the Queen to act as honorary head of various regiments in the British Army
, Royal Navy
, and Royal Air Force
. When The Rifles
, of which the Duchess is Royal Colonel, lost four soldiers, and others were injured, during the Iraq War
, Camilla sent a hand-written letter to each of the wounded and to the families of those who died, along with the gift of fine scotch
, and an invitation to her home.
The Duchess of Cornwall holds the following military appointments:
- Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion of The Rifles
- Commodore-in-Chief of the Naval Medical Services
- Lady sponsor of HMS Astute
- Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Halton
- Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Leeming
On the Duchess' 58th birthday, Clarence House announced that Camilla had been granted by the Queen a coat of arms
for her own personal use. It was reported that the Queen, Charles, and Camilla all took a "keen interest" in the arms' creation, and they were prepared by Peter Gwynn-Jones
, Garter Principal King of Arms
According to genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner
, the Duchess of Cornwall's ancestry is predominantly French
, and Scottish
. Through her French lineage, some Camilla's maternal line great-great-grandmother was Sophia Mary MacNab of Hamilton, Ontario
, who was herself the descendant of 17th century immigrants to Quebec
, daughter of Sir Allan MacNab
, and wife of William Coutts Keppel, Earl of Albermarle
. The Keppel's son, George, was husband to Alice Edmonstone
, who was the mistress
of King Edward VII
, himself the great-great-grandfather of Prince Charles. Thus, Camilla and Charles are ninth cousins once removed. This same lineage makes Camilla a distant relation of Celine Dion
, while her bloodline is also connected to King Charles II
, through his illigitimate son, Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond
; Thomas Cubitt
, prominent Victorian builder; and, through the Earl of Albermarle, Judith Keppel
, the first winner of the top prize on the television game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Books, letters, articles
- Sarah Bradford, Diana (Penguin Group, 2006) ISBN 13: 978-0-670-91678-8
- Jonathan Dimbleby, The Prince of Wales, a Biography (Little, Brown and Company, 1994) ISBN 0-316-91016-3
- Whitaker, James (4 April 2006). "Why I still haven't learned to love Camilla"Mirror.
- "Charles and Camilla Do America" (2 November 2005). Slate.
- Ginsburg, Marsha (Nov. 5, 2005). "What to know if you encounter a prince or a duchess" SFGate.
- Pierce, Andrew & Gibb, Frances (14 February 2005). "Camilla might still become Queen" The Times.
- Rebecca English, The Daily Mail (31 October 2007). (Royal Family Order)}