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Ten facts about her life

On July 17, Camilla will be 75 years old. The Duchess Can’t Take Silence and Has No Graduation: What You Need to Know About the Future Queen Consort

Duchess Camilla has been the wife of Crown Prince Charles for 17 years.

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1. She was Prince Charles’ first love

For a long time, Camilla was decried as an adulteress, as the woman who contributed significantly to the failure of Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s marriage. However, this presentation falls short. It is true that Charles may have had a relationship with Camilla during his marriage to Diana. But the story between the two goes back further.

Prince Charles and Camilla met in 1971, according to biographer Gyles Brandreth. Charles, 22 years old and probably the most eligible bachelor in the country, was to meet the wealthy aristocrat’s daughter Camilla Shand through a mutual friend. The two shared a passion for polo and moved in the same circles. The young love lasted two years – then it ended abruptly.

2. Camilla was considered an unfit woman for a crown prince

The relationship between the Crown Prince and Camilla Shand came to an end when Charles was sent overseas to serve in the Royal Navy. That’s the official version. The unofficial version says that Camilla was considered “not a virgin enough” to marry the future King of Great Britain. So the transfer to the Royal Navy was just a good way to put an end to the flirtation.

Just a few months later, in July 1973, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, a British officer, instead. The marriage lasted until 1995. Charles, on the other hand, married Lady Diana Spencer instead in 1981 – a young noblewoman from a good family who had just turned 20 years old.

British officer Andrew Parker-Bowles with Camilla and children Tom and Laure in front of Buckingham Palace in February 1984. Parker-Bowles received a medal from the Queen that day.

British officer Andrew Parker-Bowles with Camilla and children Tom and Laure in front of Buckingham Palace in February 1984. Parker-Bowles received a medal from the Queen that day.

AP

Charles and Camilla’s love reignited soon after their marriage to Diana. Diana later reported this in her most famous interview in 1995: “There were three of us in our marriage. It was a little crowded.” The marriage was divorced a year later. It wasn’t until 1999, however, two years after Diana’s death, that Camilla and Charles made a public appearance as a couple. The wedding followed in 2005.

3. She has no degree and no high school diploma

Duchess Camilla attended excellent private schools in her youth, including boarding schools for girls in Switzerland and Paris. In 1965 she completed her education without a high school diploma. She also studied French for a semester at the Institut Britannique de Paris.

She then worked for a short time as an assistant at an interior design company. According to a former colleague, she was released there after a short time. Camilla is said to have been late for work after going dancing the night before. It was to remain one of the few stations of the later Duchess in the private sector: Soon after, she devoted herself entirely to life in high society.

4. Camilla is a mother of two – and her son was her best man

Camilla has two children from her first marriage: Tom Parker-Bowles and Laura, now Lopes. She now also has five biological grandchildren. Her daughter works as an art curator, her son is a gastro critic and author. The involvement with the royal family is also reflected in Camilla’s offspring: Charles is not only the current stepfather of her children, but also the godfather of her son Tom.

Camilla and Charles’ children weren’t initially said to have a good relationship. But when her parents tied the knot in 2005 after decades of hide-and-seek, they shared an honor: Prince William and Tom Parker Bowles officiated as their parents’ best man. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip stayed away from the civil ceremony, according to the BBC, as did Camilla’s parents.

On April 9, 2005, Charles and Camilla tied the knot.  Her sons were the best man.

On April 9, 2005, Charles and Camilla tied the knot. Her sons were the best man.

Alastair Grant/AP

5. The Duchess loves dogs

Like the Queen, Camilla is a dog lover. Unlike the queen, however, she is not fascinated by corgis, but by Jack Russell terriers: she herself has two dogs of this breed, their names are Beth and Bluebell. Of course, she is also the patron of an animal shelter in London, from where she adopted her two dogs.

Duchess Camilla with her Jack Russel Terrier Beth in December 2020 when visiting an animal shelter.

Duchess Camilla with her Jack Russel Terrier Beth in December 2020 when visiting an animal shelter.

Steve Parsons/Reuters

6. She renounced the title of Princess of Wales because of Lady Diana

By marrying Prince Charles, Camilla would be entitled to the title of Princess of Wales. But because the title is so closely associated with the late Lady Diana among the British people, Camilla decided against it. Her full title is Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles, 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. She prefers the title Duchess of Cornwall.

7. Charles and Camilla are distant relatives

As is often the case among nobles, there is a connection between the families of Charles and Camilla: they are ninth cousins, albeit in a displaced generation. Camilla was also distantly related to Lady Diana.

Charles and Camilla strolling around Seymour Island in March 2009.

Charles and Camilla strolling around Seymour Island in March 2009.

Guillermo Granja / Reuters

And then there’s another past connection: Alice Keppel, Camilla’s great-grandmother, was a longtime mistress of Charles’ great-great-grandfather, the son of Queen Victoria.

8. Small talk is her forte

In a 2017 interview with the Daily Mail, Camilla explained that she owes her parents the ability to hold a conversation in any situation. Her parents would have dragged her to the table at boring dinner parties. As soon as it was quiet, her mother said: “Talk! I don’t care what you guys talk about. Talk about the budgie or your pony, but keep the conversation going.”

This ability benefits her today in royal duties: “I was never able not to speak. It’s in my nature not to allow silence.”

Prince Charles and Camilla on a visit to Waitangi, Ne Zealand, in November 2020.

Prince Charles and Camilla on a visit to Waitangi, Ne Zealand, in November 2020.

Chris Jackson/Getty

9. The fight against osteoporosis is a matter close to her heart

The Duchess witnessed the agonizing deaths of both her grandmother and mother from osteoporosis. Fighting bone disease is important to Camilla. She is Patron and President of the National Osteoporosis Society. As such, she has published a book intended to give other women tips for a healthy body. Several universities have awarded her honorary doctorates in recognition of her work.

10. Camilla will eventually become Queen Consort of the United Kingdom

On February 6, 2022, it was 70 years to the day that Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne. The day before, she released a statement that had it all: She said it was her sincere wish that “when the time came, Camilla would be known as the Queen Consort.” This is the term for the wife of a reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth wished that the future king and his wife would have the same support that she had received.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla were “touched and honored” by the announcement. In fact, the Queen’s decision came as a surprise. At the couple’s wedding in 2005, the palace announced that Camilla would one day bear the title of Her Royal Highness The Princess Consort. Now it is clear: Camilla has not only blossomed from an adulteress to a popular member of the royals among the people – she has also changed within the royal family from an unsuitable wife to the worthy next queen.

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