The Duchess of Cornwall at 75: A Queen in waiting

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The Duchess of Cornwall was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on 17 July 1947 as the daughter of Major Bruce Shand and his wife, The Honourable Rosalind Cubitt, at King’s College Hospital in London. Her mother was the daughter of Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe and Sonia Rosemary Keppel. She, in turn, was the daughter of Alice Keppel, the mistress of King Edward VII from 1898 until 1910. On 1 November 1947, Camilla was baptised at Firle Church in Sussex. From the age of five to ten, Camilla attended Dumbrells before leaving to attend Queen’s Gate School. At the age of 16, she attended a finishing school in Switerzland. She then spent six months in France at the University of London Institute to learn French. She was a debutante in 1965 and lived in a flat with a friend in London. She worked as a secretary and receptionist for various firms.

Camilla met Andrew Parker Bowles in the late 1960s through his younger brother, who worked at her father’s wine firm. They dated on and off but broke up again in 1970. Camilla reportedly met Prince Charles in the middle of 1971, and they became close friends and even began seeing each other. We do not know for sure why Charles and Camilla broke up, but Camilla and Andrew eventually reconciled and were married on 4 July 1973 at the Guards Chapel of the Wellington Barracks in London. The wedding was attended by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdown and Princess Anne and another 800 or so guests. The newlyweds settled in Wiltshire. Their first child, named Tom, was born in 1974, followed by a daughter named Laura in 1978. Andrew travelled extensively as an officer in the British army, while Camilla stayed at home with the children. After 21 years of marriage, Camilla and her husband decided to divorce, and it was finalised in March 1995. They had both been seeing other people during their marriage. Andrew remarried in 1996 to Rosemary Pitman.

Prince Charles had married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and they had two sons together. Their marriage had quickly turned sour, and Prince Charles later admitted that he and Camilla had rekindled their relationship after his marriage had irretrievably broken down. The media vilified Camilla, even though Charles and Diana’s marriage would have broken down regardless.

Both Charles and Camilla were now divorced, and they began appearing together at public events in 1999. On 10 February 2005, Clarence House announced their engagement, and they married on 9 April 2005 in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall and a religious service of blessing at St George’s Chapel. The marriage ceremony itself was not attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh nor Camilla’s father. However, they did attend the service of blessing and the reception afterwards. As a result, Camilla became known as The Duchess of Cornwall. She is officially The Princess of Wales but chooses not to use the title as it remains strongly associated with Diana.

As The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla is the patron of several charities, such as the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists and Arthritis Research UK. She also supports organisations promoting literacy and raises awareness for Osteoporosis organisations and organisations that work with victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

When Charles becomes King, Camilla will automatically become Queen Consort. And if there was any doubt, on the eve of her accession day, Her Majesty The Queen has publically called for The Duchess of Cornwall to become Queen consort when Charles succeeds as King.

In a statement released by Buckingham Palace, The Queen wrote, “This anniversary also affords me a time to reflect on the goodwill shown to me by people of all nationalities, faiths and ages in this country and around the world over these years. I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me. And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes,
Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”1

At the time of Charles and Camilla’s marriage, it was announced that she would be known as “Princess consort.”2 However, the actual implementation of that seemed somewhat iffy, as a wife automatically takes the rank and status of her husband. As Charles would be a King, Camilla should automatically take on the feminine form of this title – Queen (consort) – as all the Queen consorts before her. This statement from The Queen should make it clear that this is how it should be and will be.

  1. The Queen’s Accession Day message
  2. Press release

About Moniek Bloks 2352 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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