Early life and first marriage
Born at King's College Hospital, London, on 17 July 1947, Camilla was raised opposite the Plumpton Racecourse, Plumpton, East Sussex by her parents, Major Bruce Shand (a British Army officer turned wine merchant, as well as prisoner of war in World War II and recipient of the Military Cross and Bar) and The Honourable Rosalind Cubitt (1921–1994, eldest child of Roland Calvert Cubitt, Ashcombe): her siblings are her brother, Mark, and sister, Annabel. Camilla attended Dumbrells School in Sussex, as well as Queen's Gate School in Kensington. She subsequently attended the Mon Fertile finishing school in Switzerland and studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris. Following her education, she worked for a year at the offices of designers Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. She also became an avid equestrienne and participated in fox hunting.
On 4 July 1973, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London, their bridesmaids including Parker Bowles's goddaughter Lady Emma Herbert. The couple had two children: Tom, born in the year after the marriage, who is a godson of Prince Charles, and Laura, born in 1978; both Parker Bowles children were raised in their father's Roman Catholic faith. Andrew Parker Bowles initiated divorce proceedings against Camilla following the admission by the Prince of Wales that he had conducted a long-term extra-marital affair with Mrs. Parker Bowles; the couple's divorce was finalised on 3 March 1995.
Relationship with the Prince of Wales
The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
HRH The Prince of Wales
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
HRH Prince William of Wales
HRH Prince Harry of Wales
HRH The Duke of York
HRH Princess Beatrice of York
HRH Princess Eugenie of York
HRH The Earl of Wessex
HRH The Countess of Wessex
Lady Louise Windsor
HRH The Princess Royal
HRH The Duke of Gloucester
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
HRH The Duke of Kent
HRH The Duchess of Kent
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
HRH Princess Michael of Kent
HRH Princess Alexandra
v • d • e
The relationship between Camilla and Prince Charles 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 wanted 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. Reliable published reports indicate that they renewed their romantic relationship in the 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 an 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 a low profile at this time, she became unpopular by these revelations.However, it was confirmed by Charles in a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby that the relationship between him and Camilla resumed during 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.
Camilla occasionally became Charles' unofficial companion at events. This temporarily ceased at the time of Diana's death, but Camilla and Charles were photographed in public together in 1999. Though she maintained 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 jewellery and a designer wardrobe. As the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the prospect of Charles marrying a divorcée 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.
Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles
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 father; her children, instead, acted as witnesses of the union, as did Prince William and Prince Harry. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did, however, attend the 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, Birkhall, and carried out their first public duties as a couple during their honeymoon.
Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall are
greeted by Tobago Chief Secretary, Orville London.
After becoming Duchess of Cornwall, the duchess automatically acquired rank as the second highest female in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after the Queen), and as typically fifth or sixth in the orders of precedence of her other realms, 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.Within two years of the marriage, the Queen extended Camilla visible tokens of membership in the Royal Family; use of a tiara of the late Queen Mother, and the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.
President and Mrs Bush greet TRH The Prince of
Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
Though no details were publicly released, it was confirmed in March 2007 that Camilla had undergone a hysterectomy the same year that marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Diana. According to an announcement by Clarence House, it was the Duchess's intent to attend the anniversary memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 2007, along with The Prince of Wales, and The Princes William and Harry of Wales. The Duchess withdrew from attending, 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." On April 8th 2010, Camilla broke her left leg whilst hill walking in Scotland.
Initially, the Duchess of Cornwall's royal duties involved accompanying the Prince of Wales on his official obligations. Camilla's first solo engagement was a visit to a hospital in Southampton; 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 inaugural 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. 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. The Duchess of Cornwall is the patron of The Royal School, Hampstead, an independent girl's school, as well as President or Patron of a number of other charities, as detailed below.
Titles, styles, honours and arms; Charities and patronages
Titles and styles
Royal styles of
The Duchess of Cornwall
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am
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
9 April 2005 – : Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall
in Scotland: 9 April 2005 – : 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 'Princess of Wales' remains strongly associated with the previous holder of that title, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, 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 accession of her husband, legally be queen. However, it has been indicated that when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne, Camilla will remain styled as Her Royal Highness, with the title of The Princess Consort.Note that this is not the same usage as her father-in-law, HRH The Prince Philip, whose official title does not include the word "consort."
30 October 2007: Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
2005: Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan
Honorary military appointments
The Duchess of Cornwall holds the following military appointments:
Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion of The Rifles
2008: Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Halton
Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Leeming
Commodore-in-Chief of the Naval Medical Services
Commodore-in-Chief Naval Chaplaincy Service
Lady sponsor of HMS Astute
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.
Arms of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess' coat of arms impale the Prince of Wales' main coat of arms to the dexter, with her father's coat of arms to the sinister, all surmounted by her husband's coronet as heir apparent. Aside from the invention of a boar supporter (reflected in her paternal arms) for the sinister side, Camilla's coat of arms is entirely consistent with the historical heraldic arrangement for a married woman who is not herself a heraldic heiress.
Dexter: a lion rampant gardant Or imperially crowned Proper; sinister: a boar Boar Azure armed and unguled Or langued Gules and gorged with a Coronet composed of crosses formy and fleurs-de-lys attached thereto a Chain reflexed over the back and ending in a ring all Or.
Charities and patronages
The Duchess of Cornwall is President or Patron of a number of charities. They include:
Animal Care Trust (under the umbrella of The Royal Veterinary College) (Patron)
British Equestrian Federation (Patron)
Brooke Hospital for Animals (President)
Community First (Patron)
Cornwall Community Foundation (Patron)
Cowbridge Physic Garden Trust (Patron)
Crathie Opportunity Holidays (Patron)
De La Warr Pavilion, The (President)
Desert Rats 7th Armoured Division Thetford Forest Memorial Association, The (Patron; Honorary Member)
Devon County Agricultural Association, The (President)
Dispensaire Francais, Le (Patron)
Ditchling Museum (President)
Elmhurst School for Dance (Patron)
Emmaus UK (Patron)
Fan Museum, The (Patron)
Friends of Lacock Church Appeal (Patron)
Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum (Patron)
Georgian Theatre Royal, The (Joint Patron with The Prince of Wales)
Girl's Friendly Society (Patron)
Helen & Douglas House (Patron)
Holfords of Westonbirt Trust, The (Joint President with The Prince of Wales)
Kennel Club Charitable Trust, The (Patron)
Langford Trust for Animal Welfare (Patron)
London Chamber Orchestra (Patron)
Marwari Horse Society (Patron)
Moorland Mousie Trust (Patron)
National Osteoporosis Society (President)
New Queen's Hall Orchestra (Patron)
Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (Patron)
P.G. Wodehouse Society of the Netherlands, The (Patron)
Public Catalogue Foundation, The (Patron)
Public Catalogue Foundation's Cornish Catalogue (Patron)
Royal British Legion Women's Section, The (Life Member)
Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases (Patron)
Royal School Hampstead, The (Patron)
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (President)
Scottish National Equestrian Centre (Patron)
Scottish Women's Rural Institute, The (Ballater branch) (Honorary Member)
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, The (Patron)
St John's Smith Square Charitable Trust (Patron)
Tetbury Film Society (Patron)
Theatre Royal Bath, The (Patron)
Trinity Hospice (Patron)
Unicorn Theatre for Children (Patron)
Upper Deeside Art Society, The (Patron)
War Memorial Trust (Patron)
West of England School and College for young people with little or no sight (Patron)
Wilts and Berks Canal Trust (Patron)
Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust (Patron)
Name Birth Marriage Issue
Tom Parker Bowles 18 December 1974 10 September 2005 Sara Buys Lola Rosalind and Freddy Parker Bowles
Laura Rose Parker Bowles 1 January 1978 6 May 2006 Harry Marcus George Lopes Eliza, Louis and Gus Lopes
According to genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner, the Duchess of Cornwall's ancestry is predominantly French, English, Dutch, and Scottish. Through her French lineage, 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 Albemarle. Their 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. Through her mother she is a descendant of Zacharie Cloutier.This same lineage makes Camilla a distant relation of Celine Dion and Madonna, while her bloodline is also connected to King Charles II, through his illegitimate son, Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond; Thomas Cubitt, prominent Victorian architect; and, through the Earl of Albemarle, Judith Keppel, the first winner of the top prize on the television game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. Through Charles II of England and Scotland, Camilla is also related, although distantly, to Diana, Princess of Wales.
[hide]Ancestors of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
|[hide]Ancestors of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall|