Princess Diana named her a dangerous dog, the Rottweiler.
Camilla, the great love of King Charles III, will be crowned with him on May 6, embodying the extraordinary journey of a new 75-year-old monarch who has been demonized for so long.
Since the 1990s, Camilla has been able to calmly and discreetly overcome all crises. The British had long considered her a destroyer of families and never forgave her for causing the breakdown of Prince Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana.
She has been married for 18 years to Charles, whom she has known for over fifty years.
And the couple presents a picture of an accomplice partnership, as happened recently on their trip to Germany, which was their first abroad since Charles became king in September.
Isabelle Rivière, a specialist in the British monarchy, believes, “She is an emotional and intelligent woman, full of a sense of humor and common sense, and she did not seek to appear,” saying that “those who do not love her are those who do not know her.”
But despite her devotion to the crown, the hundreds of events she attends annually, and her sponsorship of a large number of charitable causes, her popularity has not exceeded 46 percent. More than 14 percent of Britons would not like to be known as “Queen Camilla”, according to a new poll.
In the best case, 36 percent of Britons agree to give her the title of “Queen Consort” as Queen Elizabeth II wished, compared to 23 percent who believe that she should not be granted any title at all, according to a poll conducted by the Daily Mail.
– ‘You married the man you love’ –
Princess Diana named her a dangerous dog, the Rottweiler. This adjective followed her for a long time. As for Prince Harry, son of Charles and Diana, he described her in his “alternative” autobiography as “evil” who “covets the crown.”
Camilla’s son, Tom Parler Bowles, responded in the News Agents podcast that “this was not the ultimate goal,” stressing that his mother “married the man she loves.”
As for the commentator on royal affairs, Richard Fitzwilliams, he confirms that she “married out of love, knowing that this includes the crown,” stressing that she is a woman with a “high sense of duty” and “dedicated to her husband.”
He added that they were “two soul mates” who shared “age, friends, a sense of humor (…) everything that he and Diana did not share.”
And Camila, with her blond hair, cool smile and good sense of humor, remains little known after years in the shadows.
Tom Parker Bowles, 48, a culinary critic, speaks of a mother who loves gardening and is a “good cook”. “She has clear opinions about a lot of things, but she keeps them to herself,” he said.
Camilla also has a daughter, Laura, 45, and five teenage grandchildren, three of whom will accompany her to the coronation ceremony.
She has also been an avid reader since her childhood, and two years ago she set up a reading circle on Instagram called “The Reading Room”.
– The big bourgeoisie –
Camila chairs or sponsors more than 90 charities and has advocated for victims of rape and sexual assault for years.
She is keen to follow up some issues with great interest, such as osteoporosis, the disease that claimed the lives of her mother and grandmother.
The bourgeois daughter of an officer who moved into the wine trade, she grew up in the countryside, dropped out of middle school and completed her education at a school in Switzerland to learn the basics of business.
In 1970, she met Charles at a polo match.
A short relationship followed before they parted ways. She married officer Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973 and Charles married Diana in 1981.
But they resumed their relationship in 1986… Camilla divorced in 1995 and Charles in 1996.
After Diana’s death, a publicity campaign was organized in order to secure her acceptance.
And the marriage – civil – of the Prince and Camilla in 2005 raised great reservations. It was not attended by Queen Elizabeth II, but she organized a reception at Windsor Castle. But over the years, she has become very close to this daughter-in-law who loves horses and dogs as much as she does.
Camila said in a rare interview with Vogue last year that being hounded by the media is “not easy”.
“No one likes to be monitored and criticized all the time (…) but I think I got over all of that in the end,” she added, stressing that “life must go on.”
The main stations in Camila’s life
Here are her life on ten key dates:
July 17, 1947: Camilla Rosemary Shand was born in London, the eldest child of Rosalind Cobbett, daughter of a Barron, and Bruce Shand, an ex-soldier turned wine trade.
She grew up in the countryside, in a childhood she considered “perfect in every way”. She stopped studying at the preparatory stage to complete her education in a school in Switzerland to learn the principles of dealing, before spending six months in France, where she learned French language and French literature at the British Institute. After that, she worked as a secretary and receptionist privately. She is passionate about horses and gardening.
1970: A brief romance with Charles, Prince of Wales, ends the following year when the Prince leaves to serve in the Royal Navy.
July 4, 1973: Camilla married soldier Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she had a son, Tom, in 1974, and a daughter, Laura, in 1978.
July 29, 1981: Charles marries Diana.
1986: Resumption of the relationship between Charles and Camilla.
January 11, 1995: Divorce Camilla, who has remained to this day on good terms with her ex-husband, who was invited to the coronation ceremony.
– August 28, 1996: Charles and Diana divorce, after their official separation in 1992. Followed by the death of Diana on August 31, 1997 in a car accident in Paris.
April 9, 2005: Camilla and Charles marry in a civil wedding in Windsor. The Queen was not present, but she organized a reception in the palace for the newlyweds.
– September 8, 2022: Camilla becomes queen consort when Charles III ascends to the throne after the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II had declared a few months earlier her “sincere wish” that Camilla be known as such.
May 6, 2023: The upcoming coronation of Camilla in Westminster Abbey, alongside Charles III. Three of her five grandchildren will be her chaperones, to help her carry her heavy gown.