Viewers of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral may have had a range of questions, ranging from family relationships to seating arrangements. One of the biggest is undoubtedly who is Camilla, the queen consort? That telegraph recently released an excerpt from the new book Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: From Outcast to Queen Consort, that tries to answer this question. Camilla, who has been married to King Charles since 2005, has had a wild journey – from a subject of international controversy in the ’90s to today’s working king who has achieved widespread public acceptance. Here are five of the most interesting revelations about the new British king’s wife.
“When Queen Consort was ten years old, she proudly declared in the classroom at Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington: ‘My great-grandmother (Alice Keppel) was the mistress of the king, the irony that Camilla would go on to become the mistress of the British heir to the throne. What’s more, Charles and Camilla were delivered 16 months apart by the same obstetrician.
“By the age of ten, ‘Milla,’ as she was known, became a weekly boarder at Queen’s Gate School,” Levin writes. “She was admired for being able to ‘talk to boys about things that interested them,’ and although she wasn’t a rebel, she is said to have once climbed onto the school roof to smoke a sneaky cigarette.”
Camilla lived in London in the Swinging 60s. A friend and neighbor introduced her to Prince Charles in 1970. They were together for a “happy” 18 months before going their separate ways. Some sources say this was because Charles did not want to marry so young or wanted to go against his family’s advice on a bride. Camilla married Andrew Parker-Bowles in 1973; They had two children together and divorced in 1995.
But Camilla and Charles remained notorious in each other’s lives, as Camilla was portrayed as the third wheel in the breakup of Charles’ fairytale marriage to Diana. In June 1993, a few months after Charles and Diana’s split, the “Camillagate” tapes were released, revealing Charles and Camilla’s intimate conversations during his marriage. “The embarrassment was great: Camilla said it was one of the worst days of her life,” Levin writes. “King Charles was abroad and she couldn’t speak to him. Camilla was trapped in her own home.” She also received gasping phone calls and death threats, including some from Princess Diana, Levin claims.
But the two persevered, emerging together in 2000 and wed in 2005. Although King Charles and the queen consort are polar opposites in many ways, they appear to have a genuine partnership built on understanding, Levin writes. “Charles was used to employees doing everything for him. Camilla, on the other hand, a single mother of two, needed to be self-sufficient. Charles never eats lunch; Camilla [does]. They have different temperaments, friends and hobbies. Charles is very sensitive and easily upset; Camilla is positive by nature. Yet they are natural soulmates. They understand each other’s mindsets and are used to their trivial differences.”