09 April 2015

Today's Princess: Camilla Shand, The Duchess of Cornwall


Unless you've been blinded by an unfortunate collision with a fascinator at a royal wedding, you must be aware that today is the tenth anniversary of the wedding of The Prince of Wales and Camilla Shand (1947- ), more commonly known as Camilla Parker-Bowles, officially known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and still known by her detractors as the "Rottweiler," a nickname given to her by the late Diana Princess of Wales.

But, those detractors are growing smaller in number and less severe in their criticisms. After 40 years of friendship/romance with her partner and ten years as a member of the royal family, Camilla has certainly overcome a lot of her negative image to emerge as a truly popular member of the family. She is clearly supportive of her husband, enthusiastically involved with her charities, and has always had a very loving relationship with her stepsons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

by Jose Cruz/ABr
via Wikimedia Commons
Born into the English aristocracy, but not into the nobility, Camilla was an unlikely (some say impossible) bride for the future king when they first struck up a romance in the early 1970s. Still in his early 20s and embarking on his military career, Charles wasn't ready for that step. When they split up because of his military commitments, she returned to a former love and married Andrew Parker-Bowles. Despite his Army postings, the couple had two children, Tom and Laura. However, they did not stay together. He was frequently abroad for his duties while she remained in England with the kids.

By the time, Charles finally settled down to marry the more noble (but less temperamentally suited) Lady Diana Spencer, the Parker-Bowles marriage was already moving in two different directions. As the relationship between Charles and Diana grew more volatile, he took comfort with his old friend Camilla, while Diana spent her time with Army officers and policemen. The most famous divorce since Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon took place in 1996, a year after Camilla and Andrew officially and finally parted ways.

Charles quickly moved to make Camilla part of his life, but the tragic death of Diana in 1997 likely put their marriage plans on hold for quite awhile. The public's deep love for Diana only caused the already deep hatred of Camilla--who many blamed for breaking up the marriage--grew even more vile.

Camilla with her husband's daughter-in-law The Duchess of
Cambridge and his youngest son Prince Harry of Wales

by Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons
Camilla, nevertheless, privately remained at Charles' side, and slowly moved out into the spotlight next to him. With their marriage in 2005, they acknowledged that Camilla could never fill Diana's place in the public's hearts by declaring that Camilla would be called Duchess of Cornwall, from one of his lower titles, rather than Prince of Wales. They even took a preemptive step by announcing that, if Charles becomes King, as expected, Camilla will use the unprecedented title of Princess Consort rather than Queen.

As time has passed, the couple has been more coy about their intentions regarding Camilla's future title, and the public, frankly has grown less concerned. Camilla's jolly attitude and her unflagging support for osteoporosis, rape victims, the military/veterans, literacy, poverty, and homeless charities has slowly but steadily won over people. At this rate, I will not be at all surprised if the next Queen is indeed named Camilla.

Official bios of Camilla:
On The Prince of Wales site
On The British Monarchy site
On the Duchy of Cornwall site

Blogs about Camilla:
Camilla's Girl on Tumblr
Duchess Cornwall on Tumblr
Duchess of Cornwall

More about Camilla:
10 Things You Didn't Know about The Duchess of Cornwall on Free Tours by Foot
Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall on Unofficial Royalty
The Duchess of Cornwall on Antique Jewelry Investor
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla? on Scandalous Women
"No requirement" for the wife of a king to be Queen on Royal Central

Books about Camilla:

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