Camilla (born Camilla Rosemary Shand, later Parker Bowles) was the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Consort. Wife of Charles III, King of the United Kingdom and of 14 other Commonwealth nations.
Camilla was born on July 17, 1947 in London to a British Army officer, Major Bruce Shanda, who later became a businessman.
Camilla's maternal great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, was at one time mistress of King Edward VII.
From the age of five, Camilla began attending a mixed school in the village of Dietling. At age 10, she began attending Queen's Gate School in South Kensington, graduating in 1964.
Subsequently, she studied in Switzerland at the Mon Fertile boarding school for noble maidens.
After that, for six months she studied French language and literature at the Institute of the University of London in Paris.
Subsequently, Camille worked as a secretary in the West End, and then became a porter in the firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in Mayfair.
In her spare time, Camille rode horses and often attended equestrian events.
She also dabbled in art, but did not have much success in painting.
First marriage and romance with Charles
In 1973, Camille married Andrew Parkerer Bowles, a relationship that had lasted since the late 1960s. He was eight years older than she was. Their wedding was called "the wedding of the year." Eight hundred guests were invited to the celebration, including members of the royal family.
Camilla and Andrew had two children, Tom and Laura. Tom's godfather, ironically, was then-Prince Charles.
In December 1994, the couple filed for divorce, as they were already living apart at the time. The court granted their ruling in January 1995. The divorce proceedings were finally finalized in March of the same year.
Camilla met Charles in 1971, when there was a pause in her relationship with Andrew. They then became close friends and were considered a couple for a time. The relationship ended in 1973 when Charles went overseas to join the Royal Navy. According to one version, the relationship was allegedly broken off by Queen Elizabeth II, who wanted to marry her son to one of her close friend's granddaughter, Lady Fermoy.
There is also a version that Camilla herself was more eager to marry Andrew Parker-Bowles.
In 2005, the royal family admitted that they were against the marriage of Charles and Camilla because they considered her unworthy of the role of wife of the future king. They also admitted they were wrong and that Charles and Camilla were "perfect for each other".
In the late seventies, Camilla and Charles resumed their intimate relationship and even got approval from Camilla's then husband, who himself had many mistresses.
In 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.
The true nature of Charles and Camilla's relationship was revealed in 1992 when the book Diana: Her True Story was published.
A year later, phone conversations between the prince and Camilla were released to the media. The scandal was dubbed "Camillagate."
Charles himself admitted in 1994 that his relationship with Camilla had been rekindled in 1986, when he said his marriage to Diana had "irreversibly broken down."
After Prince Charles became King Charles III, Camilla will hold the title of Queen Consort. Approval for this in 2022 was officially granted by the late Elizabeth II. Prior to that, it was thought that Camila would become a Consort princess.
A consort queen is a female partner, wife or companion to the king. Consort is not a formal role and symbolizes the support this person gives to the monarch.
It differs from the Queen Regent, who is an independent ruler like Queen Elizabeth II.
Historically, the queen regent's husbands carried the title of consort prince rather than consort king. However, the proposed title of princess consort for Camilla was "a bit of a compromise," explains royal family historian Dr. Cindy McCreary.
"Princess Consort was a compromise that arose because of feelings of grief and anger, especially over the death of Princess Diana. And also because of resentment in many circles about Camilla because of what many thought was an inappropriate relationship that Charles and Camilla had while Charles was still married to Diana," McCreary explained.
She notes, however, that formally Camilla will be Queen Consort, but she will simply be called Queen. Just as it was with the mother of Elizabeth II, who was the King's wife and whom everyone just called the Queen.