With her husband accession to the throne followed by death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday Camilla became Queen Consort and will take on a new and more prominent role alongside King Charles III.
It’s just over 25 years after the death of Charles’ first wife, DianaCamilla, Princess of Wales, remains a divisive figure in Britain.
Here’s what you need to know:
Camilla Shand, born July 1947, reportedly met and became friends with Prince Charles at a polo match in Windsor in 1970.
The following year, Charles joined the Royal Navy and while he was away, Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles. The couple had two children in the 1970s.
Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, but he admitted having an extramarital affair with Camilla in 1994.
Camilla divorced Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995. Charles and Diana divorced the following year and Camilla disappeared from public life as public and media support went after the princess. The pro-Diana, anti-Camilla sentiment was exacerbated by the surge in sympathy for Diana after she was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris in 1997.
In 1999, Clarence House began a program to reintroduce Camilla to the public with a carefully orchestrated first appearance with Charles outside the Ritz Hotel in London. She moved to Clarence House to be with Charles and her name began to appear on official documents.
Their story culminated in 2005 when they married in Windsor with the consent of the Queen. Camilla, now known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, has been confirmed as Charles’ official consort and future Queen of the United Kingdom.
Despite her deep fear of flying, the Duchess threw herself into life as a senior royal, supporting Charles at official engagements in the UK and on overseas tours. He quickly became an asset to the royal family and the British government with his common touch and ability to diffuse the tension in a room.
The moment her husband became king, Camilla automatically became queen. However, it was long thought that she would not use this title, with Clarence House issuing a statement in 2005 stating that she would instead be known as “The Princess Consort”. Some people in the palace at the time thought that the public was not ready for Camilla to take the title reserved for Diana.
But over the years, the attitude towards Camilla softened. A 2015 CNN poll showed that one in four Britons now approve of her, and fewer oppose her being recognized as queen.
Then, in February 2022, the Queen used the milestone of her Platinum Jubilee to give her blessing for the Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen when the time comes. This was an extremely significant intervention by the monarch, who was the only person who could assign royal titles.
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