Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

"The Duchess of Cornwall" and "The Duchess of Rothesay" redirect here. For other people known by those titles, see Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Rothesay.

Duchess of Cornwall; Duchess of Rothesay (more)

The Duchess of Cornwall at Hillsborough Castle in April 2014
Born (1947-07-17) 17 July 1947
King's College Hospital, London, England
Full name
Camilla Rosemary[fn 1]
House Windsor (by marriage)
Father Bruce Shand
Mother Rosalind Cubitt
Religion Church of England

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO, CSM, PC (Camilla Rosemary; née Shand, previously Parker Bowles; born 17 July 1947), is the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Instead of using the title of Princess of Wales, she uses the Duchess of Cornwall, which is her husband's secondary designation. In Scotland, she is known as the Duchess of Rothesay. In the event of Charles acceding to the throne, Camilla would be entitled to use the style of a queen consort; however, an official statement issued by Clarence House on the day of her marriage to Charles announced that she will be known as the Princess Consort.

Camilla was born into a gentry family as the eldest child of Major Bruce Shand and his wife, the Honourable Rosalind Cubitt, the daughter of Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. She was raised in East Sussex and South Kensington, and was educated in England, Switzerland and France. Subsequently, she worked for different firms based in central London, most notably the decorating firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. In 1973, Camilla married British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she has two children. They divorced in 1995.

For many years, Camilla was in a relationship with the Prince of Wales before and after their former marriages. The relationship became highly publicised in the media and attracted worldwide scrutiny.[fn 2] In 2005, it culminated in a civil marriage at Windsor Guildhall, which was followed by a televised Anglican blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

As the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla assists the Prince of Wales on his official duties. She is also the patron, president and a member of numerous charities and organisations. Since 1994, she has taken action on osteoporosis, which has earned her honours and awards. She has also raised awareness in areas including rape and sexual abuse, literacy and poverty, for which she has latterly been praised.[1][2]

Childhood and young adulthood

Camilla was born Camilla Rosemary Shand at King's College Hospital, London, on 17 July 1947 at 7:00 am (BST).[3][fn 3] She grew up in the Laines, a country house located in Plumpton, East Sussex,[4] and a three-storey house in South Kensington, her family's second home.[5] Her parents were British Army officer turned businessman Major Bruce Shand (1917–2006) and his wife, the Hon. Rosalind (née Cubitt; 1921–1994), an adoption worker.[6] She has one younger sister, Annabel Elliot, and had a younger brother, Mark Shand (1951–2014).[7] Her maternal great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, was a mistress of King Edward VII from 1898 to 1910.[8] On 1 November 1947, Camilla was baptised at Firle Church, Sussex. Her godparents were Hon. Henry Cubitt (her maternal uncle, later the 4th Baron Ashcombe), Major Neil Speke, Mrs Heathcoat-Amory, Mrs Lombard Hobson and Miss Vivien Mosley.[9][10][11] Camilla's mother worked for an adoption agency, while her father had different business interests after retiring from the army. He was most notably a partner in Block, Grey and Block, a firm of wine merchants in South Audley Street, Mayfair, later joining Ellis, Son and Vidler of Hastings and London.[12][13] During her childhood years, Camilla became an avid reader due to the influence of her father, who read to her frequently.[14] She grew up with dogs and cats,[15] and, at a young age, learnt how to ride a pony by joining Pony Club camps.[5] According to her, childhood "was perfect in every way."[4] Biographer Gyles Brandreth describes her background and childhood:

Camilla is often described as having had an "Enid Blyton sort of Childhood." In fact, it was much grander than that. Camilla, as a little girl, may have had some personality traits of George, the tomboy girl among the Famous Five, but Enid Blyton’s children were essentially middle-class children and The Shands, without question, belonged to the upper class. The Shands had position and they had help—help in the house, help in the garden, help with children. They were gentry. They opened their garden for the local Conservative Party Association summer fête. Enough said.[15]

At the age of five, Camilla was sent to Dumbrells, a co-educational school in Ditchling village.[15] Dumbrells was remembered by a former pupil as "so harsh that a child who could cope with Dumbrells could cope with anything."[15] By all reports, Camilla flourished while going there and was seen as a "healthy and happy, jolly little girl."[16] At Dumbrells, she shone at playing ice hockey in the winter and stoolball in the summer during school games.[17] She left Dumbrells aged ten to attend Queen's Gate School in Queen's Gate, South Kensington. Her classmates at Queen's Gate knew her as "Milla"; her fellow pupils included the singer Twinkle, who described her as a girl of "inner strength" exuding "magnetism and confidence".[18] One of the teachers at the school was the writer Penelope Fitzgerald, who taught French and remembered Camilla as "bright and lively". Camilla left Queen's Gate with one O-level in 1964; her parents did not make her stay long enough for A-levels.[19] At the age of sixteen, she travelled abroad to attend the Mon Fertile finishing school in Tolochenaz, Switzerland.[20] After completing her course in Switzerland, she made her own decision and travelled to France to learn French and French literature at the University of London Institute in Paris for six months.[21][22]

On 25 March 1965, Camilla was a debutante in London,[23] one of 311 that year. After moving from home, Camilla shared a small flat in Kensington with her friend Jane Wyndham, niece of decorator Nancy Lancaster. She later moved into a larger flat in Belgravia, which she shared with her landlady Lady Moyra Campbell, the daughter of the Duke of Abercorn, and later with Virginia Carrington, daughter of the politician Lord Carrington.[24] Virginia was married to Camilla's uncle Henry Cubitt from 1973 until 1979.[25] In 2005, she became a special aide to Camilla and Prince Charles.[26] Camilla worked as a secretary for a variety of firms in the West End and was later employed as a receptionist by the decorating firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in Mayfair.[27] In her spare time, she became a passionate horse-rider and frequently attended equestrian activities.[28] She also had a passion for painting, which eventually led her to enrol for private tutoring with an artist, though most of her work "ended up in the bin."[29] Other interests were fishing, horticulture and gardening.[30][31]

First marriage

In the late 1960s, Camilla met Andrew Parker Bowlesthen a Guards officer and lieutenant in the Blues and Royals[32] through his younger brother, Simon Parker Bowles, who worked for her father's wine firm in Mayfair.[33] The couple dated on and off for some years but broke up again in 1970, when Parker Bowles began dating Princess Anne; however, they later reconciled and announced their engagement in The Times in 1973,[34][35] marrying on 4 July that year in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks in London.[36] Camilla was 26 years old and Parker Bowles 33. Her wedding dress was designed by British fashion house Bellville Sassoon,[36] and the bridesmaids included Parker Bowles' goddaughter Lady Emma Herbert.[37] It was considered the "society wedding of the year"[38] with eight hundred guests in attendance.[36] Royal guests present at the ceremony and reception included Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.[38]

Bolehyde Manor in Allington, Wiltshire

The couple made their home in Wiltshire, purchasing Bolehyde Manor in Allington[39] and later Middlewick House in Corsham.[40] They had two children: Tom, born in 1974, who is a godson of Prince Charles,[41] and Laura, born in 1978.[42] Both children were raised in their father's Roman Catholic faith. Tom, like his father, is in remainder to the Earldom of Macclesfield.[32] During their marriage, Parker Bowles, as an officer in the British army, travelled extensively and was posted to several countries, while Camilla stayed in the UK with their children.[43]

In January 1995, after 21 years of marriage, Camilla and her husband decided to divorce. The previous year her mother, Rosalind, had died from osteoporosis, and her father later described this as a "difficult time for her". A joint statement was released by their lawyers on 11 January 1995, stating their divorce was amicable and claiming it was due to different interests, which eventually led to separate lives.[44] The divorce was finalised in March 1995.[45]

Relationship with the Prince of Wales

Camilla and Prince Charles reportedly met in mid-1971.[46] Though they both belonged to the same social circle and occasionally attended the same events, they had not formally met. Gyles Brandreth states that the couple did not meet at a polo match, as it is believed.[47][48] Instead, they were formally introduced to each other at an event by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz.[28][49] They became close friends and eventually began dating, which was well known within their social circle.[50] When they became a couple, they regularly met at polo matches at Smith's Lawn in Windsor Great Park, where Charles often played polo.[28][46] They also became part of a set at Annabel's in Berkeley Square.[46] As the relationship grew more serious, Charles met Camilla’s family in Plumpton and he introduced her to some members of his family.[51] The relationship was put on hold after Charles travelled overseas to join the Royal Navy in early 1973; however, it ended abruptly afterwards.[34][52]

There have been different statements on why the couple's relationship ended in 1973. Robert Lacey wrote in his 2008 book, Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, that Charles had met Camilla too early, and that he had not asked her to wait for him when he went overseas for military duties.[53] Sarah Bradford wrote in her 2007 book, Diana, that a member of the close circle of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten claimed Mountbatten arranged for Charles to be taken overseas to end the relationship with Camilla to make way for an engagement between his granddaughter, Amanda Knatchbull, and Charles.[54] Some sources also suggest the Queen Mother did not approve of the marriage because she wanted Charles to marry one of the Spencer family granddaughters of her close friend, Lady Fermoy.[55] Other sources also suggest Camilla did not want to marry Charles but instead wanted to marry Andrew Parker Bowles since she had an on and off relationship with Parker Bowles that began in the 1960s[56] or that Charles had decided he would not marry until he was thirty years old.[57]

Overall, the majority of royal biographers have agreed that even if Charles and Camilla wanted to marry or did try for approval to get married, it would have been declined, because according to Charles's cousin and godmother Patricia Mountbatten, palace courtiers at that time found Camilla unsuitable as a wife for the future king. In 2005, she stated, "With hindsight, you can say that Charles should have married Camilla when he first had the chance. They were ideally suited, we know that now. But it wasn't possible."[…][58] "it wouldn't have been possible, not then."[…][59] When Charles heard of the engagement of Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973, he wrote to Lord Mountbatten: "I suppose the feeling of emptiness will pass eventually."[60] Nevertheless, they remained friends.[61][62] In August 1979, Lord Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA. Charles was grief-stricken and relied heavily on Camilla for solace. During this period, rumours began circulating among family, friends and neighbours that they had rekindled their intimate relationship.[63] A source close to Camilla confirmed that by 1980 they had indeed rekindled as lovers.[43] However, other sources assert it occurred earlier.[64] Reportedly, Parker Bowles gave consent to the relationship during their marriage,[65] while he also saw other women.[66] In 1981, Charles married Diana Spencer.[67]

The affair became public knowledge in the press a decade later, with the publication of Diana: Her True Story in 1992,[68] followed by the Camillagate scandal in 1993,[69] wherein an intimate telephone conversation between Camilla and Charles was secretly recorded and the transcripts were published in the tabloids.[70] The book and tape instantly damaged Charles's reputation.[71] Meanwhile, the press vilified Camilla.[72][73] In 1994, Charles finally spoke about his relationship with Camilla in a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby. He told Dimbleby in the interview, "Mrs. Parker Bowles is a great friend of mine...a friend for a very long time. She will continue to be a friend for a long time."[74] The same year he admitted in his biography written by Dimbleby that the relationship between him and Camilla rekindled after his marriage had "irretrievably broken down" in 1986.[75] Following this, the Parker Bowleses announced their own divorce the following year, having been living apart for some time,[74] and a year later, Andrew Parker Bowles married his partner Rosemary Pitman (who later died in 2010).[76][77]

Image rehabilitation

Following the two couples' divorces, Charles stated his relationship with Camilla was, and is, "non-negotiable."[78][79] Charles was aware that the relationship was receiving a lot of negative publicity, and appointed Mark Bolland—whom he had employed in 1995 to refurbish his own imageto enhance Camilla's public profile.[80] Camilla occasionally became Charles's unofficial companion at events. In 1999, the couple made their first public appearance together at the Ritz Hotel in London, where they attended a birthday party; about two hundred cameramen and reporters from around the world were there to witness them together.[81] In 2000, she accompanied Charles to Scotland for a number of official engagements, and in 2001, she became president of the National Osteoporosis Society, which first introduced her to the public.[82] She later met the Queen, for the first time since the relationship was made public, at the 60th birthday party of the former King of Greece, Constantine II. This meeting was seen as an apparent seal of approval by the Queen on Charles and Camilla's relationship.[83][84]

After a series of appearances at public and private venues, the Queen invited Camilla to her Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. She sat in the royal box behind the Queen for one of the concerts at Buckingham Palace.[85][86] Though she maintained her residence, Ray Mill House—which she purchased in 1995 at Lacock, Wiltshire,[87] Camilla then moved into Clarence House—which became Charles's household and official residence in 2003.[88] In 2004, Camilla accompanied Charles on almost all of his official events, including a high-profile visit together to the annual highland games in Scotland.[89] Throughout, the press speculated on when they would announce their engagement.[90] On 10 February 2005, Clarence House announced their engagement which received a huge amount of coverage in the media worldwide.[91] Polls conducted in the United Kingdom showed overall support for the marriage.[92]

Second marriage

On 10 February 2005, Clarence House announced that Camilla and the Prince of Wales were engaged; as an engagement ring, Charles gave Camilla a diamond ring that was believed to have been given to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, when she gave birth to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.[93] The ring comprises a square-cut diamond with three diamond baguettes on each side;[94][95] As he is the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the prospect of Charles marrying a divorcée was seen as controversial, but with the consent of the Queen,[96] the government,[97] and the Church of England,<ref name=Archbishop of Canterbury's statement>"Charles and Camilla – Archbishop's statement". The Church of England. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2015. </ref> the couple were able to wed. The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, offered their congratulations in statements to the media.[98]

The marriage was to have been on 8 April 2005, and was to take place in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle, with a subsequent religious blessing at St George's Chapel. To conduct a civil marriage at Windsor Castle would oblige the venue to obtain a licence for civil marriages, which it did not have. A condition of such a licence is that the licensed venue must be available for a period of one year to anyone wishing to be married there. As the royal family did not wish to make Windsor Castle available to the public for civil marriages, even just for one year, the location was changed to the town hall at Windsor Guildhall.[99] On 4 April, it was announced that the marriage would be delayed by one day to allow the Prince of Wales and some of the invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.[100][101]

Charles's parents did not attend the marriage ceremony [102] and neither did Camilla's father; instead, Camilla's son and Prince William acted as witnesses to the union.[103] The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh did, however, attend the service of blessing. Afterwards, a reception was held by the Queen for the newlyweds at Windsor Castle.[104] Camilla's dresses for the two ceremonies were designed by Anna Valentine. Performances at the wedding included the St George's Chapel Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra and Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott.[105] As a wedding gift, The Marinsky Theatre Trust in St. Petersburg brought a Russian mezzo-soprano singer, Ekaterina Semenchuk, to the UK to perform a special song for the couple.[106] Following the wedding, the couple travelled to the Prince's country home in Scotland, Birkhall,[107] and carried out their first public duties as a couple during their honeymoon.[108]

Duchess of Cornwall

After becoming Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla automatically acquired rank as the second highest woman in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after the Queen), and as typically fifth or sixth in the orders of precedence of her other realms, following the Queen, the relevant viceroy, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. It was revealed that the Queen altered the royal order of precedence for private occasions, placing Camilla fourth, after the Queen, the Princess Royal, and Princess Alexandra.[109][110] Within two years of the marriage, the Queen extended Camilla visible tokens of membership in the royal family; she lent the Duchess a tiara previously belonging to the Queen Mother,[111] and granted her the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.[112]

The Duchess in 2009

After their wedding, Clarence House became the official residence of both the Duchess and the Prince of Wales. The couple also stay at Birkhall for holiday events, and Highgrove House in Gloucestershire for family gatherings. In 2008, they took up residence at Llwynywermod in Carmarthenshire, Wales. They stay at Llwynywermod when on their weekly visit to Wales every year in the summer and for other occasions.[113] To spend time alone with her children and grandchildren, the Duchess still maintains her home, Raymill House in Lacock, Wiltshire, in which she resided from 1995 to 2003.[114] The Duchess of Cornwall has three ladies-in-waiting, including long time friend Amanda MacManus, who is her chief lady-in-waiting and also her assistant private secretary.[115][116][117] Since 2005, she has supported and often wears outfits by designers Anna Valentine, Philip Treacy and Bruce Oldfield (who were all responsible for her ensembles for her wedding to the Prince of Wales).[118][119][120]

Though no details were publicly released, it was confirmed in March 2007 that Camilla had undergone a hysterectomy.[121] In November 2010, the Duchess and her husband were indirectly involved in the 2010 British student protests when their car was attacked by protesters.[122][123] Clarence House later released a statement on the incident: "A car carrying Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall was attacked by protesters but the couple were unharmed."[124] On 9 April 2012, the seventh wedding anniversary of the Duchess and the Prince of Wales, the Queen appointed the Duchess to the Royal Victorian Order.[125] On 9 June 2016, the Queen appointed the Duchess as a member to Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.[126] She is the first British princess by marriage to be appointed in such position.[127]

Foreign and domestic trips

Prince Charles and Camilla are greeted by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials as they arrive to tour the damage created by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, November 2005

The Duchess made her inaugural overseas tour, to the United States, in November 2005.[128] During their tour in the United States, they met with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White house.[129] Afterward they visited New Orleans to see the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and met with some of the residents whose lives were changed drastically by the hurricane.[130] In March 2006, the couple undertook a visit to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India.[131] In November 2007, the Duchess toured with the Prince of Wales on a four-day visit to Turkey.[132] In 2008, she joined the Prince of Wales to tour the Caribbean, Japan, Brunei and Indonesia.[133] In 2009, they embarked on a tour of Chile, Brazil, Ecuador,[134] Italy and Germany. Their visit to the Holy See in Italy included a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.[135] They later visited Canada. In early 2010, they undertook a visit to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.[136] In October 2010, she accompanied the Prince of Wales to Delhi, India for the opening of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.[137]

Official opening of the Fourth Assembly at the Senedd in Cardiff, Wales. From left to right: Carwyn Jones, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and Rosemary Butler, 7 June 2011

In March 2011, the Duchess went with the Prince of Wales to undertake visits in Portugal, Spain, and Morocco.[138] The tour began in Lisbon, Portugal. The President of Portugal, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva met them. In Spain, the couple were received in Madrid by the Prince and Princess of Asturias. They later met King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain. The tour finished in Rabat, Morocco, where they met the King of Morocco.[139] In August 2011, the Duchess accompanied the Prince of Wales to Tottenham to visit the aftermath of the London riots.[140][141] The couple later went to see Tottenham residents in February 2012, meeting with local shop owners six months after the riots to see how they were doing.[142] The Duchess attended the 10th anniversary memorial service of the 11 September 2001 attacks along with the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 11 September 2011 in London.[143] In November 2011, the Duchess travelled with the Prince of Wales to tour Commonwealth and Arab States of the Persian Gulf. They toured in South Africa and Tanzania and met with President Jacob Zuma and President Jakaya Kikwete.[144]

The Duchess of Cornwall being driven away from St Paul's Cathedral during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 5 June 2012

In March 2012, the Duchess and the Prince of Wales went to visit Norway, Sweden and Denmark to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[145] In May 2012, the royal couple undertook a four-day trip to Canada as part of the jubilee celebrations.[146] In November 2012, the Duchess and the Prince of Wales visited Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for a two-week jubilee tour.[147] During the Australian tour, they attended the 2012 Melbourne Cup, where the Duchess presented the Melbourne cup to the winner of the race.[148] In 2013, they went on a tour to Jordan and met with King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania. They also made a visit to Syria and visited refugee camps of the Syrian civil war.[149] That same year, they attended the Enthronement of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, as well as the preceding celebrations in honour of Queen Beatrix.[150] In June 2014, the Duchess and the Prince of Wales attended the 70th anniversary celebrations of D-Day in Normandy, France,[151] and embarked on a nine-day tour to Mexico and Colombia in November of that year.[152] In May 2015, the Duchess and the Prince of Wales visited Northern Ireland and undertook their first joint trip to the Republic of Ireland.[153]

The Duchess of Cornwall's first solo engagement was a visit to Southampton General Hospital;[154] she attended the Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 2005, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards. She conducted the naming ceremony for HMS Astute on 8 June 2007, and, on 10 December, she did the same for the new Cunard cruise ship, MS Queen Victoria;[155] it was stated that the Queen was surprised by Cunard's invitation.[156] In June 2011, the Duchess alone represented the British royal family at the 125th Wimbledon Tennis Championships in Wimbledon.[157] The Duchess attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in May 2013 [158] and the same month she travelled to Paris on her first solo trip outside the UK.[22]


The Duchess of Cornwall visiting Dundurn Castle in 2009 of which she is patron

The Duchess is the Patron of St Catherine's School, Bramley,[159] Animal Care Trust,[160] The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists,[161] Unicorn Theatre for Children, British Equestrian Federation, Cornwall Community Foundation, Dundurn Castle, Wiltshire Bobby van Trust, Youth Action Wiltshire, New Queen's Hall Orchestra, St John's Smith Square, London Chamber Orchestra, Elmhurst School for Dance, Trinity Hospice, Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, Girl's Brigade in Scotland, St John's Hospital, Fan Museum, Georgian Theatre Royal, The Cornish Air Ambulance Service, Arthritis Research UK, The Girls' Friendly Society, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Plumpton College Charitable Foundation, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, President of Elephant Family (Joint with the Prince of Wales),[162] Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and JDRF, as well as president or patron of other charities.[160]

She is the honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service. In this role she visited the training-ship HMS Excellent in January 2012, to award medals to naval medical teams returning from service in Afghanistan.[163] The Duchess is also an honorary member of other patronages and in February 2012, she was elected a bencher of The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn.[164] In February 2013, she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, a role which is ceremonial and will involve conferring graduates with their degrees [165] and took up the office in June 2013. She is the first female chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and only member of the royal family to hold the post since it was created in 1860.[166] In 2015, her presidency of WOW (Women of the World Festival)—an annual festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls as well as looking at the obstacles they face across the world—was announced.[167]

Areas of interest


NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni welcomes the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to NIH for a discussion on osteoporosis with Surgeon General Richard Carmona and other health officials, November 2005

In 1994, she became a member of the National Osteoporosis Society after her mother died painfully from the disease that year. Her maternal grandmother also died from the disease in 1986. She became patron of the charity in 1997 and was appointed president in 2001 in a highly publicised event, accompanied by the Prince of Wales.[168] In 2002, she launched a mini book titled A Skeleton Guide to a Healthy you, Vitamins and Minerals which aims to help women protect themselves from the disease.[169][170] The following month, she attended the Roundtable of International Women Leaders to Examine Barriers to Reimbursement for Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis conference along with 13 eminent women from around the world. The event was organised by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan and during it, she made her first public speech. The international conference which took place in Lisbon, Portugal, brought together worldwide public figures to focus on osteoporosis treatment and called for government assistance around the world.[171] In 2004, she attended another conference in Dublin, organised by the Irish Osteoporosis Society and the following year visited the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, U.S. to give a presentation on osteoporosis to high-profile health figures.[172]

In 2006, the Duchess launched the Big Bone walk campaign, leading 90 children and osteoporosis sufferers for a 10-mile walk and climb around Loch Muick at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland to raise money for the charity.[173] The campaign raised £200,000 and continues almost every year as one of the fundraisers for the charity.[174] In 2011, she appeared in the BBC Radio drama The Archers, playing herself,[175] to raise the profile of the disease, and in 2013 teamed up with the television series Strictly Come Dancing to raise funds for the National Osteoporosis Society.[176] By 2006 she had spoken at more than 60 functions on the disease in the UK and around the world and had also opened bone scanning units and osteoporosis centres to help sufferers of the disease.[168] Almost every year, the Duchess attends and partakes in World Osteoporosis Day, by attending events around the UK on 20 October.[177] She continues to attend conferences around the world and meets with health experts to further discuss the disease.[178][179]

For her work on raising awareness of osteoporosis around the world, the Duchess was honoured with an Ethel LeFrak award in 2005 from an American charity[180] and received a Kohn Award in 2007 from the Royal Society.[181][182] In July 2007, the Duchess opened the Duchess of Cornwall Centre for Osteoporosis at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.[183][184] The same year, King's College London awarded her an honorary fellowship for raising the profile of osteoporosis.[185] The National Osteoporosis Society created The Duchess of Cornwall Award in 2009, which is awarded to other advocates of Osteoporosis.[186]

Victims of rape and sexual abuse

After visiting nine rape crisis centres in 2009 and hearing accounts from survivors, the Duchess began raising awareness and advocating ways to help victims of rape and sexual abuse to overcome and move past their trauma. According to The Times, "The stories Her Royal Highness heard on her first visit and the stories she heard subsequently have left her with a strong desire to raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse and to try to help those affected."[187] She often speaks to victims at a rape crisis centre in Croydon and visits other centres to meet staff and victims, around the UK and during overseas tours.[188][189] In 2010, alongside Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, she opened a centre in Ealing, West London for rape victims. The centre later expanded to other areas including Hillingdon, Fulham, Hounslow, and Hammersmith.[190]

Antrim Area Hospital, where the Duchess opened The Rowan centre in Northern Ireland

In 2013, she held a meeting at Clarence House which brought together rape victims and rape support groups. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and Home Secretary Theresa May were guests at the occasion. At the occasion, she introduced a plan to help the victims. About 750 wash-bags, packed with luxury toiletries, were distributed to victims at the centres. Her staff at Clarence House created the wash-bags. The Duchess thought of the gesture after she visited a centre in Derbyshire and asked victims what they would like to help them feel at ease after the trauma and forensic examinations. According to Clarence House, the event was the first meeting of high-profile figures to focus exclusively on rape and sexual abuse subjects.[189][191] The same year, the Duchess travelled to Northern Ireland and opened The Rowan, a sexual assault and referral centre at Antrim Area Hospital[192] which was the first centre to provide help and comfort to rape and sexual abuse victims in Northern Ireland.[193] In March 2016, during her and the Prince of Wales tour to the Western Balkans, the Duchess visited UNICEF programmes in Montenegro and while there, she discussed child sexual abuse and was shown an exclusive preview of a new app designed to protect children from online sexual abuse.[194]

Other areas

The Duchess of Cornwall with Peter McLaughlin, headmaster of The Doon School which she visited in November 2013 on her India tour[195]

Being an avid reader, the Duchess is an advocate for literacy. She is the patron of the National Literacy Trust and other literacy charities. She often visits schools, libraries and children organisations to read to young children. Additionally, she partakes in literacy celebrations, including International Literacy Day and World Book Day.[196] In 2011, she attended the Hay Festival to support children literacy and while there, she donated books to the Oxfam bookshop.[197] The same year, she donated money to support the Evening Standard's literacy campaign.[198] The Duchess has also launched and continues to launch campaigns and programmes to promote literacy.[199][200] On spreading literacy the Duchess stated during a speech at an event for the National Literacy Trust in 2013, "I firmly believe in the importance of igniting a passion for reading in the next generation. I was lucky enough to have a father who was a fervent bibliophile and a brilliant storyteller too. In a world where the written word competes with so many other calls on our attention, we need more Literacy Heroes to keep inspiring young people to find the pleasure and power of reading for themselves."[201]

The Duchess is a supporter of animal welfare and patron of many animal welfare charities including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and president of Brooke Hospital for Animals.[202] She often visits other animal shelters to show her support and to see how the animals are cared for. In 2011, she adopted a rescue puppy, a Jack Russel Terrier from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home,[203] and in 2012 adopted another from the shelter.[204] Also in 2012, she opened two veterinary facilities at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences at Langford, Somerset, which will provide treatment to sick animals.[205] In 2015, The Duchess teamed up with department store Fortnum & Mason to sell a limited edition of 250 jars of honey, which were produced by bees that reside in her private garden in Wiltshire. The Duchess honey jars sold for £20 a jar and were hugely successful, selling out in two weeks at the store.[206] Sales of the Duchess of Cornwall honey were all donated to support the Medical Detection Dogs charity, of which she is patron.[207]

The Duchess visits Ballyhackamore Credit Union at East Belfast in May 2015

The Duchess supports organisations that battle around the world on poverty and homelessness. She is the patron of Emmaus UK, and in 2013 during her solo trip to Paris, she went to see the efforts and works done by the charity in the city. Every year around Christmas, she visits Emmaus communities across the UK.[22] To also help battle these issues, the Duchess is a staunch supporter of credit unions,[208] which she states is a "real force for change in the financial landscape, serve the people, not profit" and "provide a friendly financial community where members mutually benefit from advice, as well as savings accounts and loans."[209] She also supports healthy-eating, anti-FGM,[210] arts and heritage related organisations and programmes.[160]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Because the title Princess of Wales became strongly associated with the previous holder of that title, Diana, Camilla has adopted the feminine form of her husband's highest-ranking subsidiary title, Duke of Cornwall, although legally she is Princess of Wales. Although she will legally become queen consort if Prince Charles becomes king,[213][214] Clarence House stated on the occasion of their wedding in 2005 that it is intended that Camilla will adopt the unprecedented style of Princess Consort instead.[215] The title is similar to the style of Prince Albert. This is not the same usage as her father-in-law, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who does not hold the title of Prince Consort although he was created a Prince of the United Kingdom by his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.


See also List of honours of the British Royal Family by country



Academic degrees

Honorary military appointments

General Sir John McColl, Lieutenant Governor of Jersey, with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012

The Duchess of Cornwall holds the following military appointments:

Australia Australia
Canada Canada
United Kingdom United Kingdom



Name Birth Marriage Issue
Tom Parker Bowles 18 December 1974 10 September 2005 Sara Buys Lola Rosalind Parker Bowles
Freddy Parker Bowles
Laura Parker Bowles 1 January 1978 6 May 2006 Harry Lopes Eliza Lopes
Louis Lopes
Gus Lopes


The Duchess of Cornwall's ancestry is predominantly English. She also has Dutch, Scottish, Colonial American, French and French–Canadian ancestors.[228]

Camilla is descended from Dutch emigrant Arnold Joost van Keppel, who was created the Earl of Albemarle by King William III of England in 1696,[229] through her maternal great-great-grandfather William Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle. The Earl of Albemarle's son, Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, married Lady Anne Lennox, who was the daughter of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of King Charles II. Through Anne Lennox, her bloodline is descended from the House of Stuart and House of Bourbon.[228][230]

Camilla's Scottish line descends from King Robert III of Scotland through his daughter, Princess Mary Stewart of Scotland, who was the mother of Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath, an ancestor of her maternal great-great-grandfather, Sir William Edmonstone, 4th Baronet.[231] In addition, her paternal ancestors, a minor aristocratic (gentry) family emigrated to England from Scotland.[232] Camilla on her paternal side is descended from James Shand, 1st Laird of Craigellie, whose father, also named James Shand, held the office of Provost of Banff.[228] Other noble ancestors on her paternal side include George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, William Douglas, 7th Earl of Morton, and George Hay, 1st Earl of Kinnoull.[228]

Camilla's French lineage derives partly through her maternal great-great-grandmother, Sophia Mary MacNab of Hamilton, Ontario, daughter of Sir Allan MacNab, who was the Prime Minister of the Province of Canada before Confederation.[233] Sophia was the wife of William Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle and their son was The Hon. George Keppel (maternal great-grandfather of Camilla). Through Sophia, Camilla is descended from 17th century French colonists Zacharie Cloutier and Jean Guyon, who founded some of the principal families of Quebec City.[8][228]

Camilla is also descended from several American Loyalists through Sophia such as Ephraim Jones, born in Massachusetts in 1750, fought with the British during the American Revolution, was captured at the Battle of Saratoga, and later settled in Upper Canada. His daughter Sophia married John Stuart Jr., born 1777 in New York, the son of Rev. John Stuart, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1740 and was chaplain for the 2nd Battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York.[234]

Camilla is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, the first Norman King of England.[235] Through Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, Camilla and Prince Charles are ninth cousins once removed.[236][237]


  1. On the unusual occasions when a surname is used, it is Mountbatten-Windsor. Her first married name was Camilla Parker Bowles. Her full maiden name is Camilla Rosemary Shand.
  2. Charles and Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair by biographer Gyles Brandreth depicts Charles and Camilla's relationship as controversial due to its longevity and throughout the book shows the media's interest and representation to the public.
  3. Some sources report that she was born in Plumpton, but it seems that this is a confusion of her childhood home with her birthplace.


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Works cited

Further reading

External links

Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Queen
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
Followed by
The Countess of Wessex
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn
Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen
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