Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO, CSM, PC Camilla Rosemary Shand, previously Parker Bowles was born on 17 July 1947), is the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent to the British throne. Instead of using the title of Princess of Wales, she uses the title Duchess of Cornwall, 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 become a queen consort; however, an official statement issued by Clarence House on the day of her marriage to Charles announced that she would be known as the Princess Consort.
Camilla is the eldest child of Major Bruce Shand and his wife Rosalind Cubitt, the daughter of Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. She was raised in East Sussex and South Kensington, and educated in England, Switzerland and France. She worked for different firms 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.
Camilla was in a relationship with the Prince of Wales before, during and after their former marriages. The relationship became highly publicized in the media and attracted worldwide scrutiny. 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 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 organizations. Since 1994, she has taken action on osteoporosis, earning honors and awards. She has also raised awareness in areas including rape and sexual abuse, literacy and poverty, for which she has latterly been praised.
Camilla and Prince Charles reportedly met in mid-1971. Though they both belonged to the same social circle and occasionally attended the same events, they had not formally met. Gyles Brandreth has written that the couple did not meet at a polo match, as has been commonly believed. Instead, they were formally introduced to each other at an event by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz. They became close friends and eventually began seeing one another, which was well known within their social circle. When they became a couple, they regularly met at polo matches at Smith’s Lawn in Windsor Great Park, where Charles often played polo. They also became part of a set at Annabel’s in Berkeley Square. As the relationship grew more serious, Charles met Camilla’s family in Plumpton and he introduced her to some members of his family. The relationship was put on hold after Charles travelled overseas to join the Royal Navy in early 1973; however, it ended abruptly afterwards.
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. 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. Some sources 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. 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 or that Charles had decided he would not marry until he was thirty years old.