Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is set to become a Queen Consort when Prince Charles takes the throne. The couple’s rocky romance started with a public scandal but continues to this day as a royal union.
The young prince, 52 years ago, met the woman who would later be his wife in 1970. The duo dated for some time before Charles served in the Royal Navy as part as his duties.
When he returned home and after some time of the pair calling it quits, Camilla was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles. Camilla and Andrew married in 1973 and welcomed two children, Tom and Laura.
Charles moved on as well with Princess Diana. She would become one of the most famous and iconic royal faces of the British monarchy to date. They welcomed sons William and Harry after marrying in 1981.
However, Camilla and Charles found each other once again in life. She eventually became a working member of the royal family. Let’s take a look at their life together, and Camilla’s journey towards becoming Queen Consort, beside Prince Charles’ side.
It starts with a scandal
Camilla and Charles began seeing each other while they were both still married. Princess Diana famously told the BBC in a 1995 Panorama interview they were ‘three people’ inside her marriage to Charles. It’s believed they were seeing each other in 1986.
In 1994, Charles addressed rumours he was unfaithful to Diana during their marriage. He claimed he was “faithful and honorable” to the Princess of Wales until “it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried”. He made the comment during a documentary titled Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role.
Prime Minister John Major announced Charles and Diana had separated in December 1992. Camilla and Parker Bowles divorced in 1995, and Diana and Charles finalized theirs a year later. Princess Diana sadly died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The tragedy delayed the announcement of Camilla and Charles’ relationship.
Camilla admits “it was horrid”
After both couples divorced, and some time following Diana’s death, they went public with their relationship. They appeared in public together for the first time in 1999 – three years after the Princess of Wales’ passing.
Although it would be years before their union earned the approval of the royal family and majority of the British public.
The couple moved into Clarence House in August 2003 to start their life together.
In May 2017, Camilla opened up about the early days of their relationship being public to the Daily Mail.
She said: “It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it.
“I couldn’t have survived it without my family.”
They celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in April 2020 a couple of months after the Coronavirus pandemic halted the world. They shared a photo of themselves with their dogs Bluebell and Beth as they quarantined.
The future king and his future Queen’s consort, Camilla, tied the knot in 2005. Becoming the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the pair continued as working members of the royal family.
The pair exchanged vows in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall – low-key compared to all of the other royal weddings in the past and others to come in the future. The Queen and Prince Philip did not attend the ceremony. But they did join the royals at a reception at Windsor Castle.
Following their nuptials, Camilla became the Duchess of Cornwall. She would not be referred to as the Princess of Wales, a title which the public, and the royals, consider to belong to the late Diana.
The Prince of Wales even gushed over Camilla to CNN back in 2015 – a rare moment for the royal.
He said: “You can imagine, it is a real, real challenge.
“But she’s, I think, been brilliant in the way she’s tackled these things.”
Charles, who is first in line to the throne should Queen Elizabeth II pass away or abdicate, has had a weight on his shoulders. Camilla has taken on the supportive role alongside him.
Camilla the Queen’s Consort?
In 2016, Camilla, alongside Prince William (second in line to the throne), were appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council. It placed them in a group of Her Majesty’s most senior advisors.
But, will Camilla be Queen or Queen’s Consort? Her son Tom told The Times in 2021 her title hasn’t yet been decided.
He explained at the time: “I honestly don’t know if Mum will be called queen.
“That hasn’t been decided. There are a lot of interesting Sky documentaries about that I’m sure, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true.”
However, the monarch herself spoke out about the title a year later in 2022, writes The Independent. Ahead of the eve of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Her Majesty said it was her “sincere wish” Camilla be known as Queen Consort, when the day comes when Prince Charles takes the throne.
The day before the 70th anniversary of her accession (February 6, 1952), the Queen released a message as she looked back at her time as the head of Great Britain.
She said: “I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.
“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
What does Queen Consort mean?
Queen Consort refers to the spouse of a ruling King – in this case, it would be Prince Charles when he takes over the throne. It would mean Camilla would be known as Queen Camilla.
Initially, some believed Camilla would be referred to as Princess Consort when Charles ascended. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was entitled to use Prince Consort as he married a reigning Queen Elizabeth II (the only way for a man to become King is to inherit the title). However, he chose not to take the title and was known as Prince Philip.