Camilla, duchess of Cornwall


Camilla, duchess of Cornwall
▪ 2006

      On April 9, 2005, Camilla Parker Bowles married Charles, prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, in a civil ceremony followed by a church service of prayer and dedication. Technically, upon her marriage she became the princess of Wales, and when Charles eventually became king, she would become his queen. At the time of her wedding, however, she announced that she did not wish to be called princess and would not wish to be called queen. Instead, Camilla opted for the title duchess of Cornwall (from one of Charles's junior titles) and declared that when her husband ascended to the throne, she would adopt the title Her Royal Highness the Princess Consort. In view of her relationship with Charles over many years and her unpopularity with some sections of British public opinion—particularly in relation to the public's memory of his first wife, Diana, princess of Wales—the new duchess had little real alternative.

      Camilla Rosemary Shand was born in London on July 17, 1947. She was the great-granddaughter of Alice Keppel, the mistress of Charles's great-great-grandfather King Edward VII, and was brought up to be familiar with the world of royalty and Britain's upper classes. She met Charles at a polo match in 1970, before either of them was married. Many in their circle expected Charles to propose to her, but he delayed doing so. In 1973 she married Andrew Parker Bowles, an army officer and friend of Charles; they had two children and remained in the prince's circle of friends. Camilla was a keen horsewoman and took part in rural gentry activities, including fox hunting (an activity made illegal in 2005). Her lifestyle survived largely unscathed when she was one of the “names” (investors) in Lloyds of London who lost money in a scandal that engulfed many Lloyds insurance underwriters in the 1980s.

      Some years after her marriage, Camilla resumed her relationship with Charles. In 1995 she was divorced from Parker Bowles (who soon afterward married his own mistress). Diana, whom Charles had married in 1981, blamed Camilla for the 1992 breakup of her marriage. Even though Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, it seemed unlikely that the prince would choose to offend public opinion by marrying Camilla. There was also much debate over whether Charles, as the future head of the Church of England, should be allowed to remarry. Diana's death in 1997 changed the situation to a certain extent, but Camilla had some difficulty winning the hearts of both the British people and, perhaps more important, Charles's mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Charles and Camilla began to appear together in public and gradually came to be accepted as a couple. When their engagement was announced on Feb. 10, 2005, the queen publicly bestowed her blessing.

      Though the wedding was set for April 8, it had to be postponed to allow Charles to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The low-key wedding proved to be a success with the British public, and by year's end even Camilla's critics were acknowledging that the duchess had settled into her new role in the royal family.

Peter Kellner

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▪ British duchess
officially  HRH The Duchess of Cornwall , formerly  Camilla Parker Bowles , original name  Camilla Rosemary Shand 
born July 17, 1947, London, Eng.
 
 consort (2005– ) of Charles, prince of Wales.

      Camilla's great-grandmother was Alice Keppel, the mistress of Charles's great-great-grandfather King Edward VII (Edward VII), and Camilla was brought up to be familiar with the world of royalty and Britain's upper classes. She met Charles at a polo match in 1970, before either of them was married. Many in their circle expected Charles to propose to her, but in 1973 she married Andrew Parker Bowles, an army officer and friend of Charles; they had two children and remained in the prince's circle of friends. Camilla was a keen horsewoman and took part in rural gentry activities, including fox hunting (an activity made illegal in 2005). Her lifestyle survived largely unscathed when she was one of the “names” (investors) in Lloyd's of London who lost money in a scandal that engulfed many of that company's insurance underwriters in the 1980s.

      Some years after her marriage, Camilla resumed her relationship with Charles. In 1995 she divorced Parker Bowles (who soon afterward married his own mistress). Diana, princess of Wales, whom Charles had married in 1981, blamed Camilla for the 1992 breakup of her marriage. Even though Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, it seemed unlikely that the prince would choose to offend public opinion by marrying Camilla. Following Diana's death in 1997, however, Charles and Camilla began to appear together in public and gradually came to be accepted as a couple. When their engagement was announced on Feb. 10, 2005, Queen Elizabeth II publicly bestowed her blessing.

      Though the wedding was set for April 8, 2005, it had to be postponed to allow Charles to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II. On April 9, Camilla married Charles in a civil ceremony followed by a church service of prayer and dedication. The low-key wedding proved to be a success with the British public, and by year's end even Camilla's critics acknowledged that she had settled into her new role in the royal family. Technically, upon her marriage she became the princess of Wales, and when Charles eventually became king, she would become his queen. At the time of her wedding, however, she announced that she did not wish to be called princess and would not wish to be called queen. Instead, Camilla opted for the title duchess of Cornwall (from one of Charles's junior titles) and declared that when her husband ascended to the throne, she would adopt the title Her Royal Highness the Princess Consort.

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Universalium. 2010.

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