Camilla Parker Bowles: The controversial figure who could become queen

In 2004 writer and playwright Kate Mosse was at the party for the food writer Tom Parker Bowles. “I remember standing in the queue for the toilet with an incredibly sweet woman, who had a pretty deep and infectious laugh, and we had a chat. It was the women’s dressing room moment, ”Mosse said Penny Junor, author of The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the love affair that shook the crown. It was only later in the evening that she found out that the mysterious woman who was a “complete hoot” was none other than Tom’s mother, the infamous Camilla Parker Bowles.

Moses’ reaction to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is typical of those who actually meet her. “She has a lovely personality. She is very welcoming, very easy to talk to, warm, friendly, funny,” Junor, a journalist who has written several books about the royals, including Duchess, which is the only serious biography about Camilla, tells Vanity Fair. “She always has a twinkle in her eye and is a terrible giggle, often reducing Charles also for gout attacks. “

If she giggles Prince William, creeping flashes for photographers below Donald Trump2019 visit to England, play or laughing after a bee flew in Prince Harry‘s hair, Camilla often seems to have the most fun in the room. She is also self-ironic. According to Junor, when the late actress Elaine Stritch told her, “No shit, you look good,” Camilla replied, “You need glasses.”

Once denounced as the “most hated woman in Britain”, Camilla has proven that she is much more than the “third person” in Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage. Confident and airy, she loves the competitive dance show Strictly Come Dancing; her rescue Jack Russell terrier, Bluebell and Beth; and Charles, the future King of England. Now, when it comes to inheritance, the real question is: Does the British public love Camilla enough to accept her as its queen?

Camilla Rosemary Shand was born on July 17, 1947 in London. Unlike Charles and Diana, the thoroughly upper-class Camilla had an extraordinarily noisy and joyful childhood. Raised primarily in the countryside of East Sussex, she was extremely close to her siblings and parents, Bruce and Rosalind, who (atypically for the time being) were practical parents. “As a little girl, she happily marched into school without looking back,” Junor writes The Duchess. “She galloped her pony and flew over jumps without an anxious thought. She stormed out into the sea and laughed at the waves. ”

An indifferent student, Camilla was cheerful, athletic and unambitious. “She could not have been less interested in the idea of ​​a career. She did not itch after traveling … and had no desire to go to university, ”Junor writes The Duchess. “She wanted nothing more from life than to be happily married to an upper-class man and live a social life in the country with horses, dogs, children and someone to look after them all and do the hard grafting.”

This ambition was not deterred when she met Charles in the summer of 1971. Although, according to Junor, there was an immediate attraction, especially from the awkward Prince of Wales’ side. “Charles loved that Camilla smiled with both eyes and mouth and laughed at the same silly things he did,” Junor writes.

The two began dating, and Charles later described the relationship as “blissful, peaceful and mutually happy.” External forces, however, were pulling them apart. According to Junor, Charles’ great-uncle and surrogate father, Lord Mountbatten, rejected the relationship when Camilla was not a virgin or aristocratic enough. There was also the fact that Camilla was head over heels in love with the handsome, sophisticated Army Calvary officer Andrew Parker Bowles, who had a reputation as a womanizer and reportedly dated Princess Anne for a period.

A determined Camilla finally got hold of Andrew, and they married in July 1973, despite Charles’ pleas to cancel the wedding. They had two children, Tom and Laura, and Camilla adapted to the role she had always wanted, namely as a wife and mother in the country.

Camilla’s heartwarming nature, however, was highly tested by Andrew’s dismissive attitude and constant filth. According to Junor, Andrew’s infidelity was so well known that a friend once teased him: “I’m really hurt, Andrew. I’m the only one of Camilla’s friends you have not broken through. What’s wrong with me?”

Soon Charles was back in his life as a best friend and in the late 1970s as a lover. The lone prince was a frequent guest in Parker Bowles’ home, where Camilla hosted warm, wine-filled parties. “She treated him like a normal person, as she did when they were together, and if he ever behaved badly, or was selfish or thoughtless, she was not afraid to tell him so,” Junor writes in The Duchess. “She was a real friend.”


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