Belated Happy Birthday greetings to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. She turned 65 on July 17. Let’s take a look at the woman currently married to Britain’s Prince Charles. Here are some things you may not know about Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall:
- Camilla was born Camilla Shand. Her father was a British Army Officer who was a POW during WWII. Her mother was the daughter of a Baron.
- Prior to meeting Prince Charles, Camilla had a privileged upbringing. She attended finishing school in Switzerland and was a London debutante in 1965.
- Camilla met Charles at a polo match in 1970. She became one of his many girlfriends. There’s speculation that Charles’ uncle, Lord Mountbatten, arranged for Charles to travel overseas on military duty in 1972 in order to cut short his relationship with Camilla. Lord Mountbatten hoped for Charles to marry Mountbatten’s granddaughter, Amanda Knatchbull.
- With Charles gone, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. She was 26 and he was 34. They had two children, Tom and Laura. Charles was dejected over the marriage and wrote to his uncle, “I suppose the emptiness will pass eventually.”
- Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981, but he and Camilla reportedly had continued their relationship. Camilla’s husband was evidently okay with this arrangement.
- As the royal marriage crumbled, Diana gave an interview on a British TV program, sharing that “there were three in our marriage, so things were a bit crowded.” Camilla was probably the most hated woman in Britain.
- Diana was killed in a 1997 car crash in Paris, and Camilla was forced to lay low. She and her husband had divorced in 1995.
- Charles and Camilla married in 2005. This would have been unthinkable ten years prior, but in the interval the public approved of Camilla’s low-key profile and saw the way she supported Charles.
As I check out at the grocery, I regularly see articles about Charles and Camilla fighting. I don’t know if that’s true; I hope not. While I am not happy about Camilla’s role in breaking up Charles and Diana’s marriage, I blame Charles at least as much. Darn it, I just wish he had married her in the first place and spared Diana all the grief she endured. At this point, I hope Charles and Camilla have found happiness.
Camilla has five grandchildren. You probably saw her granddaughter, Eliza Lopes, in Prince William and Kate’s April 2011 wedding.
I have some sympathy for Camilla as well. It can’t be easy being an average-looking woman, always being compared to the beautiful Princess Diana, and now the lovely Kate Middleton. And yet, Camilla — true to her royal status — carries on.
Happy Birthday, Duchess!
You may also enjoy: