just over 25 years after the death of Charles’ first wife DianaCamilla, Princess of Wales, remains a divisive figure in Britain.
Here’s what you should know:
Born Camilla Shand in July 1947, she is said to have met Prince Charles at a polo match in Windsor in 1970 and they became friends.
The following year Charles joined the Royal Navy, and while he was away, Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles. The couple had two children during the 1970s.
Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, but admitted in 1994 that he was having an affair with Camilla.
Camilla divorced from Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995. Charles and Diana divorced the following year and Camilla completely disappeared from public life as public and media support swung behind the princess. Pro-Diana and anti-Camilla sentiment escalated as sympathy for Diana escalated after her death in a high-speed car crash in Paris in 1997.
In 1999, Clarence House embarked on a program to reintroduce Camilla to the public through a carefully organized debut with Charles outside the Ritz Hotel in London. She moved to Clarence House to be with Charles and her name began to appear in official papers.
Their story reached its climax in 2005, when they married in Windsor, with the consent of the Queen. Camilla, now known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, has been confirmed to be the official consort of Charles and the future Queen of the United Kingdom.
The Duchess threw herself into life as a senior member of the royal family, supporting Charles in his official UK engagements and on overseas tours, despite her severe fear of flying. She quickly became an asset to the royal family and the British government with her combined touch and ability to defuse tension in the room.
The moment her husband became king, Camilla automatically became queen. However, it was long believed that she would not use the title, Clarence House issued a statement in 2005 saying that she would instead be known as the “Princess Consort.” Some in the palace at the time felt the audience was not ready for Camilla to take the title that was destined for Diana.
But over the years, attitudes towards Camilla have subsided. In 2015, a CNN poll found that one in four Britons who have grown to love her more and more oppose her becoming queen.
Then, in February 2022, the Queen used the milestone of her platinum jubilee to give her blessing to the Duchess of Cornwall to become Queen when the time comes. It was a very important intervention from the King, the only person who could determine royal titles.
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”