Mistress to Queen: Camilla's intense journey of winning over public amid love for Diana

Written By: Zeba Khan | Updated: Feb 08, 2022, 01:05 PM(IST)

It’s not been an easy ride for Camilla Parker Bowles aka the Duchess of Cornwall who will soon be the Queen Consort when husband Prince Charles takes over as King. The woman who was always snubbed by the public as the ‘other woman’ since her affair caused a massive heartbreak for late Princess Diana who was married to Charles – has now moved on to become quite popular. From scandals to public shaming and now finally getting legitimacy to her relationship with Charles, Camilla has come a long way. 

Who is Camilla? How Charles-Camilla came into being

Camilla Rosemary Shand was born on July 17, 1947, in London. Camilla had a thoroughly upper-class childhood that was fun and joyful. Raised primarily in the East Sussex countryside, she was extremely close to her siblings and parents, Bruce and Rosalind. Camilla was fun-loving, athletic, and unambitious. As for her relationship with Charles, he always spoke about it as “blissful, peaceful and mutually happy”. He, however, had to choose Diana to marry as his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten and others from the family subsequently disapproved of the relationship since Camilla was not a virgin, nor aristocratic enough. There was also the fact that Camilla was head over heels in love with Army Cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles. She eventually married him and had kids but left him not long before as he had a wandering eye throughout their marriage. 


Camilla: Mistress to Queen Consort

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall will become the Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King. The Queen marked her Platinum Jubilee by making this announcement and made quite a stir. When Camilla married Charles in 2005, the public opinion wasn’t so favourable towards her but looks like it's moved on from her getting blamed for breakage of marriage between Diana and Charles to now them acknowledging the Prince’s love for her. 


Camilla: The Public Shaming

Camilla’s entry into the public eye was scandalous as Prince Charles’ then wife Diana, Princess of Wales told BBC while separating from him that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” as for what hit them and broke thor marriage. The royal couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Diana would speak about Camilla and her influence over Charles and their affair that broke apart the marriage. This led to the public developing sympathy for Diana and hatred for Camilla. 


Camilla vs Diana: The More Loved Princess?

Diana always had sympathy of the public and the Royal Family since she was the mother of royal heirs William and Harry and was the wife of Charles. Camilla was always seen as the “other” and this led to constant comparisons between the two women. While Diana never really called out Camilla in public, she did say that her husband’s affair with her affected their marriage and in effect her mental health. It all aggravated when Diana was killed tragically in a car accident and the public blamed all the breakup trauma for this. 


Camilla: Change in Public Sentiment

Once the “most hated woman in Britain”, the change in public sentiment, however, did not happen overnight as Charles’s official biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, predicted on BBC’s Panorama programme in 2005 that the British public may one day want Camilla to be Queen. He said, ‘We’ve seen massive shifts in public opinion, from her, Camilla, being regarded as the other woman, through to her being seen now as a very attractive spouse who makes the prince happy, who appears in public, who is gracious, who joins in – in a crowd, who communicates very effectively.”


Camilla: Finding Legitimacy in Relationship

Prince Charles and Camilla’s relationship became legitimate after they married in 2005. This after their relationship began 30 years before, much before Charles met Diana. Ever since their marriage, Camilla has taken on a more prominent position within the Royal Family over the years. She’s had several high-profile events where gestures have been made that she has been welcomed by the family. This includes the time when she rode next to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee carriage procession to attend the State Opening of Parliament.


Read in App