Camilla, the love of King Charles III who divided the United Kingdom. What do we know about the Queen’s consort?

London (CNN) — With her husband’s ascension to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, Camilla became Queen Consort and will take on a new and more prominent role alongside King Charles III.

Just over 25 years after the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, Camilla remains a controversial figure in Britain.

Since she and Charles married in 2005, Camilla has worked hard as a senior royal, supporting Charles and championing charities that help women and children. But many people find it hard to forget or forgive their long relationship and the pain it caused Diana.

The Netflix drama The Crown has brought this tumultuous period into focus in recent seasons, introducing some viewers to Camilla and reminding others of her past.

So what can we expect from the new Queen of Great Britain?

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were seen together in late 1979 before his marriage to Diana. (Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

What we know about Camilla, the Queen consort of the United Kingdom

Born Camilla Shand in July 1947, she grew up in the English countryside where she developed a passion for horses.

He reportedly 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 in the 1970s.

Carlos married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 in a seemingly fairytale ceremony watched by millions around the world. But in 1994, he admitted to having an extramarital affair with Camilla.

Diana confirmed the infidelity and her own the following year during an explosive interview with the BBC when she said: “There were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.”

Camilla divorced Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995. Charles and Diana divorced the following year and Camilla almost disappeared from public life as public and media support rallied behind the princess. Pro-Diana and anti-Camilla sentiment was compounded by widespread sympathy for Diana after she was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Prince Charles is seen chatting with Camilla Parker Bowles at a polo match in Cirencester Park, England, in July 1975 (Credit: Shutterstock)

In 1999, Clarence House launched a program to re-introduce Camilla to the public with a carefully orchestrated first appearance of Carlos outside the Ritz Hotel in London. Camila moved into Clarence House to be with Carlos, and her name began to appear in official documents.

Six years later, their decades-long love affair culminated when they married in Windsor with the consent of the Queen Mother. Camilla, now known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, was confirmed as Charles’ official wife and future Queen of the United Kingdom.

Camilla’s role in the royal family and with Carlos

The Duchess began life as a senior royal, supporting Charles on official engagements in the UK and on overseas tours, despite his deep fear of flying. He quickly became an asset to the royal family and the British government with his common touch and ability to diffuse the tension in a room.

“It’s always nice to have someone on your side,” Prince Charles told CNN in 2015. “She’s very supportive. The good thing is that we laugh a lot because she sees the funny side of life, thank God. Yes, you can imagine, it adds a lot to the whole thing.”

Camilla has also defined her own royal role by supporting causes close to her heart, such as children’s literacy and supporting victims of domestic violence. She told CNN during a visit to a women’s shelter in Bristol, England, in 2017 that she was able to use her position to highlight the plight of “brave women” who suffer at the hands of their partners. “Seeing is believing, hearing is believing,” he said.

Charles and his wife Camilla pose in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony on April 9, 2005 in Windsor, England. (Credit: Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty Images)

The duchess also works to raise awareness of osteoporosis, a disease that affected both her mother and grandmother. “She’s deeply moved by it,” Prince Charles told CNN in 2015.

She added: “I think he has done wonderful things with the whole issue of violence against women, rape and sexual assault. I think he’s been pretty remarkable in what he’s done on that front. And then again with all her literacy work, because she’s crazy about reading, and her dad was a great reader, and I think he encouraged her that way, so she devours books of all kinds.”

“I’m so proud of her and through everything she tries to support me, which is wonderful of her,” Carlos said.

As Camilla’s family grew, a new passion emerged: grandchildren. “She’s a professional grandmother,” one of her advisers told CNN in 2013.

Queen consort

The moment her husband became king, Camilla automatically became queen. However, it was long believed that she would not use the title, as in 2005 Clarence House issued a statement saying that she would instead be known as “The Princess Consort”. Some in the palace at the time believed that the public was not ready for Camilla to take a title intended for Diana.

But over the years, the attitude towards Camilla softened. In 2015, a CNN poll found that one in four Britons liked her more and fewer people opposed her being known as Queen.

Then, in February 2022, the Queen used the historic milestone of her Platinum Jubilee to give her blessing for the Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen when the time comes.

In a message marking the 70th anniversary of his accession to the British throne, he said: “When in due course my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support you have given me.” ” granted ; and it is my earnest wish that, when that time comes, Camilla may be known as Queen Consort while she continues her loyal service.”

In response, a spokesman for Carlos and Camilla said they were “touched and honored by Her Majesty’s words”.

This was a very significant intervention on the part of the monarch, the only person who can define royal titles.

Elizabeth’s move towards a future-proof monarchy underlined that Camilla was no longer seen, either in public or within palace walls, as a royal mistress, but as a central figure at the very heart of the ‘firm’.

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