Anyone who says they love the royal family out of loyalty might not be telling the truth. It's the drama behind the scenes that makes us want them in our lives. They tend to keep almost everything hush, but the stories that come out are something else.
One of the biggest scandals to rock the royal household was the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Of course, this begs the question: What did Queen Elizabeth have to say about this?
The Queen Was Not a Fan
As much as Elizabeth and Diana had their differences, she still had some form of respect and decorum for her former daughter-in-law. Unfortunately, Camilla can't say the same. The queen always considered her a negative element within the palace, and things got only worse when Diana credited her with the failure of her marriage.
The relationship between them was pretty bad, if there was one. At least that could have been slightly better than how the queen refused to acknowledge Camilla's existence.
The Oilskin of the House
The queen is revered for being one of the most stoic people to have graced the public eye. So it was challenging to get her opinions known regarding any scandals that came about. So it would take a special someone and occasion to have her open up.
According to Tom Bower in his book "Rebel Prince: The Power and Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles," the queen was hesitant and unenthusiastic about inviting Charles's lover into the family. When the prince confronted the queen about this, he chose the worst time possible, considering the lady had had a couple of martinis. The queen replied that she would never forgive Camilla for not giving Charles space to salvage his marriage and even referred to Camilla as "that wicked woman."
She Was a Liability
After Princess Diana passed away in 1997, the prince continued the relationship with his longtime partner Camilla. Eventually, the pair would get married, but this would not change the queen's stance on the affair. Elizabeth did her best to steer clear of Camilla and acted like she was not part of the family.
After the scandalous marriage between Charles and Diana- partly thanks to Camilla- the queen was convinced there was a fire on the mountain. Furthermore, Elizabeth was convinced Camilla was a liability to the royal household, and only time would prove her right.
The Queen of Sabotage
Her majesty's distaste for Camilla went so deep that she ended up losing her noble side. According to Vanity Fair, Sir Michael Peat might have been hired as Charles's private secretary, but he was working for the queen.
Elizabeth believed Camilla was a distraction to the prince, and Michael was expected to break the couple up. Unfortunately, this plan failed terribly as Michael grew loyal to Charles and soon became a proponent of his new marriage. Michael is the one who broached the subject of marriage to the prince claiming going unmarried with Camilla was a bad call.
Don't Believe the Hype
So far, it's clear to see the disdain the queen had for her son's lover. Nonetheless, Elizabeth knew the couple would be making public appearances after the wedding, and she'd have to be cool with it. So, in public, the matriarch would act calm and cordial with Camilla, but she stuck to her guns in private.
The chemistry between Charles and Camilla was undeniable, but the queen was convinced that the prince had chosen love over duty. Unfortunately, the queen was not the only one opposed to this union, as Lord Mountbatten expressed his disappointment in Charles.
The Queen Bows Down
Camilla's relationship with Charles was a long and winded one lasting several decades. It wasn't until Charles' divorce that the pair finally took the next step officially and publicly. Interestingly, Camilla never met the queen until 2000.
Elizabeth was not ready to meet the woman, but an official meeting was set up on the 60th birthday of the former king of Greece. The party was held at Gloucestershire in Charles' home, where all three parties finally sat down. It is believed that the birthday boy had a hand in this as he encouraged Charles to take the necessary step.
She Made Technical Appearances
Before the formal meeting, the queen went above and beyond to ensure she was never in the same room with Camilla. She refused to meet the woman or be in the same room. It was so bad Elizabeth missed her son's 50th birthday because his lover would be there.
Charles didn't like this development, but the queen wouldn't budge. According to the royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell, Elizabeth's hesitance was because the relationship took off just two years after Diana's passing. Elizabeth was afraid this relationship would harm the royal household.
She Missed the Wedding
Even after the official meeting in 2000, it seems Elizabeth was still hesitant about the whole affair. As a result, Queen Elizabeth was inconspicuously missing from attendance when Charles and Camilla tied the knot in 2005. Some tabloids reported that the queen had refused to attend the ceremony.
Elizabeth refuted these claims stating that her position as the head of the Church of England didn't allow her to participate as it would go against her moral compass. On the other hand, some reports claimed that the queen was embarrassed that the wedding couldn't be held in a church, but an insider refuted these statements.
She's Not the Right Fit
Many believe this madness could have been avoided had Charles opted to marry Camilla before Diana came into the picture. Sadly, this was easier said than done as the queen barred Camilla from meeting Charles and insisted she wouldn't have Camilla in her presence.
Charles wasn't Camilla's lover, and Elizabeth saw this as a sign of being unmarriageable. This was considered a deal breaker in the royal circles as they wanted a virgin who hadn't been around for Charles. That said, Charles wasn't any better as he had been in several relationships before Diana, leading to more confusion.
Time to Say Something
During the wedding celebrations, the queen took the stage when her time came and, unsurprisingly, gave a pretty interesting speech. On the wedding day, the queen's horse won a race, and she told the couple she was happy to invite the newlyweds to the "winners' enclosure."
As much as it sounds weird, horses and all matters relating to sports are a pretty solid affair for the royal household. So this invite was pretty big, all things considered. According to Vanity Fair, the queen was proud of the couple and wished them well.
Talk About Strange Encounters
Body language plays a big part in many relationships, and many people pay close attention to every interaction between Elizabeth and Camilla. In 2020 the royal family had a Christmas reunion, and people didn't waste any time looking into the matter.
According to some experts, the queen was still as lively as ever when speaking to Charles and Camilla, exuding her usual aura of command. However, Camilla seemed a bit more tense and awkward as she held back during the exchange.
It Wasn't All Thorns and Thistles
Contrary to what the information so far might make you believe, Camilla and Elizabeth had their good spells and shared interests. Believe it or not, both ladies had a soft spot for the performing arts with a higher interest in ballet.
During the lockdown, Camilla revealed that she had picked up ballet to help her stay active. During this time, Camilla became the vice-patron of the Royal Academy of Dance. We don't have to tell you who the original patron of the academy is, now do we?
Slowly Easing the Tension
Luckily, despite their long standoff, the tension between the ladies slowly decreased over time as they started hanging out more often. Don't get it wrong, they were in no way buddy-buddy with each other, but the relationship was cordial based on their shared interests.
In 2015, the Royal Windsor Horse Show was treated to a rare spectacle as Camilla and Elizabeth were seen and pictured having a fantastic time. Unlike previous occasions where the queen would have avoided her, they sat down together and engaged in conversation throughout the event.
An Unlikely Hero in the Media
As vile as we would want to paint the mainstream news outlets and tabloids, they had a pretty hand in how the relationship between Elizabeth and Camilla progressed and was portrayed. Before their wedding, Charles and Camilla went to great lengths to sanitize their image through the media, which worked. As soon as the people softened their stance, the queen followed suit.
Many believe that the only reason the queen wanted to distance herself was due to the public image the relationship would bring. Eventually, thanks to the media campaign, our lady softened her heart, blessed the union, and even asked Camilla to sit next to her for the Diamond Jubilee procession.
Why They Didn't Get Married Earlier
Looking at this relationship, all signs point toward love and affection. Charles and Camilla are meant for each other, so the marriage would have been a no-brainer for the couple. If anything, the marriage to Diana was a sham, and all the turmoil could have been avoided had Charles gone for Camilla instead.
It's believed that the queen orchestrated a ploy to send Charles on a military assignment thus ending the relationship with Camilla. On the other hand, it's said that Camilla's father cajoled Andrew to marry his daughter by forcing his hand. The man placed a fake engagement announcement in The Times. Luckily, Bruce Shand- Camilla's father- would make amends by pushing for Charles to marry Camilla.
All That Bling Is Legit
As much as the queen had done her fair share of dirt, some moments had everyone in awe. For example, in 2005, when Charles proposed to his lover, he used a family heirloom passed down from the queen herself. The engagement ring had belonged to the queen's mother and would now be in the hands of Camilla.
It was a heartfelt and purposeful gift that showed where Elizabeth's heart stood. Her stance had considerably softened, and she had warmed to the reality of her son's relationship.
No More Schemes and Plots
2005 was a big year for this exciting relationship, as Elizabeth had shown she was ready to move forward and build a relationship with Camilla. According to some reports, the central turning point came after the wedding.
This is because Elizabeth and Camilla started showing up together in public more often than before. On the other hand, it looked like the ladies had several common interests, from ballet to everything equestrian-related. It was a new world for the pair, and things were looking up.
A Toast From the Queen
Despite all the happenings between the queen and her daughter-in-law, her relationship with Charles has been pretty complicated. However, the Camilla situation has been the silver lining this mother-son combo needed. After the marriage, Charles and the Queen had a glorious renaissance in their bond.
On Charles' 70th birthday, the queen praised her son more than ever and even toasted Camilla for positively influencing the prince. However, something unseen had people wondering what had just happened.
Blessings on Blessings on Blessings
Even after the marriage, reports indicated that Camilla would never inherit the title of the Princess of Wales. This was meant to prevent further backlash from the public, thanks to the relationship between the previous title holder and the newlyweds. It was also believed that Camilla would only be referred to as "Princess Consort" when he finally ascended the throne.
This would have broken years of tradition where every monarch's wife held the title of queen. That's why, when Elizabeth announced that she wanted Camilla to be referred to as Queen Consort, many people had already predicted it.
Some Secret Family Ties
It's not news that there has been some inbreeding within the royal family tree. However, this case might be quite surprising for most to bear. There's a possibility Camilla and her husband are related, albeit as distant cousins.
Charles' ancestor King Edward VII had a relationship with Alice Keppel, Camilla's great-grandmother, until the king's passing. The story further states that Keppel's daughter, Sonia, was the king's. Sonia, in turn, is Camilla's paternal great-grandmother. If this information is accurate, it makes Camilla and Charles relatives at least half-third cousins.
She Bet on the Wrong Horse
Before Charles, Camilla was in a relationship with Andrew, who had a funky reputation for being a ladies' man. At one point, the lad even dated Princess Anne, Charles' younger sister, while he and Camilla were on a break.
Surprisingly, the queen took a liking to Andrew and even invited him to Windsor Castle to holiday with the royal family for Ascot week. It's also believed that Camilla began a relationship with Charles to make Andrew jealous. It was a funky affair, but at least everything worked out.
She Won the Queen Over
As soon as Camilla got the green light as an official member of the royal household, the lady quickly got to work proving her mettle. She is considered one of the most productive senior royals, extensively involved in various charitable endeavors.
When 2016 rolled by, as Elizabeth's calendar was being drafted, she passed on several patronages to her new daughter-in-law. If there were any doubts about how the queen felt, they were gone now. By the time the queen passed away, Camilla had taken over the presidency or patronage of over 90 charities.
The End Justifies the Means
By 2022, Camilla had been accepted by the queen and the public alike. Over the years, the queen had been grooming the lady to take over the royal responsibilities when her time came. In 2016, Camilla joined the Queen's Privy Council, a sign that Elizabeth believed in the woman.
In 2021, our lady Camilla was named to the Order of the Garter, the highest knighthood in Britain. Surprisingly, despite their many differences, Camilla was the only child-in-law to receive such an honor from Queen Elizabeth.
From Affair to Marriage to a King: The Life of Camilla Parker Bowles
From being Prince Charles' 'other woman', marrying her royal lover 34 years later, to finally becoming the wife of a King, Camilla Parker Bowles, has certainly proven to be someone who knows what they want out of life. Here are all the facts about the woman who became the reigning monarch's consort.
Camilla And The Queen Were Not Close
Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that Camilla's first introduction to the royal family was not a particularly scandal-free one. She was 'the other woman,' and because of this, the former Queen Elizabeth II was not a fan of her daughter-in-law.
The Queen was so unimpressed with Parker-Bowles' position, and presence within the family, that she was once said to have called her "that wicked, wicked woman". Though it does seem that over the years the Queen did warm to her daughter-in-law, and in a statement made during the 2020 pandemic the monarch asked that the British people give Camilla the same respect as they have her when it came time for Charles to become King.
High Society And Higher Aspirations
Camilla Rosemary Shand was born into high society through both her parents. Her father Major Bruce Shand was a former British Army officer, and her mother Rosaland was the daughter of Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. Her father also held the title of Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex.
A young Camilla spent her childhood years living a privileged and carefree life with her parents and younger siblings at the family's estate, The Laines, a country house in Plumpton, East Essex, and also in a three-story house in South Kensington. Camilla is very close to her sister Annabel and was also close to her brother Mark before he passed away in 2014.
The Infamous Alice Keppel
Camilla Parker Bowles's maternal great-grandmother was Alice Keppel, who is notorious for being the long-time mistress of King Edward VII. King Edward VII was the great-great-grandfather to Camilla's husband King Charles III. How is that for a connection?
When Parker-Bowles was still at school at Queen's Gate School she loved to brag to her classmates about this piece of family history, and would often declare that she was a member of the royal family through association. Little did she know that she too would become the mistress of a royal.
The Most Notorious Affair
Camilla Parker Bowles and King Charles III (then Prince Charles) were involved in one of the most notorious affairs in British royal family history. Not only did it go on for over 30 years, but it was also considered to be pretty legendary in terms of what the lovers had to do to keep it a secret.
Charles used to instruct his valet to disarm the palace's alarm system allowing for the lovers to consort within his bedroom. Camilla would leave her bedclothes ruffled so that it looked as though she had slept at home. When Charles visited Camilla servants were instructed to leave all the lights off at night, and because he left in the early hours of the morning he became known as 'The Prince of Darkness'.
The Tomboy And Her School Days
Camilla Shand attended the very prestigious Queen's Gate School in South Kensington and was nicknamed 'Milla' by all the other posh school children. Young Camilla was both an avid reader, and a bit of a 'tomboy' at school according to her classmates.
Camilla attended school alongside Lynn Redgrave, the esteemed British actress. During her teen years, she attended the Mon Fertile School in Switzerland, a finishing school that didn't leave a lasting impression on Camilla as she found the school deathly boring.
She Just Wanted To Have Fun
According to her famous classmate at Queen's Gate, Lynn Redgrave, Parker-Bowles not only wanted to have fun, but she also made it very clear to her friends and peers that she intended to marry well.
At the age of 16, Camilla graduated from Queen's Gate with one O-Level, and instead of going on to do her A-levels she instead attended a finishing school where she was described as having a "sexy confidence over men". After finishing school, Camilla traveled to France where she studied French at the Univerity of London Institute in Paris.
The Lantern-Jawed Beauty
According to several news outlets, and very possibly her former classmates, Camilla Parler-Bowles was never considered to be much of a beauty. Her features have been described as "lantern-jawed", and this according to some, is why she was never seen as a threat by other women.
Shallowness aside, this was back in the day when being classified as a 'tomboy' was already a death sentence in terms of being marriage material. However, her sense of humor and confidence made her a firm favorite, especially around men, and she was therefore never without a male companion.
Holding Out For A King
It appears that Camilla Parker Bowles knew exactly what she wanted from a very young age. Whilst her peers and fellow aristocrats were becoming engaged all around her, Camilla was a little slower to bag a man than the rest.
Her flatmate Virginia Carrington married Camilla's uncle Henry Cubitt, who was a real estate tycoon. It was common for women of a certain social standing to marry accordingly, but Camilla always insisted that she was "holding out for a king".
A Ring Fit For A Queen
Camilla Parker-Bowles' engagement ring from Prince Charles was handed down from his grandmother, The Queen Mother. After 34 years of waiting Charles was finally able to give the ring to the woman, he wanted to marry.
The ring is an emerald cut, five-carat diamond solitaire surrounded by six diamond baguettes, and is a one-of-a-kind, and from the Art Deco era. It is unsure who owned the ring before his grandmother, but there are photographs of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother wearing the same ring in the '80s.
Codename Operation Parker Bowles
Prince Charles and his then-wife the late Princess Diana became separated in 1992, five years before her death, and during that very awkward time, the royal family felt they needed to come up with a plan to introduce Camilla to the public.
Diana and Charles divorced in 1996, and throughout those years Camilla and Charles continued their relationship. Those working for and within the monarchy used a codename for the strategy used to introduce Camilla - Operation PB, as in Operation Parker Bowles.
A Woman By Any Other Name
Camilla Parker Bowles has attained several titles since joining the royal family officially in 2005. Her current official title is Queen Consort of the United Kingdom at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, herself. This comes after the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Before that Camilla was officially known as both Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as The Duchess of Rothesay. When she married Prince Charles of Wales she was legally allowed to call herself a princess, however, Camilla declined that title as it was a little too close to the former Princess Diana. Diana referred to Camilla as "the rottweiler".
Queens And Their Dogs
Camilla Parker-Bowles is a friend of four-legged creatures and is especially a fan of dogs and horses. She is the owner of two Jack Russells named Bluebell and Beth, both of whom were adopted from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Queen Elizabeth II preferred purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgis and owned up to 30 of the dogs as pets from 1952 when she was crowned Queen until she died in 2022. Queen Victoria was also famous for loving animals and had an assortment of pets throughout her lifetime, most of them dogs, and purebreds.
She Takes Her Duties Very Seriously
After marrying Prince Charles in 2005, Parker-Bowles took her royal duties seriously and became involved in over 90 charities around the world. Whether she is acting president, or simply a patron, it is said she is so busy that she only manages to spend a third of her time at home.
Some of the charities that Park-Bowles supports include the British Equestrian Federation, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Elephant Family, Maggies Cancer, Arthritis Research UK, and Animal Care Trust to name a few. Over the years the Queen consort has also supported and given sizable donations to the arts, war relief, and organizations associated with air ambulances in and around rural England.
She Used To Be A Heavy Smoker
Camilla Parker-Bowles was a cigarette smoker for over thirty years before she began developing a heavy cough, and persistent allergic symptoms. Concerned for her health she contacted the alternative healer Dr. Mosaraf Ali, and he helped her kick her nicotine addiction.
Ali is known as a health guru among his star-studded clients, and previously helped Spice Girl Geri Halliwell with 'weight problems', and socialite Tara Palmer-Tompkinson with cocaine addiction. Parker-Bowles has not smoked in almost two decades after she sought treatment with Ali.
She Almost Missed Her Wedding
Camilla Parker-Bowles married Prince Charles, who is 16 months her junior, on April 9, 2005, at Windsor Guildhall. After 34 years the couple finally tied the knot. The reception was then held at Windsor Castle. The bride, however, almost didn't make it to the ceremony. On the morning of her wedding day, the soon-to-be royal woke up feeling ill.
Parker-Bowles had a case of sinusitis and almost canceled her wedding. If it hadn't been for her sister Annabel threatening to don Camilla's wedding dress herself, the wedding may have taken place on another day. Instead of staying in bed, Camilla chose to walk down the aisle.
A Whole Lot Of Affairs Going Around
When Camilla Parker-Bowles and Prince Charles were having an affair they were both married to other people. Prince Charles to the late Princess Diana, and Camilla to Andrew Parker-Bowles. Camilla's husband was not innocent though, and it is said he had many mistresses during their 22-year marriage.
Diana discovered that Prince Charles cheated on her long before they married. It didn't help that very lurid telephone conversations between the lovers were made available to the public. She also found a bracelet before her wedding to Charles that contained the initials "G" and "F" - alluding to the lovers' nicknames for one another - 'Gladys' and 'Fred'.
Camilla And Her Mother
Camilla Parker-Bowles was devastated when her mother Rosalind Cubitt passed away on July 14, 1994, after having suffered from osteoporosis for many years. Rosalind's mother, and therefore Camilla's grandmother also suffered from the disease.
Years later, Parker-Bowles revealed that "seeing someone you love die slowly, in agony, and knowing nothing about the disease that killed them is heartbreaking." The Queen Consort is now the president of The National Osteoporosis Society in the UK.
Hobbies For The Duchess
Camilla Parker-Bowles occasionally has the time to take a break from all of her royal duties and charity work, and when she does she enjoys a spot of gardening. According to sources she enjoys getting her hands dirty.
Another outside pursuit of Camilla's that has directly helped with her role as a Duchess, and now Queen Consort is her love of public speaking. From a young age, Camilla was forced by her parents to speak at dinner parties and would make conversation about her pets with whoever would listen.