Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla Rosemary Mountbatten-Windsor, formerly Parker Bowles, née Shand) (born 17 July 1947), styled HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, but HRH The Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, is a member of the British Royal Family. She is the second wife of, HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the thrones of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. Prior to their marriage she had been his longtime partner.
As the wife of the Prince of Wales, Camilla is automatically the Princess of Wales. However Clarence House announced at the couple's engagement that she wished to use the style of her future husband's subsidiary title, Duke of Cornwall, rather than Princess of Wales. Clarence House also indicated that when Charles accedes the throne it is intended that the Duchess of Cornwall should use the title HRH The Princess Consort. As with the example of the Princess of Wales, technically as the wife of a king Camilla would be queen. But she has no intension of using that form of address.
Early life and family history
The Duchess of Cornwall was born Camilla Rosemary Shand in London. Her parents were Major Bruce Shand, a British Army officer turned wine merchant, and his wife, the Hon. Rosalind Cubitt, eldest child of Roland Calvert Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. Among the Duchess's forebears is Thomas Cubitt, who made a fortune constructing much of London's West End for the Grosvenor family. An aunt is Elspeth Howe, the former chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission. She has one brother, Mark, and a sister, Annabel.
According to genealogist William Addams Reitweisner, her ancestry is French, English, Dutch, Scots, and American. She is descended from several families — Treadway, Barnes, Jones, Goodnow, Allen, Brazier, and others — who were living in Massachusetts and Connecticut in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. She also has French Canadian ancestors and is a descendant of a pre-Confederation Canadian Premier of the Province of Canada Sir Allan Napier McNab.
The Duchess of Cornwall is related to three other favourites of the British royal family. She is a great-granddaughter of royal mistress Alice Keppel (the Hon. Mrs George Keppel, née Edmonstone, a daughter of Admiral Sir William Edmonstone), who was the last love of the Prince of Wales's great-great-grandfather, Edward VII; the Duchess was born two months before Mrs Keppel's death. Through George Keppel, she is related to Judith Keppel, the first winner of the top prize on the UK version of the television game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? George Keppel's brother is the great-great-grandfather of Judith Keppel, making them third cousins once removed.
The Duchess is also a descendant via her grandmother Sonia (Keppel) Cubitt of Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle, a favourite of William III, and of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, the illegitimate son of King Charles II by his mistress Louise-Renée de Penancoët de Kérouaille, duchess of Portsmouth. (Diana, Princess of Wales also was directly descended from the 1st Duke of Richmond.) She is also a grandniece of Violet Trefusis, a socialite who caused an international scandal in the 1920s by eloping with fellow writer Vita Sackville-West; both were married at the time.
Known since childhood as "Milla", the Duchess spent her early youth in the village of Plumpton, Sussex, where the family home stood opposite the Plumpton Racecourse . She attended Dumbrells School in Sussex, Queen's Gate School in Kensington, London, as well as Mon Fertile , a finishing school in Switzerland. She made her debut in London in 1965. In her youth, she worked for a year at the London decorators Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler.
She is said to have lost heavily along with other Lloyd's Names, and thus to have lost most of her private fortune, an inheritance of approximately 500,000 pounds that was derived mostly from her Cubitt ancestors. She is a dedicated horse-rider and enjoys hunting.
Relationship with the Prince of Wales
The relationship between Camilla Shand and the Prince of Wales began in 1970, when they met at a polo match before either of them was married. It ended a year later, reportedly after the Prince delayed proposing marriage. Camilla Shand was married in 1973 to Andrew Parker Bowles, an Army officer, friend of the Prince of Wales and godson of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The couple had two children: Tom (born 1974, a food columnist for Tatler who is a godson of the Prince of Wales) and Laura (born 1978).
The friendship between the Prince of Wales and the Parker Bowles’ continued. The Parker Bowles marriage was reportedly an open one - both had extramarital relationships - and eventually Andrew Parker Bowles took a long-term mistress who later became his second wife.
The Prince's first wife, the former Lady Diana Spencer, publicly blamed the relationship between her husband and Camilla for the break-up of the Wales' marriage; privately, the Princess referred to Camilla, with whom she had originally been on affable terms, as "the Rottweiler". Diana reported that Camilla had known before she did that the Prince of Wales was going to propose to her. The Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles bought one another presents and used the pet nicknames of "Fred" and "Gladys" to one another. The Prince's supporters maintained that Diana's "paranoid fixation" over his friendship with Camilla broke up the Wales' marriage.
The romance became public knowledge with the leaking of the "Camillagate" tape in 1993. These were recordings of a private and slightly racy telephone conversation that occurred in 1989 with the Prince of Wales.
It has been claimed by so-called royal insiders, though denied by both the couple and their friends, that the couple's affair had been conducted throughout the Prince's engagement. Though the timing of these tangled relationships has been much discussed and dissected, reliable published reports indicate that they renewed their romantic relationship in the mid 1980s, around the time that the Princess of Wales had become involved with two men, one of them reportedly a bodyguard. After the Prince of Wales's public admission, in a television interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, that he had committed adultery, the Parker-Bowleses announced their own divorce in 1995. They had been living apart for some time, and Andrew Parker Bowles soon remarried.
Though she maintains a residence in Wiltshire, the Duchess of Cornwall primarily lives at Highgrove House and at Clarence House, the former residence of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, which is now the Prince of Wales's official London residence. He spent his early childhood in the house, which was the first residence of his newlywed parents, the present Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Duke of Edinburgh. British newspapers reported in early 2005, in articles about the finances of the Prince of Wales, that, even though they were not married at the time, His Royal Highness paid for her jewels and designer wardrobe (among the designers are Giorgio Armani and Oscar de la Renta) and the decoration of her two-room Clarence House quarters by designer Robert Kime .
List of styles
Camilla's full title after her marriage is Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Rothesay, Countess of Chester and Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland.
Her Royal Highness' current name, previous names, and styles used of titles acquired upon her marriage into the Royal Family are as follows in chronological order:
- Miss Camilla Shand (until 1973)
- Mrs Andrew Parker Bowles (1973-1995)
- Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles (1995-2005)
- Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall (used everywhere but Scotland) (2005-)
- Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay (used only in Scotland) (2005-)
- Jonathan Dimbleby, The Prince of Wales, a Biography (Little, Brown and Company, 1994) ISBN 0316910163
- BBC News Online's special section on the marriage of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles
- BBC article: Prince Charles to marry Camilla
- APNews - Camilla will be "Queen"
- BBC Article: Profile: Camilla Parker Bowles
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