Long underappreciated second wife of Prince Charles, Camila has been slow to win the hearts of the British before becoming a key player in the monarchy, now destined to be queen consort.
In a message marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, Queen Elizabeth, 95, expressed her “sincere wish” on Saturday that Camilla “be known as queen consort” when Prince Charles, heir to the Crown, become king after his death.
It has taken a long time for Camila, 74, known as the Duchess of Cornwall after her wedding to Prince Charles in 2005, to get to this point.
Princess Diana, who quickly understood that Camila was the great love of Charles’s life, called her the “Rottweiler”. Public opinion considered her responsible for the end of the royal marriage between Diana and Prince Charles, celebrated in 1981, and during which she had a relationship with him.
A member of the high bourgeoisie of the provinces but commoner, divorced and mother of two adult children, Camila gradually gained visibility by committing herself to causes such as violence against women or the defense of animals.
Cambien is fond of gardening, strongly supports all her husband’s initiatives, and assumes daily commitments for the Crown.
His sense of duty, his kind self-assurance, his simplicity and his sense of humor have progressively put an end to reluctance.
His popularity has grown, although he remains one of the least loved members of the royal family, with less than 50% favorable opinions, according to a YouGov poll. Just under half of Britons wanted her to become queen, according to a poll last year.
But many acknowledge the positive impact she has had on her husband.
– Ideal for Carlos –
“People realize that Camila is ideal for Carlos, and the two work wonderfully together,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told AFP.
A member of the provincial gentry, Camilla Shand met the prince in 1970 during a polo match. Despite not belonging to the nobility, the young woman moved in the same social circles as Carlos.
Born on July 17, 1947, the daughter of Major Bruce Shand and Rosemary Cubitt, wealthy landowners, she was educated in the best private schools, first in London, then in France and Switzerland.
She even has some ties with the royal family: the great-granddaughter of Alice Keppel, one of the mistresses of King Edward VII, great-great-grandfather of Charles, Camila would have used this anecdote to approach the prince in 1970, asking him if he was “tempted” to follow in his footsteps. ancestor.
But their relationship was short: Carlos entered the Royal Navy and Camilla, tired of waiting, married one of her admirers, Major Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she had two children.
A few years later, she herself would encourage the Prince of Wales to marry Diana. But, when both were still married, they resumed their relationship. The press even published their intimate telephone conversations.
After the divorce of Carlos and Diana, in 1996, Camila, divorced a year earlier, was able to start appearing publicly with Carlos. But the death of the princess in a car accident, in August 1997 in Paris, relegated her to the shadows again.
Little by little, however, he managed to leave that image, imposing himself with the prince until in 2005 his situation was consecrated with his wedding in Windsor in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.
But getting accepted by the royal family, and especially by Charles’s sons, Princes William and Harry, was not easy.
Before and since her marriage, her status — queen consort or princess consort — was the subject of endless debate, which Queen Elizabeth put an end to this Saturday.
Camila herself didn’t ask for anything. After her wedding, she chose not to use the title of Princess of Wales, too associated with Diana, so as not to offend the public’s sensibilities.