Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are celebrating their “special” 10th wedding anniversary, marking a decade since Camilla became an HRH.
Charles and Camilla married in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall on April 9 2005 after a relationship which spanned nearly 35 years.
An aide to the couple said: “It is a special day but it is a private day.”
The Prince and the Duchess are spending their tin wedding anniversary at Birkhall – their favourite retreat on the Balmoral estate in Scotland where they honeymooned and spent their first wedding anniversary.
The couple – whose official titles in Scotland are the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay – usually head to the Royal Deeside home for their Easter break and pass the time fishing or painting, and walking in nearby Ballochbuie woods.
Following requests a picture has been made available by Clarence House showing the royal couple relaxing at Birkhall. It was taken earlier this year and originally released to mark a CNN interview the Prince gave ahead of his US tour last month.
Taken by Oliver Dann it shows the couple in their garden wrapped up against the elements, with Charles wearing a country coat made of Inveravon Estate Tweed and a matching hat by Lock and Co Hatters, while Camilla is also wearing a hat by the firm and a coat by Moncler.
Camilla Parker Bowles became a signed up member of royal family as she said her vows, emerging with a wedding band of Welsh gold on her finger, a future king and husband on her arm and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall as her title.
Ten years on from when the Prince married his former mistress, Camilla’s role within the Royal Family has changed significantly.
At first she took tentative steps as she adjusted to royal life, following Charles’s lead and appearing nervous as she took her place in front of photographers.
Now she has developed her own role through charity work – her key focuses include raising awareness of osteoporosis, promoting literacy, tackling debt through credit unions and supporting survivors of sexual assaults.
In the 90s, she was dubbed a marriage wrecker and the “other woman” – held responsible for the breakdown of Charles’s relationship to Diana, Princess of Wales. It was not until eight years after Diana’s death that Charles and Camilla married.
Now the Duchess regally appears at the Prince’s side at the State Opening of Parliament and takes her place on the Buckingham Palace balcony for royal celebrations.
Royal author Penny Junor said Camilla has gained courage and confidence in her 10 years since joining the royals.
“Her role has changed dramatically. One minute she was a mistress and then she was an HRH,” she said.
“When she first married Charles she was very nervous. On her wedding day, she was terrified. She had no idea if she would be booed in the street. In fact, there was a very warm reception. The streets were packed in Windsor.
“She has slowly gained courage and confidence. Initially she was very much in the background, supporting the Prince and she still does that.
“She’s never had any ambition for herself. She didn’t want to be a princess or a duchess. She just happened to love a man who was the Prince of Wales and look at the fuss that caused. She doesn’t want to be a star or be curtseyed to.
“But slowly, slowly she has become much more involved in royal life and taken on an awful lot of charitable causes.”
The Duchess is now patron or president of 85 charities, joint patron or president with the Prince of four, and affiliated to a number of other organisations.
Ms Junor added: “It’s really, really valued by those charities. She works extremely hard. Having been a woman who up to her mid-50s had been a wife and a mother and a country woman who enjoyed horses and dogs, she’s completely reinvented herself and become an ambassador for the country.”
In 2013, Camilla made her first ever appearance at the State Opening of Parliament, in a glamorous champagne silk and lace Bruce Oldfield gown, the Queen Mother’s priceless Boucheron tiara and the Dame Grand Cross of the Victoria Order sash. She returned for the 2014 state opening as well.
She has carried out joint engagements with the Queen and in November hosted a reception on behalf of the monarch for the Commonwealth Essay competition.
During the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Queen and Camilla sat side-by-side in the ornate 1902 state landau – a step that would have been inconceivable a decade earlier.
The Duke of Edinburgh had fallen ill and the Prince and Camilla stepped in to ride with the monarch in the carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace from St Paul’s Cathedral after a service of thanksgiving. But it was Camilla, not Charles who was seated next to the Jubilee Queen.
She was present too on stage, standing next to the sovereign, as Charles paid tribute to his mother at the finale of a pop concert in front of the Palace.
During the Golden Jubilee concert in 2002, prior to her marriage to the Prince, Camilla was seated several rows behind Charles – although even her attendance then was seen as a major step towards acceptance.
On Charles and Camilla’s seventh wedding anniversary in 2012, the Queen made the Duchess a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) – a personal seal of approval from the monarch.
The pair have been pictured chatting animatedly at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Ms Junor suggested that the Queen always had a lot in common with the Camilla, but the monarch was only able to accept her publicly when the public was ready.
“I don’t think that the Queen has ever had any personal animosity to Camilla. In the Eighties and Nineties when Charles and Diana were at each other’s throats, Camilla was seen to be the cause and it threatened to destabilise the monarchy,” she said.
“The Queen has always been fond of Camilla. She knew her for years and years, long before she was involved in the break up of the marriage.”
She added: “The Queen reacts to public opinion. Once the public were going to accept Camilla, the Queen was able to accept her publicly. They’ve got a great deal in common. They’re mad about horses, dogs. They’re country women.”
When Camilla married Charles, aides insisted she did not want to be known as queen when the Prince acceded to the throne, but intended to be known as princess consort instead.
But according to some legal experts, unless there is change in the law, Camilla will technically become queen when Charles is king – no matter what she decides to call herself.
At the time of her engagement to the Prince in 2005, a poll showed that only 7% of people believed Camilla should one day be queen.
A new YouGov poll has found that 10 years later, 49% of the British public now back her becoming queen consort when Charles becomes king.
More than a third (35%) think she should be given a lesser title out of sensitivity to Diana, Princess of Wales and 16% were unsure what they thought.
When the Prince was put on the spot and asked if Camilla would be his queen in an interview in November 2010, he replied: “That’s, that’s, we’ll see, won’t we? That could be.”
Ms Junor said: “I think there’s still a hard core of people out there who want nothing to do with Camilla and think she’s the devil incarnate but the vast majority think she’s a good thing.
“She is familiar now as any member of the royal family. She’s a fixture. It would be very strange if she were not called queen. I think she will be embraced and think the public will have no problem with it whatsoever.
“Charles is hugely proud of her and she’s so important to him. He adores her. He wants her by his side – that’s an absolute given.”
Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor