20 Things You Didn’t Know About Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Find out who Camilla really is, from her wry sense of humor and love of horses to her devotion to family and country.
She’s very laid-back—even untidy!
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, otherwise known as Camilla Parker Bowles, is a down-to-earth country girl who has won the hearts of the British people with her natural, genuine demeanor—just as she did her now-husband, Prince Charles when they met nearly 50 years ago. Although she was born into an upper-class family, Camilla never puts on airs. “I have so many friends who, if I ever even vaguely look like getting uppity, which touch wood I never have, they would just say, ‘Look, come on, pull yourself together! Don’t be so bloody grand!’” she said in a rare interview in the Daily Mail’s You Magazine. A former flatmate even says she kept her bedroom in a state of chaos, reports Vanity Fair. On the other hand, these myths about the royal family are totally false.
Her engagement ring has historical significance
Camilla Parker Bowles’ engagement ring has a five-carat emerald cut diamond in the center and three diamond baguettes on each side with a gold band. Not only is the ring stunning, but it also has historical significance. The Duchess of Cornwall’s ring once belonged to The Queen Mother, Prince Charles’ grandmother. Another royal piece of jewelry that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall likes to wear is the Greville Tiara, which was also passed down from The Queen Mother.
She has many titles
Camilla Parker Bowles’ official title, like most royals, is complex. When married the Prince of Wales, she became entitled to use the style, Her Royal Highness, and also received the title of the Duchess of Cornwall (legally, she is also entitled to the title Princess of Wales, but doesn’t use it out of respect for its former title holder, Diana). When in Scotland, she is known as the Duchess of Rothesay. Camilla also has two Foreign Orders: Order of the Star of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea) 2012 and the Grand-Croix, Ordre Nationale du Mérite (France) 2014. The Queen granted Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall a Royal Coat of Arms following her marriage. Also, in 2012 she was made a Grand Dame Cross of the Royal Victorian Order; and in 2016 Camilla became a member of the Privy Council. Try saying that all at once.
She loves dogs
Just like Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall loves her dogs. Back in 2011, she adopted a Jack Russel Terrier puppy name Beth, her first rescue pup from a shelter. To keep Beth company, she adopted another dog in 2012; another Jack Russel named Bluebell. Camilla is also a patron of the charity Medical Detection Dogs. She was able to watch the dogs give demonstrations in sniffing out various diseases. In February of 2019, she visited the pups and their trainers and helped to open their new facility.
She does a lot of charity work
On top of being a devoted wife, grandmother, and step-grandmother, Camilla Parker Bowles also contributes a lot to charity. Since marrying the Prince of Wales in 2005 she has become patron or president of over 90 charities. She supports charities in health, literacy, supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence, empowering women; food; animals and heritage, and the arts. She has also inherited some charities from Her Majesty The Queen, including Barnardo’s, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and The Royal School of Needlework.
She’s highly educated
The Duchess of Cornwall first attended school at Dumbrells School, in Sussex. From there she studied at Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington. She then went on to attend Mon Fertile school in Switzerland and then studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris.
She’d rather be gardening at home
Although Camilla has many official duties to attend to, “sometimes you get up in the morning and think you can’t do it, and you just have to,” the Daily Mail reports she told a friend. “The minute you stop it’s like a balloon, you run out of puff—you sort of collapse in a heap.” She still keeps her own country retreat, Raymill, to decompress and get away from it all. Camilla has always loved outdoor pursuits like riding and hunting, as does Charles, and gardening is one of her passions. “I’d be out in my garden all day, every day if I were allowed,” she recently told reporters at an event for the British charity Floral Angels. “I love to get my hands dirty.” Find out the jobs the British royal family actually holds.
She’s a talker
Camilla’s outgoing personality helps her succeed at royal life, even if she doesn’t naturally crave the spotlight. The Duchess of Cornwall credits her parents for teaching her manners and how to talk to people, something she says makes royal duties easier. “I remember once there was a dinner party at home with some of the most boring neighbors in the world and we were dragged down to join them for dinner,” she told the Daily Mail. “[My mother would] sit us down at the dinner table, and the minute there was silence, she used to say, ‘Talk! I don’t care what you talk about, talk about your budgie [parakeet] or your pony but keep the conversation going.’ And so I’ve never been able not to talk. It’s in the psyche, not to leave a silence.”
She gets the giggles
It must be hard to attend hundreds of engagements a year without sometimes breaking down laughing—and Camilla’s sense of humor and sharp wit make it almost impossible to keep a straight face, reports the Daily Mail. “You’ve got to laugh through most things, and sometimes I do laugh a bit too much,” she says. “There are situations where it’s very difficult not to lose it completely, especially, you know, if something goes terribly wrong and everybody sits there for a split-second [not sure how to react]. You do have to swallow and pinch yourself very hard to not laugh.” This is a trait she apparently shares with her new daughter-in-law the Duchess of Sussex (formerly Meghan Markle)—at a May 2018 event, both women couldn’t hold in their laughter when a buzzing bee interrupted Prince Harry’s speech. Camilla also doesn’t take herself too seriously: “You have to laugh at yourself because if you can’t, you may as well give up!” she says. Find out more etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.
She’s afraid to fly and dislikes traveling
Although she has a super-busy schedule, homebody Camilla doesn’t actually like traveling—in fact, she has a fear of flying. Her phobia kept her from traveling to several locations around Australia and the South Pacific with Prince Charles (she did fly to Brisbane, Australia, for the Commonwealth Games, but opted out of the additional travel). According to Express, Camilla uses a tapping method called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to help her cope with the stress of flying.