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Facts about Camilla, The Queen Consort

Updated: May 17, 2023
 By Margaret

This post is a list of things about Camilla, the Queen Consort, that you probably don't already know.

Also included is a guide to London locations associated with the Queen Consort as well as tours of ours for royal family fans.

Who is Camilla, Queen Consort?

Born Camilla Rosemary Shand in 1946, the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom grew up in a country estate in Plumpton East Sussex. Growing up with her parents Rosalind Shand and Bruce Shand, she was raised in both East Sussex and South Kensington.

She studied in Paris and Switzerland before her first marriage, to Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. They divorced in 1994.

Photo by Agência Brasil CC BY 3.0 br

She was in the same social circle as Charles and knew him for many years before they married one another in 2005. This was the first time an heir to the throne married a divorcee'!

She was officially the Princess of Wales upon marriage to the then Prince of Wales.

However, as that title was more commonly associated with the King's previous wife, Lady Diana Spencer, she tended to use the title Duchess of Cornwall.

Upon the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Charles became King Charles III and Camilla became Queen Consort.

Why is the Queen Consort not called the Queen?

This largely symbolic role is given to the king's wife by marriage.

A queen must ascend to the throne through familial lines, and cannot marry into the role.

Can a Queen Consort ever become a Queen?

No, because only natural-born family members of the royal family can become a queen.

The new role of Queen Consort is given to a wife who marries into the family.

13 Things You Didn't Know About Camilla, the Queen Consort

1. Her Previous Title Was a Gift 

Known as Camilla Parker Bowles her entire life, she was given the title Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall as a wedding gift from the late Queen.

2. She Hates Flying 

Her phobia of flying is so severe, it prevented her traveling to several locations with her husband such as Australia and the South Pacific.

She uses EFT Therapy (Emotional Freedom Technique) to try to overcome her fears.

3. She’s Known the King for Decades and Is Older Than Him!

Camilla and King Charles dated before Charles ever knew Princess Diana, having met in 1970 at a polo match.

She's nearly 16 months older than her husband, having been born on 17th July 1947 and the King wasn't born until 14th November 1948.

4. She's a Keen Gardner

According to the Queen Consort, "I'd be out in my garden all day, every day if I were allowed."

And speaking to groups at a Floral Angels charity event she declared her love for gardening saying, "I love to get my hands dirty."

5. Camilla Is Related to Both Diana and King Charles 

Both the King and Camilla have shared ancestors dating back to the 17th century.

Strangely, they are also both related to the late Princess Diana through shared ancestry dating back to King Charles II.

Also note that Camilla’s great-grandmother was a mistress to King Edward VII, the great-great-grandfather of King Charles.

6. She's a Dog Lover

The Queen Consort has two adopted dogs: Beth and Bluebell.

She is also the patron of numerous animal-based charities such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which is where she got her dogs.

7. Her Official Title is, Technically, Her Majesty, The Queen

It was widely believed that Camilla would not use the title of Queen.

However, in her 2022 Accession Day message, published to mark the 70th anniversary of her reign, Elizabeth II stated that it was her "sincere wish" for Camilla to be known as queen consort upon Charles's accession to the throne.

As the wife of the King, she also automatically receives the title 'Her Majesty.'

Although as of late 2022, she is largely still referred to as 'The Queen Consort.'

8. She is a Grandmother

She has two children from her first marriage (Tom and Laura) and five grandchildren.

One of her grandchildren, Eliza Lopes, was a bridesmaid at William and Kate’s wedding. She is also step-grandmother to Princes William and Harry's children.

9. She Has A Historic Engagement Ring 

Although not as famous as the one Kate Middleton wears, Camilla’s ring is a platinum-set, emerald-cut diamond ring that previously belonged to the Queen Mother.

10. She is Charitable

The Queen Consort is the patron of around 100 charities including Batter's Dogs and Cates Home, Trinity Hospice, Arthritis Research UK, The Girls' Friendly Society, The National Osteoporosis Foundation, and the Cornell Air Ambulance Trust - just to name a few!

She is also the first female Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and the first member of the Royal Family to chair meetings and support groups related to sexual abuse and assault.

In addition to promoting animal welfare, she also advocated for literacy, addressing the issue of poverty, and victims of sexual assault.

11. She is Highly Educated

Camilla attended Queen's Gate School in London, England and the University of London Institute in Paris. She also attended finishing school in Switzerland.

12. Camilla was not welcome at Princess Diana's Funeral

Although she did attend Diana's wedding, she was not able to attend the funeral. This decision was made at the request of the Queen, who insisted that then Prince Charles could not bring his paramour to the service, likely due to the affair the two had in 1986.

During the period of time between this event and Diana's unfortunate passing, Camilla did not have much of a public life. Charles and Camilla didn't make their first public appearance together until 1999, when they appeared outside the Ritz Hotel in London.

13. Camilla has a good sense of humour

The Queen Consort is actually known for her self-deprecating sense of humour, and she is apparently quite even-tempered. In other words, she doesn't take herself too seriously, so she probably doesn't mind the public cracking a few jokes now and then.

London Locations Associated with The Queen Consort

1. Buckingham Palace

The official London residence of the reigning Sovereign, Buckingham Palace is now technically home to King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

However, the King appears to be using the Palace more as an office and meeting space.

London Buckingham Palace

In addition, there are reported £300 million worth of renovations required to bring Buckingham Palace back up to modern standards, so it will likely soon be under construction.

This means that the King and Queen aren't spending as much time there as one might think!

2. Clarence House

Instead, the couple remains using Clarence House as their London home.

The King, then Prince Charles, moved into Clarence House after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, died in 2002.

Photo by ChrisO CC BY-SA 3.0

He used it as his primary London home and has continued to do so since his accession to the throne.

So this is where the Queen Consort can most often be found in the capital.

3. Westminster Abbey

The King and Queen led the mourners at the funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

And in May of 2023 this is the building where the couple will be crowned in the first coronation the county has seen since 1953.

4. St. George's Chapel, Windsor

Perhaps best known as the wedding venue of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, St. George's Chapel was also the location of the King and Queen's blessing in 2005, after their civil ceremony which was held at the Windsor Guildhall.

The wedding was very small, not televised, and was followed by a reception at Windsor Castle.

Tours of Her Neighbourhood

If you are a royal lover and are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen Consort, then consider joining us on our Royal Westminster, or All in One Tour.

This tour stops at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Westminster Abbey - all buildings which have connections to the Consort.

It's also worth noting that we do occasionally see members of the Royal Family on our Westminster Tour - particularly the King and Queen Consort, as well as Princess Anne. So you never know who might turn up on the day you book!

To join our public Royal Westminster tour, sign up on our booking site HERE.

To download the audio guide to take the tour on your own time, download it HERE.

To watch a virtual tour, go to our YouTube channel HERE.

And our guide Sinead got a wave from the new King and Queen, which you can see HERE.

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About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: May 17th, 2023
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