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How Camilla Parker Bowles Grew Up To Become Queen Consort

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Shocking phone calls, years of deceit,   and a tactical introduction to society 
following Princess Diana's death – Camilla   Parker Bowles' road to becoming queen 
consort wasn’t as pretty as you think. Prior to claiming the title of queen consort, 
Camilla Parker Bowles [BOHLS] grew up in a   wealthy family. The daughter of 
Major Bruce and Rosalind Shand,   she was raised in an estate called The Laines 
in the Plumpton village of East Sussex. The   sprawling property, which sits on five acres 
of land, was reportedly once a rectory. According to The Guardian, Camilla's father 
found success as a wine merchant after serving   in the British Army. Meanwhile, 
Camilla's mother was born into an   aristocratic family and was a descendent 
of a very successful property developer,   per Vanity Fair.

As a result, the 
queen consort started building her   own wealth from a young age and received a 
sizable inheritance from her grandparents. Camilla Parker Bowles may have grown 
up in an extremely rich household,   but it was anything but stuffy or cold. In fact,   members of the Shand family were incredibly 
close-knit, which helped instil the queen   consort with strong values and a rock-solid 
character.

As Camilla once told the Daily Mail, "We were brought up in a very 
happy family and I can't whinge   about my childhood because it was idyllic." William Shawcross, a biographer who grew up with   Camilla, revealed that the queen 
consort's mother, Rosalind Shand,   was particularly involved in the lives of 
her children. As Shawcross told Vanity Fair, "There were ponies, dogs, picnics. 
There was no pomp, no snobbery,   but a lot of fun for all ages. 
The Shands were a happy clan." By the time Camillia Parker Bowles was 
ten years old, she was sent to private   school. The queen consort was apparently 
confident and strong-willed as a young child,   which attracted the attention of both 
her boy and girl classmates.

Broderick   Munro-Wilson, a longtime friend of 
Camilla, told the Sunday Mirror, "She was into boys much quicker than 
other girls of her age. There was this   daredevil element in her. There is a 
certain boldness required to go riding,   hunting and jumping, and that shone through." The queen consort was also reportedly less 
interested in dressing up and being proper.   Instead, she was passionate 
about spending time outdoors,   and taking part in activities 
like hunting and horseback riding. "I don't mind the cold. I think we were 
so used to it when we were children." Carolyn Benson, a classmate of the queen 
consort, once said, per "Game of Crowns," "She could talk to boys about things 
that interested them. […] She was   never a girls' girl. She was always a boy's girl." Camilla Parker Bowles may be known 
for her romance with King Charles III,   but she was previously married to Andrew 
Parker Bowles. According to Vanity Fair,   Andrew and Camilla were first introduced 
in the late 1960s, and began an on-again,   off-again relationship that lasted for several 
years.

As avid viewers of "The Crown" will know,   during a break from their romance in the early 
'70s, Andrew dated Princess Anne, while Camilla   started a relationship with Charles. Surprisingly, 
Camilla's relationship with Charles initially   happened out of spite and jealousy. Per The Times, 
royal biographer Penny Junor once explained, "[Camilla] was passionately in love with 
[Andrew] but he was a cad […] So when she   was introduced to Charles and he thought 
she was pretty special […] she thought   'Andrew is […] off with Princess Anne, you 
know her brother, teach Andrew a lesson.'" Despite the way their fling began, Camilla and 
Charles fell in love with one another. However,   Camilla's less-than favorable reputation, combined 
with her lower social standing, made their romance   nearly impossible. Their relationship came 
to an end when Charles joined the Royal   Navy. While he was away, Camilla got engaged 
to Andrew, and the pair tied the knot in 1973. Andrew and Camilla welcomed her first child, 
Thomas Parker Bowles, in 1974. Tom is a well-known   food critic based in London, and the author 
of multiple cookbooks.

The queen consort's   second child, Laura, arrived four years later. 
Laura has had a successful career in the arts,   after interning at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection 
in Venice. Unsurprisingly, Camilla's children have   nothing but kind things to say about the 
queen consort. Tom told "BBC Five Live," "She's a brilliant grandmother. […] I 
mean, she works incredibly hard. She'd be   the first to say that she didn't really 
have a job apart from being our mother,   which she was very good at, and 
suddenly at age 55 she is working." By 1978, King Charles III had 
finished his naval career and   was still an eligible bachelor. Meanwhile, 
Camilla Parker Bowles was five years into   her marriage and a mother of two. Despite the 
countless women Charles dated over the years,   none quite made him as happy as Camilla. 
However, she was married and, at the time,   there was little likelihood that she 
would divorce Andrew Parker Bowles. In 1980, Charles started courting Lady Diana 
Spencer. Their romance progressed quickly, with   the then-prince proposing in February 1981, and 
the pair tying the knot in July of the same year.

"Well I remember thinking what a jolly and 
amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was." Sadly, their marriage was notoriously 
doomed from the start. As we now know,   it would seem that Charles was still 
in love with Camilla throughout his   marriage to Princess Diana. In 1986, just 
five years after his wedding to Diana,   Charles reportedly started an affair with 
Camilla, according to Town & Country. Charles and Camilla's affair wasn't much of 
a secret, and according to multiple reports,   both Andrew and Diana were well 
aware of the extramarital liaison.
  "A woman's instinct is a very good one." In 1989, three years into the affair, 
Princess Diana even confronted the future   queen consort at a party.

As Diana 
revealed in Andrew Morton's "Diana:   Her True Story – In Her Own 
Words," she told Camilla, "I know what's going on between you and 
Charles and I just want you to know that." Before long, the general public learnt about the 
royal affair, too. In 1992, Charles and Camilla   would be thrust into the spotlight following 
rumors of an intimate phone call between the two. Season 5 of "The Crown" re-created one of 
King Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles'   most embarrassing moments.

After attempting to 
keep their romance under wraps for many years,   a very private phone between the two was 
illicitly recorded by a stranger. In 1993,   a transcript of the call was subsequently 
printed by multiple publications around   the world, leaving no doubt that 
Charles and Camilla were together. "I've come to the conclusion that really it 
would've been far easier to have two wives." In the recordings, which took place in 
December 1989, Charles and Camilla exchange   sweet nothings to one another.

At one point, 
the conversation turns explicit when the future   king desperately pleads with the queen consort, 
and suggests that he should be reincarnated as   her tampon. As a result, the scandal became 
widely known as "Tampongate." In his book,   "Guarding Diana: Protecting The Princess 
Around The World," Ken Warfe revealed, "The backlash was savage. Establishment figures 
normally loyal to the future King and country   were appalled, and some questioned 
the Prince's suitability to rule." The repercussions of the incident were 
extremely serious, especially for Charles.   As reported by the LA Times, "Tampongate" 
posed questions about Charles' ability to   take over the throne, but it also made the 
royals reevaluate their security measures. Despite already knowing about his wife's affair 
with Charles, Andrew Parker Bowles was reportedly   very embarrassed by the "Tampongate" scandal. 
In January 1995, Andrew and Camilla mutually   filed for a divorce.

In a joint statement 
obtained by The Washington Post, the pair said, "We have grown apart to such an extent 
that, with the exception of our children   and a lasting friendship, there is 
little of common interest between us,   and we have therefore decided to seek divorce." By the time Camilla filed for divorce, Charles and 
Diana were already separated. The former Prince   and Princess of Wales announced their separation 
in December 1992, though their divorce wasn't   finalized until August 1996, per History. Touching 
on the divorce, Princess Diana told the BBC, "We had struggled to keep it going, but 
obviously we'd both run out of steam." "Until it became irretrievably broken down." No longer a married man, Charles now had the 
freedom to start a formal relationship with   Camilla. However, Princess Diana tragically 
died in a car accident in 1997. According to   Vanity Fair, following the death of his ex-wife, 
Charles strategically put his plans to publicly   introduce Camilla as his partner on hold.

Behind 
the scenes, however, the couple were apparently   fighting for acceptance in the royal family. 
Prince William, Charles and Diana's oldest son,   allegedly had an awkward first meeting 
with Camilla in 1998, per The Irish Times. After two years of building trust, Charles 
and Camilla went public in January 1999,   when they were photographed leaving a party 
at the Ritz Hotel together. Afterwards,   the two started to attend more 
events in public together. King Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles 
were together, publicly and officially,   for nearly six years before getting married 
on April 9, 2005. The couple had the support   of the royal family behind them for 
the special event. Charles' parents,   Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, the 
Duke of Edinburgh, along with Charles' sons,   Prince William and Prince Harry, all attended 
a blessing for the couple's marriage. Following the ceremony, Camilla was officially 
given the title of Her Royal Highness,   the Duchess of Cornwall. In her new role, Camilla 
took on many official duties. In particular,   she has taken charity work very seriously since 
officially being integrated into the royal   family. She was the president of Britain's 
National Osteoporosis Society and brings   awareness to the debilitating condition which 
reportedly took the lives of both her mother   and grandmother.

Camilla has also dedicated 
her time to causes involving animal welfare,   literacy, and domestic violence. A source 
once revealed to the Belfast Telegraph. "She believes it is crucial that she can use 
her influence to make a difference for women." Her dedication to important causes 
helped many to warm up to her,   especially Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, their 
relationship improved dramatically over the years,   and the queen even helped Camilla 
earn the title of queen consort. After a 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II died 
on September 8, 2022. As the queen’s eldest son,   Charles was next in line to the throne, and he 
immediately took the title of king. Meanwhile,   Camilla Parker Bowles received the title of 
queen consort. The decision to give Camilla   the title of queen consort came in February 
2022, during Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum   Jubilee. In a letter addressed to the public, 
the queen announced the decision, writing, "When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles 
becomes King, I know you will give him and his   wife Camilla the same support you have given 
me; and it is my sincere wish that, when   that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen 
Consort as she continues her own loyal service." While Charles and Camilla have 
already acquired their new titles,   they won't be crowned until the coronation, 
which is scheduled to take place on May 6, 2023.

The road to becoming queen consort has been a 
long and rocky one for Camilla Parker Bowles. Once   deemed a controversial figure for her involvement 
with Charles, many believed that Camilla was   instrumental in causing the then-prince's 
divorce from Diana. As a result, Camilla was   made out to be a villain in the media. On top of 
all the criticisms of her character, her outward   appearance was also picked apart for years. In 
fact, Camilla's standing with the general public   got so bad that she was once considered to be 
the "most hated woman in Britain," per NBC News. Despite Camilla's difficult and 
complicated history, a majority   of Brits reportedly now support her and her 
new title. According to a 2022 YouGov poll,   53% of the population are on board with Camilla 
as the queen consort. Though Princess Diana's   death and legacy will never be forgotten, it 
seems as though most of the British public   has accepted the union between Charles 
and Camilla.

With a new queen consort as   its face, the world seemingly supports the 
transformation of a once rigid monarchy..

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