50+ Photos of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's Life — Before and After the Royal Title
Photos of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, show that she's kept on smiling through the years, even if she was (for a time) one of the most controversial, talked-about royals of them all.
Born on July 17, 1947, at King's College Hospital in London, Camilla was the first child of Major Bruce Shand and his wife, Rosalind Cubitt. She was christened Camilla Rosemary and was soon joined in the family home by a younger brother, Mark, and little sister, Annabel. She went to a village school in East Sussex and took part in equestrian gymkhanas (a type of horse racing).
Camilla later went to classes at Queen Anne's Gate in London, and after a stint learning French in Paris, Camilla returned to London, where she became a debutante and was a popular figure on the social circuit. She worked as a secretary, too, and in her spare time kept up her passion for horse riding. Her romance with the Prince of Wales is believed to have started around 1971, but the two parted when Charles took on a tour with the Royal Navy. Camilla began to see a former boyfriend, Andrew Parker Bowles, and the two married at the Guard's Chapel at Wellington Barracks in London in 1973.
Camilla remained in royal circles, but for much of the 1970s and '80s, her life was carried out well away from the camera lens. She brought up her two children, Tom (born in 1974) and Laura (born in 1978), but she became a household name around the world when her relationship with the Prince of Wales was made public in the 1992 book Diana: Her True Story and in salacious newspaper reports that went global. Camilla became a hated figure for some as the "War of the Wales" exploded, but following her divorce (and that of Charles and Diana), Camilla began to appear in public at her prince's side. However, she took on a much lower profile for several years following Diana's tragic death in a car crash in 1997.
Prince Charles, however, had long declared that his relationship with Camilla was "non-negotiable," and in the early 2000s, the pair made an increasing number of public appearances, paving the way for their engagement announcement, which came in February 2005. They married in a civil ceremony in Windsor on April 9, 2005, followed by a blessing at St. George's Chapel later that same day. Camilla's official royal life, with the title of Duchess of Cornwall, had begun.
Since then, she's become a high-profile member of the royal family with an impressive agenda of her own. Camilla has a passion for issues including literacy and supporting victims of domestic abuse, and she's made a real impact with her work in those areas. Her royal story has been far from a fairy tale, but here are some of the images that show how Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has kept on smiling as her regal tale unfolded.