LONDON: After years of being portrayed as the most hated woman in Britain, CamilaL.’s second wife King CharlesShe was crowned queen on Saturday, capping off a remarkable shift in public acceptance that many would not have thought possible.
When Charles’s divorced first wife, the famously glamorous Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, Camilla bore the brunt of the media hostility. Some declared that the couple could not marry.
But they married eight years later, and since then she has been recognized, albeit still reluctantly by some, as a key member of the royal family, as someone upon whom the new king relied heavily, and as the state monarch. Queen Camilla.
“She is his soul mate,” said Robert Hardiman, longtime royal correspondent and author of The Queen of Our Time, noting that she has been married to Charles longer than Diana.
“They are a team and you have to be a team.”
Camilla Shand was born in 1947 into a wealthy family—her father was an army major and wine merchant who married an aristocrat—and moved in social circles that brought her into contact with Charles, whom she met on the polo field in the early 1970s.
The couple had dated for some time and Charles had considered marriage, but felt he was too young to take such a big step.
While he devoted himself to his naval career, Camilla went on to marry a cavalry officer, Brigadier General Andrew Parker Bowles. The couple had two children, Tom and Laura. They divorced in 1995.
Charles himself married 20-year-old Diana in a 1981 wedding that enchanted not only Britain but the entire world. After having two children, William and Harry, the relationship turned sour and they separated in 1996 after he rekindled his romance with his former lover.
The depth of that relationship was presented to a shocked public in 1993 when a transcript of a private conversation secretly recorded in very intimate detail was published in the press.
“I would suffer anything for you,” Camilla told Charles in a secretly recorded phone conversation published in 1993. “This is love. This is the power of love.”
In a television interview the following year, Charles admitted that he had restarted their relationship, but said it was only after his marriage had irrevocably broken down.
“There were three of us in this marriage – so it was a bit crowded,” Diana, who nicknamed Camilla her “Rottweiler,” said in her own TV interview in 1995.
While Diana brought glamor to the brimming House of Windsor in her shimmering gowns, many Brits couldn’t understand why Charles favored the country-loving Camilla, who usually appeared clad in a green waterproof sash and trench coat.
“I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla,” Prince Philip, father of Charles and husband of the late Queen Elizabeth, said in a letter to Diana.
Criticism concentration
Amidst a public outpouring of grief and anger following Diana’s death, Camilla was subjected to harsh criticism. But in subsequent years, royal aides, tasked with rebuilding the tarnished reputation of the royal family as a whole, have slowly begun to integrate Camilla into a more public role.
From being able to appear in public together, to last year’s marriage and approval of Queen Elizabeth to reigning title Queen Consort Camilla, their success is complete.
PR experts say it was the result of hard and careful work, though aides said it was mainly due to Camila’s special personality and great sense of humor. “She’s resilient, she was brought up with this extraordinary sense of duty where you deal with it, don’t cringe, dress your best and carry on, and he’s got her very well positioned,” Fiona Shelburne, the Lansdowne marcher, a close friend of Camilla’s, 75, told The Sunday Times. Last month.
However, her rehabilitation came at a price. In his memoirs, the youngest son of Charles, Prince Harry, accused his mother and his wife of leaking stories about him to the press to enhance her reputation, and that he and his brother had asked their father not to marry her.
Polls also indicate that it has not won widespread public attention either. A YouGov poll this week found that while 48% had a positive view of her, 39% had a negative opinion, making her among the least popular of the royals.
Other polls also indicated that only a minority thought she should be Queen Camilla.
“I think Diana … will deliver thunderbolts on coronation day, that’s for sure,” royal author Tina Brown told Reuters. “I mean, the idea of ​​putting a crown on the head of her deadliest rival, Camilla, I think would have caused her absolute acidity.”


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