Camilla Parker Bowles was born on July 17, 1947, in London, England. Her father was Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and she socialized with Britain’s royalty. She met Prince Charles in 1972. They married other people, but were romantically involved for 25 years. The public did not initially accept her, especially following Princess Diana’s death in 1997, but she married Prince Charles in 2005.
Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall supports her husband, The Prince of Wales, in carrying out his work and duties as Heir to The Throne. She also undertakes public engagements on behalf of the charities that she supports.
Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005, The Duchess of Cornwall has become Patron or President of over 90 charities and regularly attends events to support them.
Her Royal Highness’s charity work is varied but several themes prevail: health, literacy, supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence, empowering women; food; animals and heritage and the arts.
In 2016, Her Majesty The Queen passed on a number of Patronages to other members of The Royal Family. As part of this, The Duchess of Cornwall assumed new Patronages at charities Barnardo’s, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and The Royal School of Needlework.
Her Royal Highness is also a devoted grandmother and step-grandmother.
The Duchess of Cornwall was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on 17th July 1947 at King’s College Hospital London, the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand and the Hon Rosalind Maud Shand (nee Cubitt).
Major Shand and the Hon Rosalind Cubitt, the daughter of 3rd Baron Ashcombe, married on 2nd January 1946 at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge.
Her Royal Highness has a sister, Annabel Elliot, and a brother, Mark Shand. Mark Shand, a conservationist, died on 23rd April 2014.
The Shand family lived in East Sussex from 1951 onwards. Major Shand, MC and Bar, was Vice Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex and Master of the South Down Hounds for 19 years. He died aged 89 on 11th June 2006 at his home in Dorset.
Mrs Rosalind Shand was 72 when she died in 1994 as a result of osteoporosis. The Duchess’s grandmother had died from the same condition eight years earlier.
The Duchess was first educated at Dumbrells School, in Sussex, and then at Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington. She also attended Mon Fertile school in Switzerland and studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris.
The Duchess is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sir Allan MacNab, who was Prime Minister of the Province of Canada before Confederation and the builder of Dundurn Castle in Hamilton.
The Prince and Duchess made their first visit to Canada together in 2009 and visited Dundurn Castle which is a National Historic Site. Following the visit, Her Royal Highness agreed to become Patron of the Dundurn National Historic Site.
On 9th April 2005, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall married at the Guildhall in Windsor in a civil ceremony. Afterwards, there was a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by a wedding reception at Windsor Castle given by Her Majesty The Queen.
Her Royal Highness was previously married to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles and the marriage was dissolved in 1995. The couple had two children, Thomas Henry and Laura Rose, born in 1974 and 1978 respectively. The Prince of Wales is godfather to Tom Parker Bowles.
In September 2005, Tom Parker Bowles married Sara Buys at St Nicholas Church, Rotherfield Greys near Henley, Oxfordshire.
In May 2006, her daughter Laura Parker Bowles married Harry Lopes at St Cyriac’s Church in Lacock, Wiltshire.
The Prince and The Duchess are both keen supporters of the arts. Their Royal Highnesses regularly attend concerts and theatre, sometimes as fundraising events for charities they support.
When at Birkhall, their home in Scotland, Their Royal Highnesses enjoy fishing, walking and cross-country skiing in the countryside and they both share a passion for gardening and painting.
The Duchess owns two Jack Russell terriers, Beth and Bluebell, who were both rescue puppies from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.
She is also a member of the Tetbury Evening Women’s Institute and the Llandovery Women’s Institute (WI).
Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales, Her Royal Highness uses the title The Duchess of Cornwall, as her husband is also known as The Duke of Cornwall.
When in Scotland, Their Royal Highnesses are known as The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.
The Duchess 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 Duchess of Cornwall was granted a Royal Coat of Arms by The Queen following her marriage to The Prince of Wales. The Coat of Arms granted to Her Royal Highness is known as an impaled Coat of Arms, and it brings together The Prince of Wales’s Coat of Arms with that of The Duchess’s father, Major Shand.
In 2007, Her Royal Highness received the Royal Family Order from HM The Queen; in 2012, Her Royal Highness was made a Grand Dame Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (an honour made by the Sovereign in recognition of personal service); in 2016, Her Royal Highness became a member of the Privy Council.
Coat of Arms
On 17th July 2005, Clarence House announced the new Coat of Arms for Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
The crest incorporates both the Coat of Arms of her husband, HRH The Prince of Wales, and her father, Major Bruce Shand. On the left-hand side of the central shield is the Royal Lion Supporter of The Prince of Wales while on the right-hand side is a boar taken from Major Shand’s Crest.
As with all Coats of Arms for the Royal Family, Her Majesty The Queen authorised the unique crest.
Mr Peter Gwynn-Jones was the Garter Principal King of Arms, the senior Herald and responsible for all matters of Royal Heraldry at the time.
He said: “It has been a great pleasure to work on preparing The Duchess’s Coat of Arms and to ensure that the identity of her own family is clearly displayed in this new form.”
The Duchess, The Prince and The Queen all took a keen interest in the development of the Coat of Arms.
The Shield in the Coat of Arms is divided in two down the centre. To the left (called the dexter in heraldry because of the way the shield was carried) are the Arms of The Prince of Wales, which show the Royal Arms, with two symbolic additions that make His Royal Highness’s Coat of Arms different from The Queen’s.
First, there is a white label with three points and second, there is a small shield, or inescutcheon, with the Arms of the Principality of Wales that is surmounted by an Heir Apparent’s single arched Coronet. This is the same single arched Coronet that is used to surmount The Duchess’s shield and is used because, as wife to the Heir Apparent, she is entitled to it according to the Royal Warrant of King Charles II, dated 9th February 1661.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s Coat of Arms was announced on 17th July 2005 to mark Her Royal Highness’s 58th birthday.
According to the College of Arms, Coats of Arms are not just granted to Royalty. Any person, corporation or established body may apply either to the College of Arms, London (if resident in England, Wales or Northern Ireland) or to the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh (if resident in Scotland).
- Camilla Parker-Bowles Biography and Profile (Royals / Biography)