There is a reason why Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has turned from “Britain’s most hated woman” to beloved royalty.
The 72-year-old woman, married to Prince Charles, used her quarantined time in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to present herself as “accessible” and “relatable,” royal expert Katie Nicholl told Vanity Fair on Thursday.
The author stressed that, over the past 100 days, Camilla has been “one of the highest-profile senior royalty during the pandemic” and noted that the public sees her more than ever, despite the blockade.
The Duchess is participating in several royal appointments remotely to offer comfort and even a few laughs during unprecedented times.
“Dressed in her favorite jeans and comfortable shoes, in her quarantined appearances, the duchess looks approachable and relatable,” said Nicholl. “From her practical video messages, to her efforts to highlight causes close to her heart, to lead national tributes on VE Day, Camilla was the center of the stage and has never looked happier.
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“We saw her in a much more informal environment and it gave people a chance to get to know her a little better,” said a source who works with the Duchess. “Both she and the prince were very comfortable operating in this way – they allowed the public to enter the house in a way that had never happened before.”
According to the publication, Camilla and Charles’ Instagram page does not match that of the younger royalty, Prince William and Kate Middleton. However, Clarence House’s Twitter identifier saw an increase in its online platforms of about 20% during the pandemic, suggesting that more people than ever are accessing its pages.
“The prince and duchess were trapped like everyone else and could not be seen in person, so they wanted to find another way to connect with people,” said an aide. “They hadn’t sent a lot of social media messages before, but they quickly realized that this was the way to go and a way to be visible and connect immediately with people, which they always wanted to do.”
Nicholl shared that there is no doubt that Camilla, once nicknamed “Britain’s most hated woman” and “one of three people” at the wedding of Charles and Princess Diana, is now seen in a more positive light.
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She pointed out that a Twitter user even commented: “I know she was a very disliked person during the Di years, but I think she is probably one of my favorite RF. [royal family] members now. “
The path to being a loved royalty was not easy for Camilla. Currently, however, Nicholl said he enjoys “a warm and intimate relationship” with his mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. She is also close to her stepsons, William and her younger brother, Prince Harry. In addition, Camilla is popular with courtiers of the royal family, who describe her as “loyal, hardworking and fun”.
“She has a real sense of humor,” said a longtime palace official.
An aide revealed how Camilla, who is shy about the cameras, does not want to outshine her husband and is very cautious in occupying the spotlight. Still, she wants to use her title as a way to raise awareness among her more than 90 sponsors. The causes she supports include awareness of domestic violence, dealing with loneliness among the elderly and osteoporosis, after losing her mother and grandmother to the disease.
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“Ironically, in a way, it was more accessible during the blockade than it was before when embracing the digital platform,” said an aide. “Online traffic has increased and it seems that people are enjoying what the Duchess has to say.”
“It is the Duchess that we all know and love, but the public does not always see it,” said a friend of Camilla, who has known her for 15 years, told the agency.
“She was brilliant and the audience is finally getting to see a little bit of the real Camilla,” continued the friend. “Like her husband, she has a deep sense of what to do in her public role, and I think the two of them recognized that their leadership moment is now taking place. The right thing to do is to support the husband and the monarch and that is what she is doing. She is enjoying the moment.
According to Nicholl, Camilla and Charles, who are second in line for the British throne, “form a brilliant team”.
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“Their love and company has taken them through difficult times in the past two decades, and now it sees them through a global pandemic,” she said.
The longtime couple met in the 1970s. Sources said the pair had been introduced through a mutual friend at a party or that they had met at a polo match. While Charles reportedly fell on his head, he was not ready to give up his bachelor.
Camilla moved and married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. They separated in 1995.
Charles married Diana at a televised wedding that drew about 750 million viewers worldwide in 1981. The Princess of Wales suspected Charles was having an ongoing affair with his ex-girlfriend and his marital problems became public before the couple gave up.
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Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are pictured at their wedding with all their children (LR) Prince Harry, Prince William, Laura and Tom Parker Bowles, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle on April 10, 2005. (Reuters)
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Diana and Charles separated in 1992 and their marriage officially ended with a divorce in 1996. The Princess of Wales died in 1997 at the age of 36 from injuries sustained in a car accident in Paris.
Charles married his longtime love in 2005. After the wedding, she became the Duchess of Cornwall.