Duchess Camilla celebrates her 75th birthday: from the mistress to the wife of the next king
The British learn from an early age what beneficial effects their national drink can have. On the island as elsewhere, the triumphant advance of huge coffee mugs may be unstoppable – in times of crisis, a nice cup of tea is always brewed. The drink, which is always enriched with milk, also serves as a pick-me-up, refreshment, sedative or stimulant. And as a marriage cement.
marriage cement? The Duchess of Cornwall recently revealed this hitherto largely unknown function. Camilla told Vogue magazine about the heir to the throne, Prince Charles’ jam-packed schedule, but also about her own diverse commitments. The couple sometimes feel, according to the Duchess in a maritime comparison, “like ships that pass each other at night”. But at some point during the day they always manage to meet up: “We have a cup together and talk about the day. That’s wonderful.”
On the occasion of her 75th birthday this Sunday, Camilla adorns the cover of the youngest number. The Duchess recently stepped out of the shadow of the man who has become her destiny for more than 50 years. First a longtime lover, later ridiculed as an evil third party in Charles’ thoroughly failed marriage to his first wife Diana, the Duchess, who was promoted to prince consort 17 years ago, has won the favor of the people with a friendly smile and iron silence, not unlike her mother-in-law in this respect .
And so the initially deeply skeptical queen – adulterers of both sexes were not considered very important at court – has long since built up a friendly relationship with the woman who gave her difficult eldest son lifelong support. Elizabeth II also made the recognition very public: At the beginning of the year, Camilla was accepted into the Order of the Garter, whose membership is determined by the monarch. More important for the future was the publicly expressed wish that the daughter-in-law should one day be allowed to bear the title “Queen Consort”. The fact that this was hardly noticed by the public may serve as evidence for Camilla’s rehabilitation. Certainly there are, especially in the older generation, “some who will never forgive the heir to the throne for his behavior towards Diana,” analyzes the royal expert of the “Daily Telegraph”, Camilla Tominay. According to surveys, however, a quarter of a century after the accidental death of the “Queen of Hearts”, Camilla, who was publicly hostile at the time, is considered a plus for the monarchy: unpretentious, open to people, an irreplaceable support for the heir to the throne.
Camilla’s “unwavering cheerfulness” is of paramount importance to the brooding Charles
As a result of the second marriage, Charles had mutated from an old grumbler into an “unmistakably happy man”, according to the British-American author Tina Brown. In her book “The Palace Papers”, published in time for the 70th platinum throne jubilee, she praises Camilla as “charming, discreet, patient”. Charles biographer Catherine Mayer has summed up the role of the second wife in the prince’s life in a concise way. “Only Camilla has managed to remain herself when dealing with Charles because she has nothing to hide from him,” believes the former London correspondent for the US magazine “Time”, who has also met the Duchess of Cornwall personally on several occasions . Last but not least, their “unshakeable cheerful nature” is of the utmost importance for the brooding prince. Since marrying in 2005, Britons have discovered unknown sides to the Duchess, adding interesting aspects to the one-dimensional image of Charles’s lover and Diana’s rival. She has long worked hard as a patron of the British Osteoporosis Society. She also supports a number of organizations that take care of victims of domestic violence.
It is now also known that Camilla is an avid consumer of contemporary novels. Whenever she points her old friend to a new author, Lucia Santa Cruz reported, the answer is: “I already know”. The mother of two children from her first marriage shares her love of reading with her husband: Camilla confided in Vogue that it is particularly enjoyable “when we sit in the same room and read. We’re together, but we don’t need to have a conversation.”
With references to her favorite drink and the quiet reading community, Camilla has elegantly got rid of rumors that have been haunting the gazettes for more than a decade: the couple had become estranged and lived largely separately. It is true that the nearly 75-year-old has always retreated to her country home, Ray Mill, in Wiltshire, where she enjoys the company of children and five grandchildren aged between 12 and 14. Very similar to Charles: he loves his country house Highgrove in the neighboring county of Gloucester more than anything and likes to spend time there. Camilla’s tip on sharing a cup of tea – let’s see if that doesn’t show up in marriage guides anytime soon.