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70 facts about the 70-year-old Duchess of Cornwall

On the occasion of the Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th birthday, we take a look at 70 interesting and sometimes bizarre facts about the royal.

  1. The Duchess of Cornwall is the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand and the Hon Rosalind Maud Shand. She was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on 17th July 1947 at King’s College Hospital in London and is the eldest of three children.
  2. The Duchess’s title and style in full is Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles, Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.
  3. On 9th April 2012, The Queen appointed The Duchess of Cornwall to be a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
  4. Camilla has a keen interest in animals and is passionate about animal welfare. Her love of animals is reflected in many of her Patronages and charitable visits.
  5. Camilla is a huge fan of the Danish TV crime series The Killing, so much so she visited the set during their 2012 eight-day tour of Scandinavia
  6. Camilla adopted Beth, a Jack Russell in 2011 and Bluebell, also a Jack Russell a year later from South London’s famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, where she is a frequent visitor.
  7. The Duchess is the eldest of three siblings: she has a sister, Annabel Elliot (née Shand) and a had brother, Mark Shand, who died a few years ago.
  8. Her Royal Highness attended Dumbrells School in Sussex, Queen’s Gate School and South Kensington and Mon Fertile finishing school in Switzerland.  The Duchess also studied Fine Art, French and French Literature at the University of London Institute in Paris.
  9. At school, Camilla was known as ‘the growler’.
  10. The Duchess of Cornwall is the second-highest ranking woman in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth coming only second to The Queen. Whether she will once day become Queen Consort remains a disputed question.
  11. The Duchess married Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles on the 4th of July 1973.  The couple had two children, Thomas Henry in 1974 and Laura Rose in 1978.  The marriage dissolved in 1995.

    Royal Navy Media Archive via Flickr CC

  12. The Duchess married the Prince of Wales in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor on the 9th of April 2005.  A Service of Prayer and Dedication took place afterwards at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and was presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Her Majesty The Queen hosted a wedding reception at Windsor Castle for the Royal couple.
  13. Upon her marriage to The Prince of Wales, Her Royal Highness decided to use the title The Duchess of Cornwall, as her husband is also known as The Duke of Cornwall.  When in Scotland, Her Royal Highness is known as The Duchess of Rothesay.
  14. Her Royal Highness was granted a Royal Coat of Arms by The Queen shortly after her marriage to The Prince of Wales.  The Coat of Arms is known as an impaled Coat of Arms, as it brings together The Prince of Wales’s Coat of Arms with that of the Duchess’s father, the late Major Bruce Shand.
  15. Clarence House is the official residence of The Duchess of Cornwall and The Prince of Wales. The Royal couple has a family home in Gloucestershire called Highgrove House.  When in Scotland, Their Royal Highnesses stay at their private residence, Birkhall.
  16. Camilla was once fired from a job because she was late to work.
  17. The Duchess made her inaugural overseas visit to the United States in November 2005.
  18. Camilla first met Prince Charles in the early 1970s at a polo match at Windsor Great Park.
  19. The Duchess learned to ride ponies at a young age and enjoys riding in her spare time.  She often attends racing and other equestrian events and is Patron of the British Equestrian Federation and the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.  In 2006, The Duchess became President of The Brooke, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  20. Each year, along with her husband, the Duchess of Cornwall undertakes an annual visit to Wales.
  21. The Duchess was presented with a hybrid tea rose grown in her honour in 2005.  The flower, called Rosa Duchess of Cornwall, has a soft, pink flower with a spicy fragrance and dark, glossy foliage.
  22. The Duchess has been President of the National Osteoporosis Society since 2001 and has worked for many years to raise awareness of the disease.  Her mother, Mrs Rosalind Shand, died as a result of osteoporosis in 1994.  The Duchess’s grandmother died from the same condition eight years earlier.
  23. Her Royal Highness is Patron of the National Literacy Trust, Book Trust and First Story.  These are organisations aimed at promoting and supporting literacy in young people throughout the United Kingdom.  As an avid reader, the Duchess is keen to promote the benefits of reading to children and has read aloud to children at numerous events.
  24. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are both great supporters of the arts and regularly attend concerts and theatre shows.  Her Royal Highness is Patron of the London Chamber Orchestra and the Theatre Royal in Bath. The Duchess is also to follow in the footsteps of the Queen Mother and become the patron of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

    Michael Garnett via Flickr CC

  25. Camilla is one of the few Royals who often personally replies to letters sent to her by members of the public.
  26. The Duchess, like The Prince of Wales, is committed to supporting local food producers and encouraging children to learn more about where the food they eat comes from.  To celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Her Royal Highness created a competition called “Cook for The Queen”, inviting schools in the United Kingdom to submit menu suggestions which would be served at a reception at Buckingham Palace attended by Her Majesty The Queen in June 2012.
  27. Camilla’s wedding ring is a platinum-set, emerald-cut diamond ring that had previously belonged to the Queen Mother.
  28. The Duchess is President of the UK Vineyard Association and has revealed herself to be a “passionate” connoisseur of wine.  The Duchess’s father, Major Bruce Shand, was a wine exporter and it has been said that Her Royal Highness “has a deep knowledge of grapes and vintages”.
  29. In 2010, the Duchess was attacked by student demonstrators after security was breached on the streets of London’s West End. The car she and her husband were travelling in came under attack, but the couple managed to get away unscathed but shaken.
  30. The Duchess of Cornwall’s first solo engagement was a visit to Southampton General Hospital.
  31. In 2017, she jokingly knighted a farmer with a leek.
  32. Camilla is a huge advocate of reading in schools, and for the last few years has judges the 500 words competition.
  33. As well as supporting the 500 words competition, for the past few years, the Duchess has presented the Man Booker Prize for Literature.
  34. Despite knowing the Prince of Wales for many decades, she only met The Queen in the year 2000.
  35. The Duchess of Cornwall moved into Clarence House with the Prince of Wales in 2003.
  36. Her Royal Highness has been the sponsor of HMS Astute since 2007 and was a guest of honour at a service to commemorate the formal acceptance of the vessel by the Royal Navy in 2010.
  37. When meeting the singer Lady Gaga at the Royal Variety Performance, she revealed: “My grandchildren call me Gaga.”

    WorldSkills UK vis Flickr CC

  38. The Duchess of Cornwall has admitted that she can get very jealous of her husband’s painting skills.
  39. The Duchess made history by being installed as the first female Chancellor of Aberdeen University in June 2013.  Her Royal Highness, known as The Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, is the first member of the Royal Family to hold the post, which dates back to 1860.  The life-long role comprises ceremonial duties including awarding degrees to graduates at the end of each year.
  40. Although legally she is Princess of Wales, Camilla has adopted the feminine form of her husband’s highest-ranking subsidiary title, Duke of Cornwall, because the title Princess of Wales became strongly associated with the previous holder of that title, Diana.
  41. Her Royal Highness is the 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 of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Canada together in 2009 and visited Dundurn Castle, now a National Historic Site.  Following the visit, Her Royal Highness became Patron of the Dundurn National Historic Site.
  42. Alice Keppel, the mistress to King Edward VII, is the great-grandmother of the Duchess of Cornwall. Edward VII is meanwhile the great-great-grandfather of Prince Charles.
  43. The Duchess is a fan of British fashion designer, Anna Valentine.  Her Royal Highness wore dresses by the designer to her own wedding to Prince Charles in 2005, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 and to various other official engagements.
  44. Camilla is a huge fan of dancing, and the television show Strictly Come Dancing. Strictly judge, Craig Revel-Horwood joked that the Duchess could be lined up to replace retiring head judge, Len Goodman.
  45. The Duchess attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in May 2013.

    UK Parliament via Flickr CC

  46. In 2017, Camilla personally saw the launch of her innovation she founded to provide wash bags to survivors of rape and sexual assault. These bags contain essential products such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, shower gel, make-up, deodorant and hand cream.
  47. The Queen did not attend Charles and Camilla’s wedding due to her religious convictions about divorcees remarrying.
  48. Despite not attending the wedding, The Queen extended Camilla visible tokens of membership in The Royal family; having lent the Duchess a tiara previously belonging to the Queen Mother.
  49. Her Royal Highness embarked on her first solo overseas engagement as a member of the Royal family in May 2013 and visited Paris on behalf of her social enterprise charity, Emmaus UK.
  50. Camilla made a strong statement during her tour of the Middle East in 2016 when she had an all-female security escort guarding her.
  51. The Duchess has five grandchildren: Lola and Freddy Parker Bowles and Eliza, Gus and Louis Lopes.  Eliza was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April 2011.
  52. When The Prince of Wales accedes to the Throne, The Duchess of Cornwall will use the title Her Royal Highness The Princess Consort.
  53. She once purchased a picture of an avocado for £300.
  54. The Duchess is a supporter of credit unions, saying they are a “real force for change in the financial landscape, serve the people, not profit” and “provide a friendly financial community where members mutually benefit from advice, as well as savings accounts and loans.”
  55. In 2016, the Duchess of Cornwall represented The Queen at the Sovereign’s Parade in Sandhurst. It was the first time she has attended this prestigious ceremony.
  56. Camilla’s marriage to the Prince of Wales was delayed by one day to allow Prince Charles and some of the other invited dignitaries to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
  57. Camilla’s popularity is quickly on the rise. More people support the royal holding the position of Queen than ever before.
  58. The Duchess of Cornwall has publically praised Prime Minister Theresa May for speaking out about suffering from diabetes.

    Michael Garnett via Flickr CC

  59. According to Camilla’s son, Tom, the royal avoids eating garlic, so she doesn’t smell at engagements.
  60. In 2016, the Duchess invited a prison inmate to Clarence House to redecorate the property.
  61. Camilla, a tennis enthusiast, has said that her favourite player is Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
  62. The Duchess of Cornwall has a namesake pub in the town of Poundbury. Last year, she visited The Duchess of Cornwall pub and pulled a pint.
  63. Along with her husband, Camilla is a friend of the stars. In the past few years, she has paid tribute to some of those who have passed away, including Joan Rivers and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.
  64. The Duchess may have dined on dinners prepared by some the world’s most famous chefs however she has now confessed she loves nothing more than eating raw peas.
  65. Camilla is said to be an avid fan of the cartoon section in newspapers.
  66. She attended the Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 2005, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards.
  67. In 2016, the Duchess was made a member of the Privy Council by The Queen.
  68. In 2015, Camilla teamed up with department store Fortnum & Mason to sell a limited edition of 250 jars of honey, which were produced by bees that reside in her private garden in Wiltshire. The Duchess honey jars sold for £20 a jar and were hugely successful, selling out in two weeks at the store.
  69. She is the honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Medical Service.
  70. The Duchess supports organisations that battle poverty and homelessness. She is the patron of Emmaus UK, and every Christmas, she visits Emmaus communities across the UK.

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