How Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, won over the queen after a ‘frosty start’: royal expert

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, does not show emotion. It’s in her nature to remain stoic.

But, earlier this year, came floods of tears — and rightly so — as she was publicly announced as the queen consort to Prince Charles by the express wishes of Her Majesty The Queen.

This, according to a close source, was “beyond anything she had expected simply because it came from the woman she most admires and reveres in every aspect — the queen.” 

“It’s pretty obvious to all that Camilla has worked hard and shown her devotion to the crown, not just through her love for Prince Charles but in the diligent work she has undertaken over the 17 years of marriage. But to receive this from the queen left her in shock and delight,” the source told me. “Camilla can well up just speaking about it.” 



The queen recently announced Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will be referred to as queen consort to Prince Charles when he becomes king.
(Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty Images)

Camilla, though, is a great gal. In fact, a close pal of mine, comedian and TV host Paul O’Grady, was included in her recent TV documentary, and he assured me she is the real deal.

“Her love of animals is great,” Paul said. “She is kind, concerned and looks after all manner of our little furry friends, from hedgehogs in her garden to her beloved dogs. And, you know, you can always tell a person on how they treat animals, and she is smashing with them, truly wonderful.” 

Paul did let slip though that Camilla is a naughty gal on the side.

“Brilliant sense of humor and loves a bit of drag,” he said. Paul, of course, was famous for his alter ego character Lily Savage, the “Birkenhead Bombsite,” that created havoc and laughter for years, and Camilla and Charles were and remain great fans. 

Camilla may have changed public perception, but, as her son Tom Parker Bowles told me about his famous mum, “She is and always has been a great parent – caring, non-pushy — but oh so supportive in all our ventures, plus always knows the right thing to say, you know. She is mum, but also I love seeing how she has helped others with her charity work and really hands-on style within this niche just adding her name to an event but really getting involved. I know she is and remains a great role model for all of us.”


Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. 
(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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Camilla, speaking with British Vogue last month, said any private birthday party would be low-key. 

“There won’t be much celebration,” she said. “I shall spend it with my family and a few friends.” 

She said that she would turn down her grandchildren’s pressure to pierce her ears. They aren’t pierced now.

“And they are not going to be!” she told the magazine. “No, I’m not going to give it to myself for a 75th birthday present. [The grandchildren] will try to persuade me, but nothing’s going to pierce my ears.”

When guest editing the wonderful glossy mag Country Life, she insisted her pictures for the magazine be taken by Catherine, which had the bosses stunned at first. They had no idea she actually meant the Duchess of Cambridge. But, as Camilla told a mole, “I had no one else in mind, after all, when you see how delightful her own family pictures are. I mean, who can do better?” 


The Duchess of Cornwall requested Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, take her pictures for Country Life magazine.

Camilla, though, loves working with Catherine because, as she told my source, “She is unfussy — relaxed — and there is not all that nonsense with lighting, truckloads of makeup and hair. You just capture the moment, and, hopefully, it’s something special. When she showed me the end results, I knew they were perfect. And when we showed Charles, he was so overjoyed with them too. I think Catherine is going to be a busy family member being called upon to take all the family’s pictures in the coming years.”

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Catherine and Camilla, though, are good chums and share a delight in reading, walking and simply talking things as “only women can. You know, discuss the problem, solve it and move on.” 

Camilla also was so helpful at the start of Catherine’s move into the Royal Family, offering sage advice and comfort when the media became too beastly. After all, who can address this better than Camilla, who has suffered for years with bad press but rose above it and now commands respect for her hard work and great rapport with the media?

Catherine, in turn, loves Camilla and sees how one can make a happy marriage despite the hectic workload of royal life. Catherine and Camilla often spend time together in downtime, and their bond shines through with many more dual official dates being planned as they are popular with women. And events with both of them have really been well received, so they are delighted by this moving forward.

But how is the relationship now with the queen? Rosy now but, for years, not so. How did Camilla win over Her Majesty after such a frosty start? An insider told me it was simply the fact “she made Charles happy. Not just happy, but they really are the best of pals and love each other’s company. Plus, she makes Charles laugh. And, in turn, both Camilla and the queen are now very close, indeed often conferring on Wordle about a cryptic clue or chatting through the plot of the latest Downton Abbey saga, which Camilla loves so much.” 


Camilla also bonds with the Queen with her love of dancing, and they love the TV show “Strictly Come Dancing.” Camilla has visited the set a few times and has become friendly with judge Craig Revell Horwood.

Horwood told me direct, “Darling, she loves the show and never misses an episode, knows all the gossip backstage and, of course, I believe she would secretly love to come on the show. And, yes, I think she would be fabulous, darling. But I am not sure if she dare. I mean, it’s daunting for anyone, let alone someone in her position.” 

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So this is how Camilla has ensured the hard-earned respect of the queen, and this is how the decision by the queen to go public with her wishes that Camilla would be known as the queen consort came to pass.


After a rough start, Camilla’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth II has improved over the years. The two even enjoy watching “Downton Abbey” together.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


Camilla has insisted on a “no presents” rule, also telling my source, “Look, at this age, you have all you want. And if people wish to give me a gift, please just support my charities even if it’s volunteering, giving your time to visit as that to me is what we need now — more time of people to help. And me having a new dress, perfume, etc., is not what is needed. So, please, no presents. That would be my birthday wish.”

One issue, though, that is still left worryingly baffling for Camilla is the breakdown of her once close friendship with Charles’s younger son Prince Harry. As far as Camilla was aware, “they got on famously and discussed all manner of things with Harry, even stating that he loved how happy she made his (father). And then, boom, overnight cut off and not a word about her announcement from the queen.” 


Camilla told my good source, “She always prided herself on her good relations, having worked hard for years to make friends with both William and Harry. But somehow all that changed with no notice and no reason.” 

But, as the source added, “Camilla will deal with that as and when it happens as she has so many times before but ensuring that her beloved Charles and his family also are taken care of in her own style of comforting warm and fun way.”

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, happy birthday.

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