"In recognition of her loyal public service since our marriage 17 years ago, Camila becomes my queen consort." In his first speech as king, Carlos III crowned his wife thanking her for her "loving help", thus closing a time, of almost five decades, in which Camila Shand, also known as Parker Bowles by the surname of her first husband, has passed from girlfriend to friend, from friend to lover and from lover to dear wife.
Camila, the woman who shook the foundations of the British monarchy, for many the villain who caused the misfortune of sweet Diana, received one last gift from Queen Elizabeth II when, on her 70th birthday on the throne, already aware of the Close to her death, the British sovereign considered that the wife of her heir had already sufficiently purged her participation in the marital debacle of Charles and Diana and expressly requested that, at the time, she be named queen consort. The moment arrived last Thursday and Camila will go down in history with the crown on, like the rest of the king's wives who have preceded her.
When they got married, the memory of Diana was still warm, and perhaps in order not to offend the relatives of the dead princess, it was said that, when Carlos was proclaimed king, Camila would only be princess consort, the title that is granted to the queen's husbands holder, as happened with the husband of Elizabeth II, Philip of Edinburgh.
The current kings Carlos and Camila, after a story of adultery and bawdy confessions while the then prince was married to Diana Spencer, overcame the tragic death of the princess and, after making their courtship official, they married on April 9, 2005. almost eight years after the death of Diana of Wales.
In this time, Camilla has been known as the Duchess of Cornwall, a lesser title corresponding to the Prince of Wales. The memory of Charles's first wife and, therefore, Princess of Wales while their marriage lasted, prevented Camila from using that title, so emotionally linked to Diana, after her wedding, and although over time she gained the title of princess, ended up giving meaning and content to that of duchess.
Since their wedding, Carlos and Camila have shown themselves to be a mature couple in love, demonstrating with the facts that theirs is a solid union, both personally and institutionally, since both have devoted themselves to their representation tasks. The triangle formed by Carlos, Diana and Camila argued for years the story of a man without will, an immature woman and a villain. The British tabloids had a field day, and the drama of Diana's death sanctified the mother of William and Henry and demonized Camila. Neither Carlos, nor Camila, nor Diana were, during the period in which their lives crossed, up to the occasion, but since their marriage, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have had time to clean up their history and reach kings with the general approval.
After decades of darkness, Queen Camila, 75 years old, one more than her husband, is one of the assets of the British crown, forming part of the hard core of the family. She, Charles of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now Princes of Wales, and her children, George, Charlotte and Louis, were the only ones who appeared on the Buckingham balcony accompanying Queen Elizabeth in her few appearances during the Jubilee.
Little by little, Camila's presence left behind the shadow of Diana, the princess martyr. The fairy tale changed its plot and whoever held the position of the stepmother, considered a witch for decades, has ended, with her attitude of the last 17 years, by leaving behind the recurring comparisons with her husband's first wife.
Camila Parker's life gives for many stories. The daughter of a lower aristocratic British family, she had been part of the circle of the Prince of Wales since 1970, when she, aged 23, and he, aged 21, met at a polo match. At the first meeting, Camila reminded Carlos that her great-great-grandfather King Edward VII had been a lover of her great-grandmother Alice Keppel. Carlos was dazzled by the daring of the young woman, different from the girls who, so fine and educated, aspired to be the chosen ones. Camila captivated Carlos, she became his accomplice but she did not want to be his girlfriend, much less marry him, nor with the fate that awaited her. In 1973, Camila Shand married Andrew Parker-Bowles, who in turn had had an affair with Princess Anne. They had two children, Thomas (1974) and Laura (1978), and as a good English marriage, once the mission to start a family, both Camila and Andrew returned to their old friendships.
While Carlos was looking for a suitable wife, Camila recovered her position as a close friend and confidant and even agreed on the choice of Diana, both thinking that she would adapt to the triangle. They did not count on the emotional instability (which they contributed to exacerbate) of the Princess of Wales and the matter exploded with Diana's confessions and the leaks of Carlos and Camila's sexual audios.
The Prince and Princess of Wales separated in 1992 and obtained a divorce in 1995. Andrew and Camilla Parker-Bowles broke up their marriage in 1996 and the lovers lived their love in private until Diana's death in 1997 opened the door to a public relationship.
Eight years had to pass before they left behind the trauma of Diana's disappearance and, against all odds and public opinion, Carlos and Camila got married on April 9, 2005. Since then, Camila has achieved what seemed impossible: to earn to the British. With patience, humility and the help of Carlos, she has gone from being the most hated woman to her, if not the most loved, at least respected. And it was Queen Elizabeth II, aware of Camila's positive influence on Carlos and the consistency of the evident love that was professed for her, who expressly requested all her honors for her. Camila has managed, and she did not have it easy, to be a queen.