For the first time, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall has given her views on the pressure of being part of the royal family, and wife of the heir to the throne.
Prince Charles’ wife spoke to The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine for a rare interview, where she chatted with refreshing honesty about her royal duties, and the scrutiny she faced after getting back together with Charles in the late 1990s.
The Duchess, who turns 70 in July, admitted that often the demands of being wife to a future King can be tricky, and can regularly leave her exhausted. She said, “Sometimes you get up in the morning and think you can’t do it, and you just have to. The minute you stop it’s like a balloon, you run out of puff – you sort of collapse in a heap. I think you live on adrenaline.
But she maintained that it’s her positive attitude which helps her through difficult days, saying “If you are a positive person, you can do so much more. People are either glass-half-empty or glass-half-full. I always think hopefully. You just have to get on with it. Being British!”
Camilla also spoke about her tumultuous past with the public concerning her relationship with Prince Charles, considering that the couple were rumoured to be having an affair whilst he was married to Princess Diana.
The couple first met back in 1971, with reports that Charles fell in love with her then, and rekindled their relationship soon after Charles and Diana divorced.
But the Duchess revealed that the public backlash over her relationship was often difficult to bear – so much so that for a while she felt like a prisoner in her own home.
“I barely left the house for a year,” she revealed in the interview. Instead, she read and learnt to paint in order to pass the time when she couldn’t face the public.
“I couldn’t really go anywhere. But the children came and went as normal – they just got on with it – and so did great friends.
“It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it.”
Speaking about how she stays strong to face the scrutiny, she says, “You have to be, but I think it also comes from my upbringing. We were brought up in a very happy family and I can’t whinge about my childhood because it was idyllic.’
The Duchess is hailed as one of the hardest working royals of the lot – undertaking a huge 200 public engagements a year, and assisting Prince Charles on royal tours abroad almost constantly.
But she admits that it’s no mean feat, and that if something goes wrong whilst the pair are out and about, she’s quick to deploy her sense of humour to get through it. “You’ve got to laugh through most things. There are situations where it’s very difficult not to lose it completely, especially if something goes terribly wrong and everybody sits there for a split second. You do have to swallow and pinch yourself very hard to not laugh.”
Of royal engagements, the Duchess admitted that she regularly terrifies her team by saying that she doesn’t want to read the brief of the person she’s about to meet. “When I sit down with my team before an engagement, sometimes they are horrified as I say I don’t want to read the biographical brief because I prefer to prise information out of people.
“I genuinely like people and I’m so curious about them. Other people’s lives are so much more interesting than one’s own. It’s like going to a dinner where I almost feel like I am a psychiatrist.”