Camilla Parker Bowles - everything you need to know about the UK's Queen Consort

Camilla Parker Bowles became the UK's new Queen Consort following the accession of King Charles III on September 19 2022

Camilla Parker Bowles throughout the years
(Image credit: Future// Image 1:Photo By Steve Finn/Getty Images //Image 2: Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images // Image 3: Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

We shine a spotlight on powerful and inspiring women like Camilla Parker Bowles to tell you more about their daily lives and most relatable moments. Our in-depth profiles cover everything from how these women juggle work and play, to their most important relationships, and the pearls of wisdom they have to offer other women—with no detail spared.

Camilla Parker Bowles, is one of the most recognizable women in the Royal Family and has now become the UK's Queen Consort upon the accession of King Charles III. Although she has been in the spotlight for many decades, there are many things that we don't know about the Queen Consort  - here is everything you need to know about her life, marriages and children.

Camilla Parker Bowles' early life

Camilla, Queen Consort was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947, in Kings College Hospital, London. Camilla's parents, Bruce Shand and Rosalind Cubitt, raised Camilla and her younger siblings Annabel and Mark in East Sussex and South Kensington, and  she was educated in England, Switzerland, and France.

Although Camilla's family was ran in similar circles to the Royal Family, there are very few public photos of Camilla as a child. It was not until she was older that the then-Camilla Shand became considered a celebrity. 

Camilla and 3-year-old Annabelle Shand, at the wedding of Jeremy Cubitt and Diana du Cane

Camilla and Annabelle Shand, at the wedding of Jeremy Cubitt and Diana du Cane

(Image credit: Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

However, royal fans can get a unique glimpse of the Queen Consort during her childhood in an unearthed photograph from 1952. Camilla, who was then just four years old, was pictured at a wedding alongside her three-year-old sister Annabel when they were bridesmaids at the wedding of their maternal uncle Jeremy Cubitt and Diana du Cane at St Mark's Church in London. 

Giving further insight into her wonderful relationship with her parents, Camilla opened up to The Weekly (opens in new tab) in July 2022, ahead of her 70th birthday. 

"My mother was absolutely brilliant at making us speak to people," the Queen Consort reflected. "She used to have people to dinner; it didn't matter who it was, old or young, some of them we thought were incredibly boring, but she used to sit at the end of the table and say: 'Talk! I don't care whether you're talking about your pony or your homework, just talk!' She was also quite forthright and never minced her words."

Major Bruce Shand of the 12th Royal Lancers, marries Rosalind Cubitt

Major Bruce Shand of the 12th Royal Lancers, marries Rosalind Cubitt

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The senior royal also went on to discuss how "lucky" she was to have had such an picture-perfect, happy childhood in the countryside. 

"I was one of the very lucky ones. I had the idyllic childhood right in the country, sitting on the South Downs with my brother and my sister and our pets and our ponies. I think it was a very simple childhood," she explained. 

Camilla added, "Sometimes in the summer we used to ride to school on our ponies, probably something that's more Australian than English, but we used to ride and then tie them up and ride back again. It just shows how things have changed, because in those days there was nothing on the roads"

When did King Charles meet Camilla Parker Bowles and why didn't they marry before?

The then-Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles reportedly met through a mutual friend in 1971 when they were both in their early 20s. At the time it was alleged that Camilla had ended her relationship with the man who would go on to be her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, who then began to briefly date Princess Anne.

Although romance blossomed between Prince Charles and Camilla, the couple didn't go on to tie the knot at this particular time. Instead, it's thought that members of the Royal Family, including Lord Mountbatten, advised the future King from proposing to Camilla Shand at this time. Reports have suggested that she was perceived as being too "experienced" to become the future Queen and that not coming from a titled family might have influenced the perception of her. 

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles In 1979

 Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles In 1979 

(Image credit: Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty Images)

Despite this, according to The Independent (opens in new tab), royal biographer Gyles Brandreth has since claimed in his book Charles & Diana: Portrayal of a Love Affair, that though it "wasn't possible" for them to marry then hindsight shows how suited they are.

"With hindsight, you can say that Charles should have married Camilla when he first had the chance. They were ideally suited, we know that now. But it wasn't possible. It wouldn’t have been possible, not then," he wrote.

Camilla Parker Bowles' wedding to Andrew Parker Bowles

Camilla Shand married her first husband Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. The couple met in the 1960s through Andrew's younger brother Simon. They had on-again-off-again relationship but were finally married in 1973 in a ceremony attended by the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne and the reception was held at St James's Palace

Camilla Shand marries Major Andrew Parker-Bowles at the Guards Chapel

Camilla Shand marries Major Andrew Parker Bowles at the Guards Chapel

(Image credit: Photo by Wood/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

After 21 years of marriage, Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles' relationship came to an end in 1994 on the grounds that they had been living separately for many years before their divorce. Their divorce was finalized in 1995, and just a year later Andrew married his second wife Rosemary Pitman, who sadly passed from cancer in 2010.

Andrew and Rosemary were both guests at the wedding of the now-King Charles and Camilla in 2005 and both Camilla and Princess Anne attended Rosemary Parker Bowles' funeral in 2010.

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles' wedding

In 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. This was later followed by a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St George's Chapel near Windsor Castle. Although Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip didn't attend the civil ceremony they were at the service and hosted a reception for the newlyweds at their Berkshire home. 

The Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their families

The Prince of Wales and his Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with their families

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage via Getty)

After the wedding, Camilla became formally known as the Duchess of Cornwall and her position as the future Queen consort was cemented. Prince Charles and Camilla's wedding was met with extreme excitement from the press, and many fans were delighted to see the couple finally tie the knot.

Despite this reports have suggested over the years that the Duchess Camilla could not get ‘out of bed’ on her wedding day as she suffered from terrible nerves and about the magnitude of the day and had recently had a bout of sinusitis. However, on the day everything went off without a hitch and the royal couple has been happily married for 17 years.

Camilla Parker Bowles' children

Camilla and her former husband Andrew Parker Bowles are proud parents to a son Tom Parker Bowles, born on December 18, 1974, and a daughter Laura Lopes (née Parker Bowles) who was born on January 1, 1978. 

Both of Camilla's children chose creative career paths as Laura is an English art curator and Tom is a food writer and critic who has regularly appeared in episodes of MasterChef. 

Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Laura Lopes attend the launch of the "Fortnum & Mason Christmas & Other Winter Feasts" cookbook

Tom Parker Bowles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Laura Lopes attend the launch of the "Fortnum & Mason Christmas & Other Winter Feasts" cookbook

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fortnum & Mason)

Both Tom and Laura have children, making Camilla a grandmother-of-five. Tom and his former wife Sara have two children named Lola and Frederick, whilst Laura and her husband Harry have three children named Guy, Louis, and Eliza. 

Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown 

In the hit Netflix historical drama, The Crown, the Queen Consort was portrayed by actor and director Emerald Fennell, who is perhaps best known for her 2020 smash hit movie, Promising Young Woman. In March 2022 Camilla and Emerald Fennell met in real life and the actor praised the then-Duchess' "grace and good humor".

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, President of WOW - Women of the World Festival, meets Emerald Fennell

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, President of WOW - Women of the World Festival, meets Emerald Fennell 

(Image credit: Photo by Arthur Edwards-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Camilla appeared as a character in The Crown seasons 3 and 4, where a fictionalized version of her life, including her early life and relationship with Prince Charles, was brought to life on screen. The Netflix series also suggests that at one point, Princess Diana and Camilla, Queen Consort were close enough to share lunches as Camilla tried to assist the newlywed in adjusting to royal life. 

Although this can't be confirmed there are a few images of a young Camilla and Diana at events together which could suggest some kind of friendship or acquaintanceship.

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker-Bowles at Ludlow Races

Lady Diana Spencer and Camilla Parker Bowles at Ludlow Races

(Image credit: Photo by Express Newspapers/Archive Photos)

The upcoming instalment, The Crown season 5, is set to cover the end of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's relationship and subsequent divorce. Ahead of the release of the new series in November 2022, just months after the accession of King Charles III and Camilla becoming Queen Consort, it's been reported that Buckingham Palace have released a rare statement about The Crown.

According to The Telegraph (opens in new tab), "A senior royal source stressed on Sunday that The Crown is 'a drama not a documentary.'"

Why is Camilla Queen Consort?

Whilst she might one day be known simply as Queen Camilla, in the weeks following Queen Elizabeth's passing and King Charles becoming the UK's new monarch, she is being referred to by her official title of Camilla, the Queen Consort, rather than as Queen. This is because she is the Queen Consort to King Charles and not Queen in her own right, as Queen Elizabeth was.

The late Queen was a Queen Regnant - a reigning Queen - who came to the throne due to her place in the royal line of succession. In contrast, Camilla wasn't born into the Royal Family and holds this title as the wife of the ruling King.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, waves as they leave Dunfermline Abbey

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, wave as they leave Dunfermline Abbey

(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty Images)

What is Camilla Parker Bowles' height?

The exact height of Camilla Parker Bowles isn't known however over the years reports have suggested that she stands either 5ft8inches or 5ft6 inches tall. This height would make her taller than her sister-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex at around 5ft5 and shorter than her stepdaughter-in-law Kate Middleton, who is believed to be around 5ft9. 

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.