How Duchess Camilla's Ray Mill House gives 'sense of empowerment' and shows she's 'a person in her own right'

Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House was purchased after her first marriage ended and it’s thought to hold a special place in her heart…

Duchess Camilla's Ray Mill House and it's significance revealed, here the Duchess is seen during a reception for the 160th Anniversary of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
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Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House and her decision to retain this residence reportedly gives her a “sense of empowerment” and shows she’s a “person in her own right”.  


Like many members of the extended Royal Family, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles have several magnificent royal residences they can spend time in throughout the year. From their Gloucestershire idyll, Highgrove House, to Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate and their Clarence House London home they often spend time at different properties. But whilst these are all royal residences and some, like Highgrove, are privately owned by Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House home in Wiltshire is all hers! 

The future Queen Consort is understood to have bought the six-bedroom countryside property for a rumored £850,000 back in 1996 after her divorce from her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles. And despite marrying Prince Charles in 2005, she’s retained Ray Mill House as her own private home just a short distance from Highgrove...

Ray Mill House, the elegant Wiltshire mansion

(Image credit: David Jones/PA/Alamy Stock Photo)

It’s clear the Wiltshire bolt-hole holds a special place in her heart and was reportedly used as the wedding reception venue when the Duchess' daughter Laura got married in 2006. Meanwhile, it was in the picturesque gardens there that Duchess Camilla was captured by Kate Middleton for her Guest Edited issue of Country Life. 

This edition was released just a few days ahead of her 75th birthday on July 17th and was a huge moment for the Duchess, making her choice to be photographed at Ray Mill Hill even more meaningful. 

Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House is also close to family - something she revealed during her British Vogue (opens in new tab) debut earlier this year. 

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She discussed her grandchildren, stating, “One’s at a school very near my house, so when I am in Wiltshire and her parents are away, I can nip over and pick her up and take her home.”

Her reference to being in Wiltshire and the happy family memories connected with it indicate that Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House is very special to her. And according to a behavioral expert, the reason for this could lie in the way it helps her “retain a portion” of her life just for herself…

Why is Duchess Camilla’s Ray Mill House so significant to her? 

When it comes to Ray Mill House, it seems that Duchess Camilla’s decision to keep it is a “little haven” just for her as he manages her very public responsibilities.

Opening up about this on behalf of Slingo (opens in new tab), behavioral expert Darren Stanton said, “Camilla has given everything to Charles and she fully supports him in every way, altruistically and with a good heart. Even though she has opted into a life of public service alongside him and she enjoys that role, I think anyone no matter who they are in life likes to retain a portion of their life that belongs solely to them, if they are able to.”

The old mill pond recreated outside the living room of Ray Mill House, in Wiltshire

(Image credit: David Jones/PA/Alamy Stock Photo)

He went on to express his belief that it’s likely “important” to the Duchess of Cornwall to be able to have an idyllic escape whenever she might need it.

Darren said, “I think it’s important to her to have her own little haven that she can revisit and take time out for herself knowing that it is all hers. Even the most altruistic of people sometimes need to nourish their own soul and while she connects with other people easily and effortlessly, of course this also means that she takes on their burden which can be draining."

The expert suggested that Duchess Camilla chose for the Duchess of Cambridge to photograph her for Country Life at Ray Mill House partly because it shows a different side to her away from her royal life.

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“I believe the photoshoot was conducted at her private residence for a number of reasons. Primarily, I think she wanted to very much be in her own skin, and her own space and to demonstrate a very different facet to her life,” he claimed. “Here we see she has her own property and her own interests, and that not everything has to do with Royal protocol.”

Although Duchess Camilla is set to become Queen Consort - the Queen’s own “sincere wish” - the behavioral expert reflected that no matter what position you’re in, “private moments” are necessary and these could give her a “sense of empowerment”. 

He explained, “[C]ouples may feel stifled inside each other’s pockets 24/7 so Camilla, like many professional people in a relationship, also needs her private moments to take time out from her busy schedule to recuperate, refresh and regroup."

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“It’s also about a sense of empowerment by saying ‘Yes, I am a member of the Royal Family and I am married to the future king, however, I am a person in my own right’,” Darren declared.

So it seems there is not only huge significance behind Duchess Camilla choosing to keep Ray Mill House after marrying Prince Charles, but also in her decision to have her cover photo taken there. As someone who is constantly in the public eye, this "little haven" in Wiltshire likely offers her en escape from the pressures of royal life and a chance to just enjoy being herself.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.