Ahead of her 75th birthday next month, The Duchess of Cornwall has made her debut in Vogue magazine, talking about her royal work, as well as the more personal side of her life.
Speaking candidly about the public attention she has faced in the 17 years she has been married to Prince Charles – and the years before – she said: “It’s not easy. I was scrutinised for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it. Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticised and…” she drifted off.
“But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it. You’ve got to get on with life,” the magazine reports, giving ‘a calm little shrug’.
She has previously spoken about the ‘horrid’ treatment she received, but by and large, the Duchess has remained quiet about her experience.
Her husband, Prince Charles, is known for his workaholic nature, regularly sitting up until the small hours to tend to his correspondence. He also is often the busiest Royal each year, carrying out the most engagements of the entire working family.
The Duchess of Cornwall is asked how she finds time for her marriage, to which she replied: “It’s not easy sometimes, but we do always try to have a point in the day when we meet.
“Sometimes it’s like ships passing in the night, but we always sit down together and have a cup of tea and discuss the day. We have a moment. It’s lovely to catch up when we have a bit of time. You know when we go away, the nicest thing is that we actually sit and read our books in different corners of the same room. It’s very relaxing because you know you don’t have to make conversation. You just sit and be together.”
The Duchess was asked about her work with sexual assault and rape survivors, some of the most hard hitting engagements we see in the royal calendar each year, and also an area in which she has raised significant attention.
Is it the sort of work she will continue when she is Queen Consort? “Oh, I shall carry on as much as I can,” Camilla replied . “You can’t desert things that you’re in the middle of. There’s a lot of things to be done still.”
Alongside public engagements to refuges to meet with survivors, Camilla also makes private visits, often in South London. She regularly fits in similar organisations to any of her tours abroad, which have jam-packed schedules for the 74-year-old and her husband, who turns 74 later this year.
“Also, whenever we go on a trip, we try and find refuges, wherever it is in the world, and go and see people. It’s interesting to see what’s happening in other countries,” but noted there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. She expressed her pride at the work done in the UK and added: “Obviously it’s much more difficult in Middle Eastern countries. But there are places that are doing a marvellous job.”
Camilla is an avid reader, and set up The Duchess of Cornwall’s reading room during lockdown. She explained that she didn’t previously know what Instagram was, but was pleased at the success of the project, which has more than 136,000 followers at present, with members who follow along writing from all across the globe.
“I do Wordle every day with my granddaughter,” the Duchess told the interviewer. “She’ll text me to say, ‘I’ve done it in three’, and I say, ‘Sorry, I’ve done it in two today.’ It’s very satisfactory when it tells you how brilliant you are,” she chuckled.
In grandmotherhood she seems to relish. The Duchess commented: “You know the nice thing about being a grandmother is that you can spoil them occasionally, give them more of the things that their parents forbid them to have,” she says, ‘her face lighting up’, the article described.
“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.” The Duchess has a country bolthole at Ray Mill in Lacock – a short drive from Highgrove – purchased after her divorce, and where she frequently holed up during difficult times with the press and paparazzi.
“The girls are beginning to get into clothes and make-up and, you know, it’s rather frightening when you see them, coming out with pierced ears and a lot of new make-up and funny-coloured hair and stuff,” she says, amused.
She was admitted to the Order of the Garter earlier this year, a personal gift from The Queen, and attended her first Garter Day service in the uniform. “I think it’s probably my favourite ceremony,” she said, “because it’s got the setting of Windsor Castle and the colour and the pageantry.”
The photoshoot took place the day before the interview at Clarence House, in the Garden Room. She wore only items from her wardrobe, include Bruce Oldfield, and
The brooch on this gown appears to be the pendant-less version of the Sunburst Brooch, which once belonged to the Queen Mother, inherited from Princess Marie-Louise, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Fashion-wise, Camilla knows what suits her, and works closely with her dresser, Jacqui Meakin, who also dressed the Queen Mother. The article describes her style as ‘propriety over whimsy’, and shares an anecdote that she did have false nails the day before, but gardening saw to that!
Despite her grand collection of earrings, including from Van Cleef & Arpels, the Duchess does not have her ears pierced. “And they are not going to be!” she declared. “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.”
Speaking of the experience, sittings editor Kate Phelan described the atmosphere on set as ‘incredibly relaxed’.
“She was so warm and friendly,” Phelan says, adding that she was also struck by the ‘really fantastic team of women’ Camilla has chosen to surround herself with. “There was a real sense of ‘women power’ going on. In a way, for all these years she has been portrayed as something so different, but from the moment she walked in she absolutely sparkled. She’s really charismatic, super chatty, and incredibly charming. The whole thing was actually really fun.”
Read the full article here.