In one of her first acts as Queen Consort, Camilla Parker Bowles is modernizing the role of the ladies in waiting, renaming the group of six women who attend her to “Queen’s companions,” according to Buckingham Palace. The women will also be less in attendance than the honorary role previously required. The move, which comes three months after the death of England’s longest-standing monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was made official Nov. 29 at a reception to raise awareness about domestic violence and violence against women.
The Queen’s companions are not paid for their service, however, their expenses are covered. This won’t impact how much Queen Camilla is worth, though. Her personal net worth is assumed to be around $5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
What is Camilla’s Role as Queen Consort?
Because Camilla is King Charles III’s second wife, it was no sure thing that she would assume the title of queen consort. But as the Washington Post reported, Queen Elizabeth II set the wheels in motion when she announced that she wanted Camilla to be known as “queen consort” when Charles became king.
Camilla follows in the footsteps of all previous wives of British or English kings in carrying out the duties of queen consort, USA Today reported. But those duties are fuzzy since there is no official job description or even official duties beyond supporting the king in any way she can.
The real duty of queen consorts throughout the centuries — giving birth to heirs to the throne — is not in play. King Charles III is 73 years old and Camilla is 75, and both have children and grandchildren from previous marriages.
Her Relationship With King Charles III Through the Years
Although the two were not married until 2005 — years after the death of Charles’ first wife, Princess Diana — their relationship goes back decades. Camilla met Charles at a polo match in 1970, before either was married, according to Britannica. Their relationship grew close enough that many expected them to marry, but in 1973 she instead married Andrew Parker Bowles, an army officer and a friend of Charles. Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles had two children and divorced in 1995. Her divorce settlement is unknown.
Camilla and Charles reportedly resumed their relationship while they were both married to others, which caused something of a scandal in the British tabloids. Even after Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, many doubted he would risk offending the commonwealth by proposing to Camilla. But after years of appearing as a public couple, their engagement was announced on Feb. 10, 2005, with the queen mother’s blessing.
Before She Became a Royal
Camilla was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947, at King’s College Hospital in London, according to the Royal U.K. website. She was the eldest of three children and born into an upper-class family. Camilla was first educated at Dumbrells School, a co-ed school in Sussex, and then attended Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington. She also attended Mon Fertile School in Switzerland and studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris.
Camilla, Queen Consort’s Work and Volunteer Experience
Camilla’s professional experience is minimal, though she did have an early job as an assistant at a high-end interior design firm called Colefax and Fowler. But that job didn’t last long because she “got the sack,” Oprah Daily reported, citing comments from a former colleague.
However, because of Camilla’s ties to the royal family — as well as her own upbringing in a wealthy family — she has never struggled financially.
Since her marriage to Charles in 2005, Camilla has become patron or president of about 100 charities and regularly attends events to support them. Much of her charity work involves health, literacy, the elderly, empowering women, the arts and helping victims of rape and sexual abuse.
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