Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, turns 70 years old in July (which is creeping up on us in a steady clip, right?). To mark the the start of Camilla’s septuagenarian years, she’s given an exclusive interview to the Daily Mail’s You Magazine, which you can read here. While I’m still a Diana-obsessive, I don’t hate Camilla at all. I think it’s perfectly possible to admire and respect Diana’s life and her memory and still think that Camilla seems like a fun, interesting person who is also more suited to Prince Charles than Diana ever was. But I do think there’s a fine line that Camilla has to acknowledge, which is that no one is ever going to find particularly sympathetic, especially not when she talks about how hard her life was when she was openly carrying on an affair with Charles while he was still married to Diana. Here are some highlights from the interview:
On her 200 royal events a year: “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.”
Boosting trade, post-Brexit: “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!”
She misses her brother Mark Shand, who died in 2014: “Mark always wanted something. When I heard his voice on the phone saying, ‘Camillsy…’ I knew immediately he wanted something. But God, I miss him.”
She loves to read & she has a strong character: “For about a year, when we lived at Middlewick, 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. I would pass the time by reading a lot – more than I’d ever have been able to in a normal life. I thought, well, if I’m stuck here I might as well do something positive like read all the books I want to read, and try to learn to paint – though that wasn’t a huge success! – and after a while, life sort of went on. I don’t think I’m tough but I do think I’m quite a strong character. 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 years when she was villainized for her affair with Charles: “It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it. I couldn’t have survived it without my family.’ Is she good at putting things that are difficult in a box and saying, ‘I’m moving on?’ ‘Most definitely, yes,’ she replies.
Her preparation for royal life: “Thank goodness I was brought up with the grounding of my parents, and taught manners. It sounds, especially in this day and age, sort of snobbish but we left school at 16, nobody went on to university unless you were a real brainbox. Instead, we went to Paris and Florence and learned about life and culture and how to behave with people, how to talk to people. This was very ingrained in my upbringing and if I hadn’t had that, I would have found royal life much more difficult.”
[From The Daily Mail]
In some ways, I do think that what you see is what you get with Camilla – she’s not a woman with a lot of mystery. She loves her kids, her horses, her dogs, her books and her husband. Her interior life is full of books and little self-doubt. She doesn’t go in for a lot of self-analysis. I don’t doubt that those years – the 1990s, basically – were difficult for her, when she was part of the crazy soap opera that was Charles and Diana’s marriage. But I still don’t have any sympathy for Camilla at all because… sh-t, she made the choice the bang Charles for years and she was part of the campaign to gaslight Diana. So, yeah, this interview probably didn’t help.
Photos courtesy of WENN.