Scandals have always followed the British Royal Family, but one of the greatest of all, which shook the monarchy to the core at the time, was the affair between then Prince Charles and his now-current wife Camilla.
At the time the country and the entire world learned of their affair they were both married to other people.
The wide public condemned their affair, as they believed it was Camilla who was to be blamed for the failed marriage between the heir to the throne and Lady Di, the princess who captured millions of hearts, not only of Britons but people from all over the world.
Speaking of the troubles in her marriage and the reasons for its failure, Diana told Martin Bashir during a televised interview, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
The love between Charles and Camilla, which started before he even met Diana, is a genuine one, and that is apparent.
The two were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the Chilean ambassador. They started dating, but the relationship didn’t last long as Charles left to serve in the Royal Navy. When his duties there came to an end and he returned home, Camilla was already engaged to her now-ex husband Andrew Parker Bowles.
However, they never stopped being close. Even when Charles married Diana, he and Camilla stayed in touch.
Royal author Penny Junior claimed that Charles was aware he wasn’t in love with his future wife Diana, but it was already too late for him to call off the wedding.
“Charles was not convinced he was doing the right thing in marrying Diana but there was no way out and, bolstered by the hope that things would be different once they were married, he put a brave face on it,” she wrote, as reported by the Mirror.
What’s most, Camilla and Diana knew each other and got along, but then things changed.
“I met [Camilla] very early on. I was introduced to the circle, but I was a threat, I was a very young girl, but I was a threat,” Diana explained in the book Diana: In Her Own Words.
Fast forward to this very day, Charles is the King of Britain and Camilla is Queen.
Over the years, the people of Britain learned to love Camilla and her reputation has been growing. The two are now the head of the country and are still happily married but there was a time when Camilla was afraid to leave her home because she was afraid of the backlash of the public following the revelation of her affair.
Speaking to OK Magazine, royal expert Angela Levin, author of the 2022 book Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: A Royal Survivor, revealed that Camilla had to endure “torrents” of mistreatment from the public as the affair was revealed. She didn’t even go to stores but had her friends running her errands for her.
“It was very difficult for her, as she was portrayed as the most wicked woman in the world. She was constantly called nasty names like ‘rottweiler,’ and it must have come as a huge shock that people were so vile about her,” Levin said.
In order to protect her, it was revealed that Charles paid for Camilla’s security for years, or until 2005 when the two tied the knot. “I don’t think Charles realised how awful it was for her. He was often away on engagements and working hard for the country and Commonwealth, and at the time, Camilla didn’t have protection officers because she wasn’t part of the Royal Family. But when Charles finally realised, he did get protection for her, which he paid for himself,” Levine revealed.
While Queen Camilla’s way to the royal family has been filled with adversity, she always had her husband’s support.
Another person who always stood by Camilla’s side was Annabel Elliot.
Annabel and Camilla are more than sisters; they are greatest of friends. Annabel has run her show Annabel Elliot Interior Design and Antiques in Dorset for more than 30 years, becoming the fifth most influential female interior designer in the UK in 2014.
It was on Annabel’s 50th birthday party that Charles and Camilla first posed together in public and stole she show. Later, amid the divorce of Charles and Diana, it was Annabel who drove the car that whisked Camilla away from public view and the notorious paparazzi press.
Over time, Annabel became close part of the royal family, especially with Charles, with whom she had been reported to have clashed from time to time, especially when she felt like he was trying to do most of what she was paid for himself.
“He always likes to be completely involved and know what’s being suggested,” Annabel said in the 2012 ITV documentary The Royal Restoration.
“He’s looking at every piece of material — ‘What’s this for?, Is that for a chair? Where’s that sourced from? Has it got nylon in it?’ He doesn’t like duvets.”
Recently, as the new BBC1 documentary, Charles III: The Coronation Year, was released, Annabel opened up about her family, Charles, and Camilla, describing her sister as King Charles’ “rock” during many tough and challenging years.
“She is his rock, and I can’t actually emphasize that enough. She is somebody who is completely loyal, and she isn’t somebody who has huge highs and lows,” Annabel said in the documentary.
The queen’s sister added: “He brings to her everything. I’m not talking about all of this, but you know he has such a knowledge and interest in so many different things which she wouldn’t really have been open to if she hadn’t met him. They are their yin and yang really, they really are polar opposites, but it works brilliantly.”
Annabel was employed to carry out work on the then-Prince of Wales’s new home in Wales, Llwywormwood, which he bought in 2006 for more than £1 million.
The Telegraph reported at the time that Charles’ sister-in-law was paid over $380,000 for her work between 2005 and 2008, which some politicians thought was a matter of cronyism, but that’s not how Charles viewed it.
“There was no tender. The Prince knows her and likes her work. Annabel Elliot is an established interior designer,” a Clarence House spokesperson said at the time.
This wasn’t the only time Annabel worked for the royals. She also designed 12 Duchy of Cornwall cottages and ran a 2012 project to convert a “run-down barn building” into an elegant guesthouse on the grounds of Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland, becoming Charles’ chief interior designer.
Even today, Camilla and Annabel are extremely close.
Annabel has been married to her husband Simon Elliot since 1972 and they share three children together, including Ben Elliot, a businessman and fund-raiser for the Conservative Party who served as Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party from July 2019 to September 2022.
Of course, Annabel and her family were in attendance at the coronation of King Charles last year.
“When I thought back to being two years old and watching the Queen’s Coronation on a tiny black and white television and there goes this golden coach with my sister in it. I can’t explain the feeling because it’s so surreal. This cannot be happening. It was quite a moment,” Annabel said.
“Going into the Abbey, I think I had that nervousness all the time, she’s quite a bit smaller than I am. I’m feeling: ‘Is she going to be all right?”
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