While we all know Camilla Parker Bowles as Prince Charles’ wife, a.k.a., Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, the 70-year-old was once just a young girl who grew up in the English countryside.
Years before her controversial affair with Charles, now 68, began in the early ‘70s and eventually caught the attention of the media, Camilla enjoyed a quiet (albeit very posh) life outside of the spotlight. In case you’re unfamiliar with Camilla’s upbringing, Closer Weekly rounded up several facts about her pre-Charles days.
Charles and Camilla in 1979 (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
She grew up in what is basically a mini Kensington Palace.
Though she was born in London, Camilla was raised on a 5.7-acre estate in Plumpton, South Essex. Several years ago, the palatial home (which is basically a castle, complete with a pool, a tennis court, and seven bedrooms) was sold for $3.87 million.
(Photo Credit: Strutt & Parker)
Her great-grandmother also had an affair with a royal.
Camilla — whose premarital dalliances with Charles were confirmed by his first wife, the late Princess Diana, during an infamous BBC interview with journalist Martin Bashir in 1995 — had a great-grandmother who also had a scandalous romance with a royal.
According to the BBC, Alice Keppel served as King Edward VII’s semi-official escort from 1898 to 1910 — even though she had a husband and he was married to Queen Alexandra. “My job is to curtsy first,” she once explained of her role as royal mistress, per The New York Post, “and then jump into bed.”
Diana and Camilla in 1980. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
She had a cute childhood nickname — and a very bold personality.
According to The New York Post, Camilla’s elementary school classmates called her “Milla.” Author Christopher Anderson — who wrote the 2016 royals tell-all, Game of Crowns — told the newspaper that a young Camilla would often tell her fellow students to bow down to her because her “great-grandmother was the lover of the king,” and allegedly boasted that she and her family were “practically royalty.”
She always got along best with boys.
Carolyn Benson, one of Camilla’s high school classmates, previously revealed that the future royal — who enjoyed horseback riding and hunting — had a knack for talking to boys. “She could talk to boys about things that interested them. She was never a girls’ girl. She was always a boy’s girl,” Carolyn explained to The New York Post last year, adding that Camilla had a “sexy confidence over men” and was “quite a flirt.”
Her first marriage lasted 21 years.
Though she first fell in love with Charles after meeting him in 1971, Camilla married Blues and Royals lieutenant Andrew Parker Bowles in July 1973 — nearly a decade before Charles and Diana tied the knot in 1981. One year before Diana finalized her divorce from Charles, Camilla called it quits on her marriage to Andrew, now 77, in 1995. She and Charles eventually became husband and wife in a small, civil ceremony in April 2005.
Charles and Camilla on their wedding day in April 2005. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Back in May, Camilla opened up to The Mail on Sunday‘s You magazine about her marriage to Charles — and revealed how the public scrutiny she endured because of their affair affected her. “It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn’t want to put my worst enemy through it,” the mom-of-two — who shares kids Tom, 42, and Laura, 39, with ex-hubby Andrew — said. “I couldn’t have survived it without my family.”