Prince Charles and Camilla: their happiest moments 10 years on from engagement

Ten years ago on Tuesday, Prince Charles' longterm companion, the former Camilla Parker Bowles, appeared before the public wearing his grandmother's ring as the couple announced their engagement. Now the Duchess of Cornwall, she is one of the monarchy's best assets, elegant, warm and a fitting royal consort to the man she has loved for much of her life.


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Prince Charles and Camilla at the civil ceremony during their wedding celebrations on 9 April, 2005

Like his parents the Queen and Prince Philip, and Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the duo have become a royal A-Team. At public engagements she is always by her husband's side, smiling warmly, using her natural ability to put people at ease but never overshadowing the future King.

Her presence has allowed his qualities to shine through. The British people have come to appreciate his genuine concern for young people, the environment and other causes and that he can be really good fun.

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Their romance began in the early Seventies

His gratitude is clear. The Prince never fails to refer to her in public as "my darling wife" and is said to shower her with jewellery. A few weeks ago, Camilla dazzled in a diamond necklace shaped like a serpent with a matching bracelet, a set that was reportedly a wedding present.

Meanwhile, Ray Mill, the family home that she purchased after her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles, is still somewhere the Duchess retreats when she wants to peace and quiet away from the trappings of royal life. Here Camilla can cook and bake for her five noisy grandchildren just as she did in her former life as a country housewife.

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With Camilla by his side, Charles feels free to get stuck in on public engagements

The Prince understands her need for a sanctuary and is happy to pay for the additional security and upkeep needed, despite the fact that his own home Highgrove is only 20 miles away.

When they married, Prince Harry said: "We are very grateful for her. She's made our father very happy." It's a sentiment many well-wishers will echo.

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