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How Queen Camilla got past bad publicity - exclusive

Camilla Parker Bowles married Charles in 2005

Close-up of Queen Camilla
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The King and Queen have been married for over 18 years, but they had a rocky start to their relationship.

Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and, when news of their affair first came to light, she faced vitriolic criticism.

But in more recent years, the public mood towards Charles's wife has softened.

Camilla has never publicly responded to any criticism, but behind closed doors, how did she cope with bad press?

On the latest episode of HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast, our hosts take a deep dive into what it's really like to join the royal family, including the tribulations faced by those marrying into the Firm.

Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, says of Queen Camilla: "I think she's overcome [bad press] by having really good girl friends. She's kept them from her youth and they're still around her now.

"She's got a huge sense of humour and I think that's really what's kept her going. The girlfriends and the sense of humour, if you think about it, are probably what keeps us all going. Life is so difficult that you've got to be able to laugh. And who can you laugh with? Your girlfriends!"

Charles and Camilla leaving the Ritz in January 1999© Getty
Charles and Camilla pictured together for the first time publicly in January 1999 as they leave The Ritz

On 9 September, the day after Queen Elizabeth II's death, the new King Charles expressed his gratitude to Camilla as he addressed the nation, calling her his "darling wife".

"[Camilla] says she had this amazing support basis," Ingrid reveals. "She used to shut herself away and she'd go into a studio… she'd go and paint and smoke. I remember in that day, Prince Charles, as he was, was very attentive to her. His chef would send food round and he made sure that she had someone to drive her if she needed to go somewhere.

"Not in the beginning… it takes a while for these pennies to drop with the royal family because they're not used to not having it, so they don't understand what it's like when someone doesn't have it."

Listen to the full episode here…

Camilla has transformed her public image and immediately threw herself into her duties when she married Charles in 2005.

Her charity work is focused on health and well-being, promoting literacy, the arts, animal welfare and supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault, and domestic abuse.

Camilla and Charles on their wedding day© Getty
Camilla and Charles wed in 2005

In February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II expressed her wish for her daughter-in-law to become Queen Consort when Charles acceded to the throne.

"And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," the late Queen said.

Since the coronation on 6 May, Camilla has been recognised as Her Majesty The Queen.