I'm a royal expert – how Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has transformed her image from pariah to popular royal | The Sun

SHE was once the most hated woman in Britain and branded the “Rotweiller” by Princess Diana. 

But in a remarkable turnaround, tonight a new TV show celebrates how Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall has transformed her image. 




Interviews with famous friends like Jeremy Clarkson, Dame Judi Dench and Paul O’Grady highlight her sense of fun – “risqué as well as naughty – and that’s what gives her her charm” says one friend. 

While the documentary, which shows her guest-editing Country Life magazine and being photographed by daughter-in-law Kate, highlights her hard work and charitable commitments it also shows the ‘real’ Camilla as she reminisces about her childhood and dresses her pet dogs up in pearls. 

For her 75th birthday to be celebrated on prime-time ITV shows just how far the former Mrs Parker Bowles has come. 

When her relationship with Charles, still married to Diana, was outed by tapes in 1992 and then the Prince of Wales admitted to adultery in 1993, she was forced to hide in her house in Wiltshire for a year. 

Women would spit at her in supermarkets, her every move was trailed and although it was an actress posing for a stunt that was pelted with bread rolls in Waitrose, everyone still thinks it was Camilla. 

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So how did she survive? 

In person Camilla is warm, down-to-earth, extremely funny and loyal. 

First of all she charmed Charles’s staff and made herself indispensable to helping them manage and support the workaholic prince.  

She slowly changed her image – out went the horsey, unflattering tweed suits and instead she turned to upmarket designers like Fiona Clare and Anna Valentine to dial up the glamour. 

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She packed in the cigarettes, started taking more care of her skin and now regularly sees beauty therapist Deborah Mitchell, swearing by her bee sting facials. 

Charles and Camilla also regularly visit a swish wellness centre in Bangalore, India, for yoga, ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments. 

Meanwhile the Palace tackled her PR image head on. 

The press were briefed that while “the prince is anxious to improve his public image, the question of Mrs Parker-Bowles is non-negotiable” and she was frequently described as the “woman who waited”. 

She slowly changed her image – out went the horsey, unflattering tweed suits and instead she turned to upmarket designers like Fiona Clare and Anna Valentine to dial up the glamour. 

A campaign was established to present her as a charity campaigner of substance – her mother suffered terribly from osteoporosis and she spoke movingly of the debilitating disease. 

And then in September 1997, Diana died in an horrific car crash in Paris. 

Charles’s “number one aim in life” is to make her laugh. He is always trying to find funny jokes to make her chortle, to catch her eye on a public engagement and make her giggle.  

For a year Camilla was once again Public Enemy Number One. What now of Operation PB (Parker Bowles) which was to rehabilitate her in the public consciousness? 

Once again Camilla waited, consoled and calmed Charles. 

For it is that relationship, that love and constancy that has sustained her – they share a sense of humour, laugh at each other’s jokes and like nothing better than to holiday at Birkhall (Charles’s Scottish estate) together.  

A friend says: “He’s settled and happy, and they have an incredibly warm relationship. It’s instinctive and none of it is for show. She’s very protective of him. She sees the whole business of royalty as a team effort. She takes it very, very seriously but is not always serious.”  

Charles’s “number one aim in life” is to make her laugh. He is always trying to find funny jokes to make her chortle, to catch her eye on a public engagement and make her giggle.  

They find the same things funny – famously BBC radio’s ‘The Goon Show’ from where they got their nicknames ‘Fred’ and ‘Gladys’ that they have used for decades in their private correspondence.  

They have also revelled in becoming grandparents.  

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Camilla is very close to her children Tom and Laura, and sees as much of her five grandchildren as she can – going to southern Europe every year for a ‘bucket and spade’ holiday with them.  

She kept her house Ray Mill in Wiltshire, as an “escape” and will often be driven back there after a formal dinner at Charles’s Cotswolds house Highgrove, so she can kick off her shoes, put on a dressing gown, pour a glass of wine and watch TV (Strictly Come Dancing is a favourite) while Charles works into the small hours.  

Always welcoming of other royal women, she extended the hand of friendship to both Kate and Meghan – and enjoys a good relationship with both. 

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Her campaigning on previously unfashionable issues such as domestic violence, rape, literacy and poverty have stood her in good stead. 

And her popularity ratings have risen steadily through the years. 

Now the Queen has said she will be known, when the time comes, as Queen Camilla. 

But Camilla will keep calm and carry on in the most normal and down-to-earth way. 







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