About The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall supports her husband, The Prince of Wales, in carrying out his work and duties as Heir to the Throne. She also undertakes public engagements on behalf of the charities that she supports.
Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005, The Duchess of Cornwall has become Patron or President of a number of charities and regularly attends events to support them. To find out more about Her Royal Highness's charitable work, please visit The Duchess’s official website: www.princeofwales.gov.uk/the-duchess-of-cornwall/charities
The Duchess of Cornwall is the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand and The Hon Rosalind Maud Shand (nee Cubitt).
She was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on 17 July 1947 at King’s College Hospital, London, the eldest of three children. Her Royal Highness has a sister, Annabel Elliot; her brother, Mark Shand, died in 2014.
The Duchess was first educated at Dumbrells School, a co-ed school in Sussex, and then attended Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington.
She also attended Mon Fertile School in Switzerland and studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris.
Family and married life
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall married at the Guildhall in Windsor on 9 April 2005 in a civil ceremony. Afterwards, there was a Service of Prayer and Dedication in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, over which the Archbishop of Canterbury presided. Her Majesty The Queen then hosted a reception for The Prince and The Duchess at the Castle.
Her Royal Highness was formerly married to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, and the marriage was dissolved in 1995. They had two children, Thomas Henry and Laura Rose. Her Royal Highness has five grandchildren.
Charitable work and interests
While The Duchess supports The Prince in his work and role as Heir to the Throne, she also helps a number of her own charities in her role as Patron or President. Her Royal Highness has has 90 patronages and works to support these organisations in various ways: hosting events, visiting projects, speaking publicly and writing messages of support.
Her Royal Highness’s charity work is varied but several themes prevail: promoting literacy, supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse, health, helping those in need, animals and animal welfare, Cornwall-based charities and supporting the military.
- Literacy: As an enthusiastic reader, The Duchess works to promote the benefits of reading both to children and adults. She often reads aloud to children, and has engaged with adult readers aiming to improve their reading skills. She is Patron of a number of literacy charities, including the National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, First Story, the Wicked Young Writer's Awards and Beanstalk. In 2015 Her Royal Highness hosted the live broadcast of the final of the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition at St James's Palace.
- Rape and sexual abuse: In recent years, Her Royal Highness has helped to raise awareness of the difficult subject of sexual assault. The Duchess has done so primarily through a number of low-key visits to rape crisis centres to meet staff and clients who use these vital confidential services. Her Royal Highness wrote an article on this subject for the Daily Mail in October 2015.
- Osteoporosis: The Duchess is President of the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS). Her Royal Highness has worked for many years to promote understanding and raise awareness of osteoporosis, a devastating brittle bone disease that affects one in two women and one in five men in the UK. The Duchess’s mother, Rosalind Shand, died in 1994 as a result of osteoporosis. Her Royal Highness's grandmother had died from the same condition eight years earlier.
- Cancer: The Duchess is President of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, an innovative charity with centres at hospitals throughout the UK that provide a supportive and caring environment for people living with cancer.
- Her Royal Highness is also President of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is Patron of a number of other health-related charities, including Arthritis Research UK, Medical Detection Dogs and several hospices: Royal Trinity Hospice, Helen & Douglas House, Prospect Hospice and Children's Hospice South West.
- Food and drink: The Duchess, like The Prince, is committed to supporting local food producers and encouraging children to learn more about where food comes from and to eat healthily. Her Royal Highness is Patron of the Big Lunch, an initiative run by the Eden Project which encourages communities to have lunch together on the first Sunday in June. The Duchess is also President of Jamie's Farm and the UK Vineyards Association, and has undertaken a number of engagements with British Food Fortnight's schools projects.
- Highlighting the work of credit unions: The Duchess is a committed supporter of credit unions as not-for-profit regulated community banks. The Duchess believes these organisations play an important role in their local communities and would like more people to know about them. Her Royal Highness hosted a reception at Clarence House to mark International Credit Union Day in October 2014.
- Helping those in need:
- The Duchess is Patron of Emmaus UK, a charity that provides homeless people with a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives in a supportive, community environment. The Duchess often visits an Emmaus community at Christmas.
- The Duchess of Cornwall is President of the children's charity Barnardo’s. With 415 projects across the UK, Barnardo’s is a charity that supports children who have been affected by all kinds of issues, from drug misuse to disability, youth crime to mental health, sexual abuse to domestic violence and poverty to homelessness.
- The Royal Voluntary Service (formerly known as WRVS) is a national volunteer organisation that supports older people and their families across Britain. Volunteers help older people by spending time with them or offering them practical help such as helping with shopping or walking the dog. Her Royal Highness became President of the charity in 2012.
The Duchess is a great supporter of the arts and regularly attends concerts and the theatre with The Prince of Wales. This is reflected in The Duchess’s patronage of the London Chamber Orchestra, St John’s, Smith Square, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra and the Theatre Royal Bath. Her Royal Highness has also presented the Man Booker Prize for Fiction on several occasions.
The Duchess’s personal interest in animals and animal welfare is reflected in her patronages and charitable visits. With an enduring affection for horses and ponies, Her Royal Highness often attends racing and other equestrian events. Her Royal Highness is Patron of The British Equestrian Foundation and President of The Brooke, a charity which operates worldwide providing free veterinary treatment for horses and donkeys, as well as Ebony Horse Club, a riding centre in Brixton for children from deprived backgrounds. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are Joint Presidents of Elephant Family. The charity was founded in 2002 by The Duchess's brother, Mark Shand, who dedicated his life to saving the Asian Elephants. In 2017 The Duchess of Cornwall became President of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
The Duchess owns two Jack Russell terriers, Beth and Bluebell, who were both rescue puppies from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London.
When at Birkhall, their home in Scotland, Their Royal Highnesses enjoy fishing, walking and cross-country skiing in the Scottish countryside and they both share a passion for gardening and painting. The Duchess is also a member of the Tetbury Evening Women’s Institute and the Llandovery Women’s Institute (WI) and is Patron of the charity Floral Angels.
Supporting The Queen
The Duchess of Cornwall supports The Prince of Wales in his work and role as Heir to the Throne, and also supports a number of her own charities and organisations in the role of President or Patron.
Since her marriage, Her Royal Highness has travelled widely with The Prince and on her own solo engagements, meeting people from all over the world and all walks of life.
Like other members of the Royal Family, Her Royal Highness has close links to charities and a number of patronages and works to support these organisations in whatever way she can by attending events, writing messages of support and visiting projects.
The Duchess’s patronages include the National Osteoporosis Society, the children’s charity Barnardo’s, Shelterbox and Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres. Recently, Her Royal Highness has developed a particular focus on literacy and support for victims of rape and sexual assault.
Her Royal Highness has seven military appointments and, with The Prince, supports the work of the Armed Forces in the UK and overseas whenever possible. The Duchess became Colonel-in-Chief of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada in January 2011. The regiment has links with 4th Battalion, The Rifles in the UK of which she is Royal Colonel. The Duchess has also held the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police since 2012.
In 2016 The Duchess of Cornwall inspected the Officer Cadets at the Sovereign's Parade at Royal Military Academy, which is held at the end of each term at Sandhurst and marks the passing out of Officer Cadets who have completed their Commissioning Course.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are among the United Kingdom's most important ambassadors abroad.
Every year, Their Royal Highnesses travel overseas at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to further British diplomatic interests, raise the UK’s profile in the country visited and promote British excellence. In 2015, The Prince and The Duchess officially visited the USA, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and Malta.
Their Royal Highnesses returned from a trip to the Western Balkans in March 2016, where they visited Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo during their six day visit.
Charities and Patronages
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
Cavalry regiment of the British Army.Region: UK (Wales)Members of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Colonel In Chief
4th Battalion The Rifles
Battalion of the British Army.Region: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Duchess of Cornwall, Royal Colonel
51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Unit of the Territorial Army based in northern Scotland.Region: UK (Scotland)Members of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Royal Colonel
Volunteer-led charity providing housing with support or care for older people.Region: UK-wideMembers of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron
Africa's Highest Challenge
Charity expedition to climb the highest mountains in each of the 53 countries of Africa.Region: UK-wideMembers of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron
Age CymruWebsite: www.agecymru.org.uk
Exists to provide support and advice for elderly people in Wales. Created following the merger of Age Concern and Help the AgedRegion: UK (Wales)Members of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron
Age UKWebsite: www.ageuk.org.uk
Exists to provide support and advice for elderly people. Created following the merger of Age Concern and Help the AgedRegion: UK (England)Members of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron
Amref Health AfricaWebsite: www.amref.org
International development charity seeking to improve the health of the disadvantaged in Africa.Region: InternationalMembers of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron
Terrestrial service of the British Armed Forces.Region: UK-wideMembers of the Royal Family:The Duke of Edinburgh, Field Marshal
The Duke of Kent, Field Marshal
The Prince of Wales, Field Marshal
The Duchess of Kent, Honorary Major General
Australian Football League EuropeWebsite: www.afleurope.org
promoting the game of Australian Rules Football in EuropeRegion: EuropeMembers of the Royal Family:The Prince of Wales, Patron