How Camilla transformed herself from unpopular royal to the next Queen

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After reports that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, could become a new Counsellor of State and carry out duties on behalf of the Queen, we look at how her profile has been rising – especially after giving a landmark speech on sexual violence

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Camilla makes speech about sexual violence against women

The Duchess of Cornwall’s royal career has been far from smooth sailing – but she is now set to be the UK’s next Queen alongside her husband as King.

After joining The Firm in 2005 when she married Prince Charles at Windsor, she was still often regarded as the “third person” in his marriage to Princess Diana – dealing with shocking abuse.

Fast-forward 17 years, and Camilla’s profile is higher than ever after championing several important causes – including sexual violence against women – while also supporting her husband.

On Saturday night the Queen expressed her wish for Camilla to be the next Queen consort when Charles assumes the throne.

The 95-year-old, who has been head of state for 70 years, said: “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.”

Here we look at how she appears to have risen through the royal ranks…

Early days

Camilla became the Duchess of Cornwall in April 2005 after marrying Prince Charles in Windsor.

Years earlier she had been thrust into the spotlight after it was revealed she had been having an affair with Charles.

Princess Diana memorably said in her bombshell Panorama interview: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

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Camilla’s fate as a femme fatale was sealed. Yet, somehow, she managed to keep a dignified silence through years of abuse.

In a rare interview in 2017, Camilla told You magazine: “It was horrid, deeply unpleasant and I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through it. I couldn’t have survived it without my family.”

Championing causes

But over the years she’s worked hard and experts say there has been a recent push to change the public perception of Camilla.

She has championed several causes that her close to her heart, including literacy and the awareness of the condition osteoporosis.

In fact, when it comes to literacy, last year, Camilla launched her successful Instagram reading room, which sees her recommend books and talk to authors and readers.

She hosted a “celebration of literature” to thank those who have supported the Reading Room and delivered a rousing closing speech.

Body language expert Judi James told the Express : “Camilla seems to have stepped up to the plate here with this unusually animated and humorous speech suggesting she might have more of an integral role in providing back-up and support than imagined

“This appearance shows a more determined and even a more confident Camilla to the world, during a speech that sounds part off-the-cuff and part scripted.”

Impressive speech

Another cause that Camilla has championed and has spoken passionately about is domestic and sexual violence against women.

In the past, she has revealed she had friends who have been victims of violence and coercive control, admitting “no one knows what goes on” behind closed doors.

She told the mum of a domestic abuse victim “it’s okay, you can talk about it”, before vowing to break the stigma around the issue during a reception at Clarence House.

And she gave an impressive landmark speech where she called for men to join the movement to end sexual violence against women.

In a rallying cry for both sexes to join together in the community to combat a violent spate of horrific crimes against women, Camilla said: “Rapists are not born, they are constructed”.

The Duchess added: “We need to get the men in our lives involved in this movement.

“We do not, in any way, hold all men responsible for sexual violence. But we do need them all on board to tackle it. After all, rapists are not born, they are constructed.”

Royal duties

When it comes to other royal duties, Camilla has also stepped up in recent years.

In 2016, she was appointed to the Privy Council, which advises the monarch on matters of state.

In recent years, she’s also accompanied Prince Charles and the Queen to the State Opening of Parliament and has been at receptions for world leaders at the G7 summit in June and the COP26 summit.

Charles’s rock

Despite having a busy schedule of her own, Camilla is often seen at her husband’s side during official duties, engagements and tours.

But it’s not just in their professional lives where she is thought to be a constant support – it’s also in their personal lives.

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to quit as senior royals and start a new life together in the US, it was reportedly Camilla, who proved to be a “rock” for her husband.

An insider told the Telegraph : “It is not an exaggeration to say she has been his rock throughout this crisis. She has been the one who has kept him on track. It was really hard for him.”

Will Camilla be Queen?

It looks that way.

In a statement released this evening, the Queen said she hoped Charles and Camilla would enjoy the same support she had.

The monarch said: I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.

“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.”