Camilla admits she had to find a way to live with the negative media in the 1990s

The Duchess of Cornwall said media attention was "not easy" and she had to find a way to live with it. Credit: PA

The Duchess of Cornwall says she just had to find a way to live with the negative press coverage she suffered from for much of her adult life.

Camilla made the rare remarks about her past and the scrutiny she received as she spoke to the magazine, British Vogue, ahead of her 75th birthday next month.

She said the media attention is “not easy” and added: “I was scrutinised for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it.

"Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticised. But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it.”

Camilla enjoys much more positive media coverage these days and she is known to get on with the photographers and journalists who attend her engagements, both solo and with Prince Charles.

“You’ve got to get on with life,” Duchess of Cornwall told British Vogue when asked about her relationship with the media. Credit: PA

But she has come a long way since the 1990s when she was blamed, many say unfairly, for the breakdown of the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Camilla Parker Bowles, as she was then known, was famously referred to by Princess Diana when she spoke about there being “three of us in this marriage” in her 1996 Panorama interview.

The BBC, the programme makers and the presenter, Martin Bashir, have since been heavily criticised for the way in which they secured that interview with Diana.

Before the Panorama interview, Prince Charles had admitted in an ITV interview that his marriage to Diana had become “irretrievably broken down”.

The Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House on the cover of the July issue of British Vogue. Credit: Jamie Hawksworth/British Vogue

Reflecting on those years and the hate to which she was subsequently subjected, the Duchess said to British Vogue: “You’ve got to get on with life.” 

Camilla also spoke of the work she now does on domestic violence, one of her key causes.

“I think we all know somebody who it’s happened to. I was hearing it too often, from friends who knew friends, and I thought maybe I ought to look into it to see if there was somewhere for me to help.

The Duchess works to bring the issue into the public domain so women do not suffer in silence and she was particularly alarmed by the women who suffered during the coronavirus lockdown as it locked them into their homes with their abusers.

She always supports charities helping survivors of abuse in whatever country she visits on royal tours.

Camilla said: “There’s been such a taboo. People can still love the people that abuse them, and feel such guilt and such shame that they think it’s their fault, so they bury it. It becomes a sort of terrible hidden secret.”

On Accession Day in February, when the Queen marked 70 years as Monarch, she announced that she would like her daughter-in-law, Camilla, to be known as Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King.

The consort role was one the Duke of Edinburgh had alongside the Queen during her long reign and one the Queen’s own mother had, as queen consort to King George VI.

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Camilla says she will keep supporting victims of domestic violence when she becomes Queen Consort: “Oh, I shall carry on as much as I can. You can’t desert things that you’re in the middle of. There’s a lot of things to be done still.” 

The Duchess of Cornwall also spoke about the Instagram book club she set up during the pandemic.

Camilla is an avid reader and campaigns to promote literacy among all age groups.

“I hardly knew what Instagram was. I didn’t even know where to find it or how to get on it. We battled a lot to get it going.

"To my complete amazement, it took off. What’s so wonderful is it took off all round the world, and now I get letters from Papua New Guinea to the tip of Chile. It’s a real community.”

The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room account now has 138,000 followers.

Camilla said she and Charles are sometimes like “ships passing in the night” but they always find the time to catch up each day over a cup of tea.

“You know when we go away, the nicest thing is that we actually sit and read our books in different corners of the same room. It’s very relaxing because you know you don’t have to make conversation.”

Of her five grandchildren, she said she enjoys spoiling them but also admitted it’s “rather frightening” when you see them with “pierced ears and a lot of new make-up and funny coloured hair”.

On turning 75, Camilla said she would be “happy to turn back the clock” and thinks of the big number birthdays as “God, that’s so old”.