Camilla praises Kate and talks 'dark side' of country living in new documentary

The ITV documentary marks Camilla's 75th birthday, as Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

The Duchess of Cornwall has heaped praise on her step-daughter-in-law Kate in a new documentary on life in the countryside. Camilla spoke about Kate as the pair worked together on the front cover of Country Life magazine which she is guest-editing ahead of her 75th birthday. The programme shows Camilla's love for the countryside but she also says few people realise how difficult life can be for rural communities.

The future Queen Consort highlighted the issue of domestic violence which she called the "darker side" of life in the country and wanted to highlight "how difficult farming is" for those who make a living off the land. ITV cameras were granted access to film the duchess taking on the role as magazine guest-editor and carrying out her duties as a senior member of the Royal Family in the weeks before the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Camilla described herself in the programme as a "country woman". She said: "I have spent my life in the countryside so it's embedded in me".

A photograph of the Duchess of Cornwall taken by the Duchess of Cambridge appears on the front cover of July's Country Life.

The Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a Royal Photographic Society workshop. Credit: PA

Bosses at the magazine revealed that Kate was Camilla's first choice when they discussed who would take the picture. "She immediately said 'Catherine' and none of us could think who she meant", said Mark Hedges, Country Life editor.

"And then some light bulbs started going on", he added as his team realised Camilla was referring to her step-son's wife.

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Camilla said Kate "did really good pictures and you know she does it very naturally … we had a lot of fun doing it."

The Duchess of Cambridge came with her own camera and kept it very casual, Camilla added.

"There wasn’t much hair and makeup," Camilla said, laughing.

Camilla talks to Country Life's staff about her photoshoot with Kate

But she also brought serious subjects to the magazine, which has been documenting rural life for the last 125 years.

Among them, the victims of domestic violence who Camilla spends a lot of time supporting.

"However beautiful the countryside is - it's not all buttercups and daisies", the duchess said.

"There are darker sides, so I wanted to put a little bit of emphasis on rising crime, on domestic abuse - all the things that are going on without people probably realising it".

The Duchess of Cornwall, who will be known as the Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King, revealed that she still feels "nervous before big events".

Asked how she copes with that, Camilla said: "I take a deep breath and get on with it."

Camilla and her sister, Anne, reminisce about an argument they had in their younger days

As for her future role, the duchess would only say that there is "always something exciting round the next corner". The programme includes contributions from Camilla's friends, the comedian Paul O'Grady with whom she shares a love of dogs, and presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Clarkson revealed he and Camilla had been for a "crafty fag round the back of things" although the programme then states that she hasn't smoked for decades. Camilla's younger sister, Annabel Elliot, says she speaks to her sister most days but revealed she still hasn't forgiven Camilla for burying her teddy bear in the garden after a fight the two siblings once had. Prince Charles has guest edited Country Life twice before and when he did the job, it was the biggest-selling edition in the magazine's history. Camilla is secretly hoping her edition will outsell her husband's.