Her ascension may have been 75 years in the making but Queen Camilla was always destined for a life of Royalty.
From the day they were pictured standing deep in conversation – either side of a tree poignantly etched with the initials of lovers – Charles and Camilla were fated to be together
But the King and Queen had very different upbringings.
Charles was raised in the stuffy confines of palaces before being sent to Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland – a place he hated so much he called ‘Colditz in kilts.’
In comparison, Camilla said her childhood was “perfect in every way.”
There’s no doubt that the idyllic years growing up gave Camilla her easy, down-to-earth manner which the King is said to admire so much.
£3 million family estate
Queen Camilla grew up on a £3 million family estate in Sussex called The Laines in Plumpton, famous for its race course and rural college.
The estate boasted an orangery tennis court and 5,27 acres of land. It was decorated with the old heavy wood furniture and antiquities which were the flavour of the day in the 40s and 50s.
Over 50 miles away from London, young Camilla enjoyed the simple pleasures of her generation’s youth such as garden games, reading and drawing.
Late father inspired love of reading
The Queen has previously spoken about how her father Major Bruce Shand – a decorated WW2 hero – inspired her love of reading with bedtime stories.
Camilla described her dad, who died in 2006 aged 89, as a ‘brilliant storyteller’ who ‘read to us each night and transported us into different worlds.’
Major Shand was awarded two Military Crosses during the Second World War.
He joined the army as a cavalry officer with the 12th Lancers in 1937.
While decorated with his first military medal from a campaign in France, Camilla’s dad met Churchill while serving in North Africa.
The Prime Minister spotted his medal and told him: “You are a very young man (to have won medals). How splendid. But you look so thin.”
On returning home, Major Shand and wife Rosalind, who worked for an adoption agency before she wed, were soon parents.
Camilla was born two years after the conflict in 1947 at King’s College Hospital in London.
She went to a normal primary school close to her family home.
Her sister Annabel was born two years later and brother Mark followed in 1951.
He sadly died after sustaining a head injury in a fall in 2014, leaving the future Queen devastated.
Annabel described how her mum Rosalind, a member of the Cubitt construction family, was a very warm person.
She told Vanity Fair magazine: “We had this enchanted childhood.
“Unlike a lot of our generation, we had this incredibly warm, easy relationship with our parents.
“We didn’t have nannies. All our friends growing up would immediately be drawn to my mother. She was completely straightforward and one of the warmest, kindest people.”
The children were sent to an ordinary primary school, the Dumbrells in the village of Ditchling, three miles from the family house.
Camilla was sent to the Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington, a fashionable girls school before attending finishing schools in Switzerland and France
She shared a london flat with friends where she enjoyed the life of a young debutante.
In 1970, Camilla met Prince Charles at a polo match.
It was there she is reputed to have told him: “You know my great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather’s mistress, so how about it.?”
The rest, as they say, is history