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An emotional-looking Camilla, elevated to Queen Consort following the death of the Queen at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon, was pictured looking deep in thought as she left the Scottish royal residence this morning.
Following yesterday’s historic announcement that the Queen had died, King Charles III ascended to the throne with immediate effect, with the former Duchess of Cornwall taking a role that the late Queen gave her official backing to during a historic Platinum Jubilee statement earlier this year.
Around 11am, seated in the front passenger seat of an Audi, the Queen Consort, 75, looked pensive as she departed Balmoral following the death of the Queen yesterday afternoon – clearly aware of the responsibility her new role carries.
It’s thought Camilla, wearing a black suit and a simple string of pearls with matching earrings, will look to the role the late Duke of Edinburgh played in public life, offering constant support to Her Majesty while never taking the limelight from her.
King Charles, former Prince of Wales, was seated in the back seat of the royal car, as part of a motorcade leaving Balmoral.
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New dawn: An emotional-looking Camilla, now Queen’s Consort, following the Queen’s death at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon, pictured leaving the Scottish royal residence this morning
Seated in the front passenger seat of an Audi, the Queen Consort, 75, looked deep in thought as she departed Balmoral following the death of the Queen yesterday afternoon
Wearing a black suit and a simple string of pearls with matching earrings, the Queen Consort is pictured in a chauffeur-driven vehicle, with King Charles seated in the back, as part of a motorcade leaving Balmoral on Friday morning
After years, decades even, of uncertainty over what Camilla’s official title would be when King Charles finally took the throne, the late Queen took matters into her own hands by making a surprise announcement in February 2022.
It is a remarkable transformation for Camilla, who was once branded the ‘third person’ in Charles’ stricken marriage to Diana, and received a lukewarm reception from the royal family when the then Prince announced his intention to make Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall.
In recent years though, Camilla has grown into life as a senior royal and ahead of the Coronation, which will take place within a matter of weeks, Buckingham Palace has confirmed, the new Queen will undoubtedly be a great support to King Charles in a time of grief and long-anticipated change.
In a few short hours, life has changed dramatically for the former Duchess of Cornwall as she is elevated to a new role
Camilla looked straight ahead as the King and Queen Consort begin their journey back to London on the first day of mourning
The senior royal, approaching her late seventies, is now Queen Consort, signaling a dramatic transformation in public and royal perceptions since she first fell in love with Charles during her twenties
The famous photo that branded the new Queen Consort a marriage wrecker; the couple in 1975 before Charles was betrothed to marry Diana, who would famously accuse Camilla of being the ‘third person’ in her marriage to then Prince in a Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995
After ‘coming out’ with their renewed love on a night out at the Ritz in London in 1999, the couple wed, with the royal family’s blessing in 2005 – and the new Queen Consort began her re-brand into senior royal who has a natural affiliation with people
The late Queen gave her approval for Camilla to be crowned alongside Charles’ in an official role before her death (pictured together at the Jubilee in 2022)
The Queen, who is pictured on one of her final public appearances leaving Windsor Castle to travel to Balmoral earlier this month, has died aged 96
The treasured Monarch declared it was her ‘sincere wish’ for her daughter-in-law to be fully acknowledged when Charles succeeded her – and the wish made in the twilight of her life has now come to fruition.
At the time, the statement also quashed speculation that the then 95-year-old Monarch might abdicate, as she reiterated her Coronation pledge.
She told her subjects ‘my life will always be devoted to your service’ – and that she would continue to honour that ‘with all my heart’.
After a tentative start to royal life, Camilla has excelled in recent years regularly standing in for the Queen when she could no longer entertain due to failing health and stamina (The couple at a gala dinner in 2000 for the Princes Foundation)
After an initially lukewarm reception to the news Prince Charles would marry Camilla, she has grown into life as a senior royal in recent years (pictured left, with the Prince of Wales in 2007, and right, together in 2010)
From royal mistress to Queen Consort: Camilla’s journey within the royal family
The Duchess of Cornwall is the former royal mistress who will now stand shoulder to shoulder as Queen Consort to King Charles.
Camilla’s public image has been transformed dramatically after she was initially cast as the ‘third’ person in the Prince and Diana, Princess of Wales’ marriage, before becoming a campaigning member of the monarchy prepared to serve the nation.
Underneath, she was the down-to-earth Sussex girl who grew up with a love of horses and happened to fall in love with a prince.
Charles and Camilla are pictured together in 1979, two years before his wedding to Princess Diana
During the nearly two decades she has been married to Charles, Camilla has grown into her role and is an assured royal host when staging events at Clarence House and has confidently represented the Queen when invited to foreign lands.
She is patron or supporter of a number of literacy charities, speaks out in support of victims of domestic violence and champions several animal welfare organisations.
But her most significant role is supporting Charles and being the comforting presence at home that has enabled him to take on the role of heir to the throne – and now the King.
How different it all was on that cold Thursday night outside The Ritz more than 20 years ago in 1999. It was Charles and Camilla’s coming out, a fleeting but scrupulously choreographed appearance before the world’s press
After Charles and Camilla both divorced – and Diana died in 1997 – the then duchess’ emergence as the prince’s long-term partner was part of a carefully planned PR campaign masterminded by the heir to the throne’s spin doctor Mark Bolland.
Their first public appearance together was outside the Ritz hotel in London in 1999, dubbed Operation Ritz, where the mass of waiting photographers had been tipped off.
The culmination of the romance was a marriage between the long-time lovers who wed in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005.
With Camilla by his side, Charles appears more relaxed and many times during royal events she has cajoled and encouraged him to try something new or have some fun.
Now the Queen’s wishes have bestowed upon Camilla the ultimate accolade in recognition of her importance to Charles and the monarchy.
When the late Queen announced the news that Camilla would become the future Queen Consort in 2022, a Clarence House spokesperson said Charles and Camilla were ‘touched and honoured’ by the gesture, which ended years of uncertainty over the Duchess of Cornwall’s role in the future of the monarchy
The late Queen wrote at the time: ‘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.’
Charles and Camilla were ‘touched and honoured’ by the Queen’s gesture, Clarence House said when the statement was made public.
It marked a public acceptance of a marriage that had its first embers of lust in youth and was officially confirmed on a night out at The Ritz in 1999, when the then Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, in middle age, enjoyed a night out together.
With a flash of cameras signaling their relationship would be front page news the next morning, Camilla looked more than a little hesitant – but over the decades that have followed, she has proved a constant support to the new King, and won over the royal family including the Queen.
Example: The new Queen Consort is likely to look to the way the late Duke of Edinburgh conducted himself in supporting the Queen during her lengthy reign (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in 2017)
The close couple have grown ever more united as they face the biggest roles of their lives (Pictured in April 2019)
The pomp and ceremony of official engagements are something that Queen Camilla has adapted to with aplomb (Pictured during an international tour of Egypt)
A blueprint for consort life: The late Duke of Edinburgh offered a masterclass in supporting the Queen without taking the limelight away from her, something the new Queen Consort will look to emulate (Prince Philip and Camilla at the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2016)
Increasingly confident, Camilla has become an assured royal host when staging events at Clarence House and confidently represented the late Queen when invited to foreign lands in recent decades.
Now, she will likely look to the way the Duke of Edinburgh provided support to Queen Elizabeth II as guidance for the new role she’s taking on as she approaches her late Seventies.
Prince Philip offered a blueprint for consort life, offering a masterclass in supporting the Queen without ever taking the spotlight from her, something the new Queen Consort will now look to emulate.
Increasingly confident, Camilla has been a supportive confidante to Prince Charles (left and right, at their home of Birkhall in 2020 and 2021)
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visiting Cornwall in July 2022 on the first day of their annual visit to the South West