The Duchess of Cornwall has spoken of the “exciting new perspectives” to come as her role grows in importance – but admitted to being nervous on big occasions.
Camilla’s candid comments are revealed in an ITV documentary describing her Country Life guest writing, and she says there were ‘lots of laughs’ and not much ‘makeup’ when the Duchess of Cambridge told her photographed for the cover of the magazine.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year has seen the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla lead the nation in a number of high-profile events following the monarch’s mobility issues.
Asked if she finds the new responsibilities “onerous” or “exciting”, the Duchess replied to the documentary: “No, there are always exciting new perspectives, there is always something exciting at the next corner, you never know what’s going to happen next.”
The program features footage of Camilla and Charles as they prepared to leave for the official opening of Parliament in May, the historic occasion when the Prince replaced the Queen at the event for the first time.
Frankly, the Duchess admits to feeling anxious at times in her role, telling the programme: “I think everyone gets nervous before big events, it’s in nature, isn’t it?”
But she added, “I take a deep breath and keep going.”
Camilla, who celebrates her 75th birthday next Sunday, was endorsed by the Queen earlier this year when she expressed her “sincere wish” that her daughter-in-law would be known as Queen Consort when the Prince becomes King.
The Duchess has praised Kate’s photography skills after accepting a commission to take the Country Life cover photo and another portrait of Camilla for the magazine’s front page which asked the royal to edit the post to mark its 125th anniversary and milestone anniversary.
Camilla: “She took some really good pictures and you know she does it very naturally…we had a lot of fun doing it.
“It was very relaxed and of course very kind of the Duchess of Cambridge… she’s a very good photographer and it was all very laid back, there wasn’t a lot of hair and makeup – it was just done in the garden with lots of laughs, no it was a nice way to do it.
The 75-minute documentary paints a varied portrait of the Duchess who is filmed at official events meeting celebrity friends like comedian Paul O’Grady, informally with her sister Annabel Elliot when they visit the former home of their grandmother, and even walking her dogs at Charles’ home in Gloucestershire in Highgrove.
Her two Jack Russell Terriers, Beth and Bluebell, both Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rescue animals, also feature in the magazine.
They appear on the famous Country Life frontispiece wearing the Duchess’s pearl necklaces in a humorous tribute to the debutantes who once featured in Country Life and are affectionately known as ‘The Girls in Pearls’.
Charles is chosen by his wife as her main campaign champion and she has written an article about him, while former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has also been recognized by the Duchess and features in the program and magazine.
The broadcaster, friend of Camilla and her son, food writer Tom Parker Bowles, became an unlikely farming industry activist after starring in the Amazon series Clarkson’s Farm, which follows her attempts to grow crops and look after cattle on land he owns in the Cotswolds.
The Duchess says of Clarkson: “He made people realize how difficult farming is – I think some people see farming as cows sitting in the meadow on a nice day and they don’t realize not the work and the difficulties behind it.”
Camilla’s public image was transformed from the role of third person in the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales to that of a campaigning member of the monarchy ready to serve the nation.
Below, she was the down-to-earth Sussex girl who grew up with a love of horses and fell in love with the Charles.
Her friend Sarah Troughton, a first cousin once removed from the Queen, describes Camilla as having a “wicked sense of humour” who tells “very risque” jokes.
She tells the documentary: “I think there’s been a wind of change in the popularity of the Duchess, but I think it’s because she’s been all natural, all straight with everyone, looking at you straight in the eye, does her royal duties with real panache and style and the public is very happy to meet her.
The Duchess reveals in the documentary that she enjoys swimming in the sea and doesn’t mind the cold after the initial shock of the system and has a passion for gardening.
The program ends with a final editorial meeting at Clarence House when Camilla glances through the pages of the magazine and Charles – who has twice edited Country Life – makes an appearance for a teaser.
Articles commissioned by Camilla range from an article about her favorite roast chicken dinner, recreated by John Williams, Executive Chef of The Ritz, to Paul O’Grady talking about his work with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and an article highlighting the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, which provides home security services to the elderly, disabled and victims of domestic violence.
The Duchess, who has defended victims of abusive relationships, said: ‘What I’m trying to portray is as beautiful as the countryside is, it’s not all buttercups and daisies, there are darker sides.
“So I wanted to put a bit of a focus on the rising crime, on the domestic violence, all the stuff that’s going on without people probably noticing – so I hope to have a good balance.”
Camilla’s Country Life will screen on Wednesday July 13 at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub.