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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 10:23 GMT
Profile: Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla first married in 1973
Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles' fiancée, was born on 17 July 1947 in London, the daughter of Bruce and Rosalind Shand.

She grew up in rural Sussex and was educated at the Queens Gate School in South Kensington, before finishing school in Switzerland and France.

Camilla and the Prince of Wales first met at a Windsor polo match in 1970, a year before the prince joined the Royal Navy.

They became great friends but there was no marriage offer and Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles.

They have two children - Tom born in 1974, and Laura, who is five years younger.

Despite being married, Camilla remained one of Charles' most trusted friends and legend has it that she helped the prince to choose a suitable wife - Lady Diana Spencer.

It is thought he proposed to Diana in the Parker Bowles' vegetable garden and he married her in July 1981.

But the relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles led to a great deal of tension in the prince's fairytale marriage, and in 1994 Charles admitted adultery on national television.

Press criticism

Diana went on television to say there had been three people in the marriage and this led to Camilla facing public disapproval and occasional anger in the street.

Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles divorced in 1995, with the cavalry officer re-marrying Virginia Pitman just a year later.

The idea of Charles and Camilla as a couple was gradually being officially introduced to the public.

But the death of Diana in August 1997 in a car accident meant Camilla retreated from public life as press criticism was renewed.

Camilla and Charles
Their affection has become increasingly public
She slowly emerged as Prince Charles' companion and joined his sons on a Mediterranean cruise in August 1999.

In the same year she was photographed with him for the first time at the Ritz in London.

More recently, she has regularly been photographed accompanying Charles to Prince's Trust galas, and has appeared more comfortable with the media.

When Clarence House was renovated, she became the prince's live-in partner and questions were asked about the cost of her lifestyle.

But her inclusion in the prince's official accounts indicates a new level of official acceptance, paving the way for her full inclusion in the Royal Family.




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