Rachel Fieldhouse

Beauty & Style

Camilla opens up in tell-all interview

Camilla opens up in tell-all interview

Ahead of her 75th birthday, the Duchess of Cambridge has opened up about her family life, her future role as Queen Consort, her love for Australia and her fear of public speaking.

In a wide-ranging interview with Woman’s Weekly, accompanied by a sweet series of photos taken by her stepdaughter-in-law Kate Middleton, Camilla said it was “a great honour” to be granted the title of Queen Consort by Queen Elizabeth II earlier this year.

“Obviously it’s a great honour and I was deeply touched for Her Majesty to have given me this role,” Camilla told the publication.

The Duchess will be following in the footsteps of the late Prince Philip, who she revealed was someone she often turned to for counsel while learning the ropes of royal life.

“The Duke of Edinburgh was always a very good ear. He was a role model to me and a very good person to take advice from because he always told me what he thought, which was very helpful, especially with things about the army because I took over the Rifles [regiment] from him,” she said.

“He was always two steps behind the Queen, which for a man must be much more difficult than for a woman - and somebody as maccho as he was, who commanded ships. So I think I learned [from the Duke] that your place is several feet behind the monarch. You’re there as a back-up.”

Having grown up in rural England with her brother, sister, and their ponies, it was a role Camilla never would have imagined she would be tasked with.

“Life was very laid-back,” Camilla recalled.

“It certainly gave us all a very good grounding, because we could start off with a smile on our face. As far as I remember it was perfect."

Their mother, Rosalind Shand (née Cubitt), was a well-connected woman from a wealthy aristocratic family who taught her children the art of small talk, a skill that has been critical for Camilla’s royal life.

“My mother was absolutely brilliant at making us speak to people,” she recalled. 

"She used to have people to dinner; it didn't matter who it was, old or young, some of them we thought were incredibly boring, but she used to sit at the end of the table and say: 'Talk! I don't care whether you're talking about your pony or your homework, just talk!'”

Despite this, the Duchess admitted she finds delivering speeches - a task she has been called to do more often in recent times - is terrifying.

"I get petrified making speeches," Camilla said. 

"I hate every moment of it. People always say it'll get better and sometimes I find it's all right if I really know my subject, but sometimes [I get] that awful thing beforehand of really shaking and feeling seriously sick.

"My husband is very good; he loves it. Because he's a very good actor, I think. 

“I was the worst actor in the whole school. If I was given one line to say, it always came out backwards. So I think speeches – no, they're never going to be my favourite things."

Though she doesn’t share his passion for public speaking, Camilla does share his love of Australia that developed after the couple’s inaugural visit in 2012.

"I think he [the Prince of Wales] always wanted to take me there and show me what it was like,” Camilla said.

“He was proved right. I love Australia.”

She added that they both appreciated what she calls the “take it or leave it” spirit of Australians, as well the Australian sense of humour.

"I like that everybody's down to earth and they say what they think,” she continued. 

“I'd much rather people were out there saying what they think than beating round the bush, telling you a lot of porkies.”

Though she had hoped to return for a visit this year, Camilla said their schedules, filled with events celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, have prevented them.

“This year we were ready to go back again, but we just couldn’t fit it into the Jubilee schedules,” she explained.

“But we’ll be back soon, I hope.”

Image: @womansweeklymag (Instagram)

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