Ahead of The Queen’s funeral tomorrow, the Queen Consort, Camilla has shared a personal memory of the monarch who saw the funny side of a shoe mishap on Camilla’s wedding day.
Speaking in a televised tribute to the late Queen, Camilla also described the Queen’s “wonderful blue eyes” but also shared how her gaze could be a little withering if you “dare question” her equestrian knowledge.
The Queen Consort, who had known the monarch for several decades, said the Queen had a clear demarcation between her public duties and private life and admitted that her summer breaks at Balmoral in Scotland were a moment for “her enjoyment”.
Her heartfelt tribute to her mother-in-law was aired on Sunday – the eve of the Queen’s state funeral – on the BBC, shortly before the national minute’s silence at 8pm.
Speaking about her wedding day on April 9 2005, Camilla said: “I remember coming from here, Clarence House, (to) go to Windsor the day I got married when I probably wasn’t firing on all cylinders, quite nervous and, for some unknown reason, I put on a pair of shoes and one had an inch heel and one had a two-inch heel.
“So, I mean talk about hop-a-long and there’s nothing I could do. I was halfway down in the car before I realised and you know, she – she could see and laughed about it and said, ‘look I’m terribly sorry’ and she did, you know, she had a good sense of humour.”
The late monarch was never happier than when visiting her thoroughbreds at the royal stud or watching them race and Camilla commented on her “passion for racing”.
Camilla also added: “She was able to escape to Sandringham. She had the stud next door. She could go every day, see her foals, work out you know, the next meetings for the year. I think she always kept that as you know, her, her private bit.
“You wouldn’t dare question her or argue with her on how horse are bred or how it ran because you’d get a very steely blue-eyed look back again.”
The Queen sadly passed away at Balmoral, her private Scottish estate, on 8 September.
The residence held an especially poignant significance for the Queen as it was where she would relax and enjoy the Highland landscape and the company of the local residents who saw her as more than just a monarch, but as a neighbour and also a friend.
Camilla said: “She made a rule that she had her private time and her private passions and then her public role and I think that is very important that, you know, the diary is planned out so you know when you’re on duty and when you’ve got to do things."
“Then when she went up to Scotland in August, you know that was the moment where it was her enjoyment."
“Although she was probably working, you know with her red boxes throughout, she could have her family to stay, she could do the things she loved.”
Camilla, in pre-recorded words, also spoke about how Queen Elizabeth II carved out her own role for many years in the “difficult position” of being a “solitary woman” in a male-dominated world.
The Queen delivered a masterstroke on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022 when she endorsed the then-Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen Consort when the time came.
The Queen said it was her “sincere wish” and called on the public to back both her daughter-in-law and Charles when he became King.
It was a shrewd move from the monarch, in her twilight years, setting her affairs in order and ensuring as smooth a transition as possible.
The decision ended years of debate over what Camilla – Charles’s former mistress – would eventually be called.
Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of the prince’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and, when news of their affair first came to light, she faced vitriolic criticism.
But in the decades after the Wales’ divorce, the untimely death of Diana in 1997 and Camilla’s acceptance into The Firm, the public mood towards the former Mrs Parker Bowles has softened.
Following her wedding to Charles in 2005, Camilla very gradually took on a more prominent position within the royal family, including riding next to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee carriage procession in 2012.
She also began to attend the State Opening of Parliament and was made a Privy Counsellor in 2016 ahead of the Queen’s official 90th birthday.
In her tribute to the Queen, Camilla described some of the moments they spent together during official visits.
She said: “I’ve taken her to some of my charities and to the Ebony Horse Club and to the Medical Detection Dogs and she loved both of them you know, it was real sort of genuine enjoyment and she asked lots of questions and it was very nice to take her to things which I knew she would enjoy.
“She’s got those wonderful blue eyes that when she smiles, you know, they light up her whole face. I’ll always remember that smile, you know, that smile is unforgettable.”
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