Camilla, 70 today, now a popular member of royal family

Morning View
Morning View

The Duchess of Cornwall, who reaches her three score years and ten today, has gradually become one of the most well known people in Britain.

The way in which Camilla emerged into public view in the 1990s, as the lover of the married Prince Charles, made her a controversial figure at first.

She seemed to be acutely aware of this, and kept a low profile before and after her arrival into the royal family in 2005, when she married the heir to the throne.

This modesty, accompanied by her friendly and enthusiastic approach to royal engagements, has earned the duchess a place in the affections of the general public.

As the TV presenter Paul O’Grady says, she deserves praise for embracing her position as someone who became a member of the royal family late in life.

O’Grady, who has become a friend of Camilla, talks about “all her charity work”. Like all of the oldest royals, the Duchess of Cornwall is displaying a sense of duty and commitment well into what would traditionally be considered retirement age.

Camilla has charmed Ulster people on her numerous visits to the Province, often carrying out engagements separate from the Prince of Wales.

Her love of the countryside, good humour and her modest and unstuffy style will always go down well with people here, and her visits will always be welcomed.

A birthday party for the duchess was held at Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate on Saturday.

The tragic story of Charles and Diana reached its horrendous nadir in the death of a beautiful young princess in a Paris underpass in 1997. Almost 20 years later, it is touching to read of the good relationship that Princes William and Harry are said to have with their step mother.

The nation will be wishing Camilla many happy returns on this, her big day.