Here's What King Charles & Queen Camilla Are Really Like When The Cameras Aren't On

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, may be in love, but their romance was hardly the stuff of fairy tales. In the 1980s, the couple carried out an extramarital affair, prompting the king's then-wife Princess Diana to publicly label Camilla a "rottweiler" (via Reuters). The British public largely sided with Princess Diana against Camilla, who quickly became the most-hated woman in Britain. As for King Charles, Olivia Waxman wrote in Time: "The revelations of infidelity ... left him ... deeply unpopular."

In an interview with Vogue, Camilla opened up about her struggle with the wrath of the British media. "It's not easy ... Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticized," she admitted. Eventually, however, Camilla learned to deal with the hardship. "I was scrutinized for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it," she explained.

Luckily, the British public eventually realized that then-Prince Charles and Camilla were not the two-dimensional villains portrayed by the press. In her book "The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and The Love Affair That Rocked The Crown" (per Vanity Fair), Penny Junor discussed how Camilla's true personality clashed with her public image. "When people met [Camilla], they were surprised by how warm and friendly and funny she was," Junor wrote. Similarly, in The New Yorker, Zoë Heller noted that King Charles lacks the sense of "degeneracy" once invoked by the media.

King Charles III is a New Age-y monarch

At first glance, King Charles III may seem quite traditional. However, in reality, the monarch enjoys some rather unconventional New Age philosophies. Over the years, he has dabbled in numerous controversial ideas. The New Yorker reports that King Charles has undergone Jungian dream analysis, experimented with farm life, and even embarked on a spiritual journey to the Kalahari Desert, where he reportedly had a "vision of earthly eternity." 

Unfortunately, King Charles's unusual philosophies aren't merely "quirky"– some are even dangerous. One of the monarch's most controversial ideas relates to his apparent preference for homeopathic remedies over modern medicine. In a 1982 edition of The New York Times (per Insider), then-Prince Charles was quoted comparing "modern medicine" to "the [Leaning] Tower of Pisa." The same piece reported that the former prince called pharmaceuticals "frightening." 

In 2004, then-Prince Charles made headlines again, thanks to his endorsement of a regimen that claimed to treat cancer. According to a report in The Guardian, the former prince supported a never-proven cancer regimen called Gerson Therapy, which encouraged cancer patients to forgo chemotherapy for a juice diet. The former prince's stance on Gerson Therapy angered physicians across the globe (per The Guardian), as the so-called "treatment" has no evidence to back its efficiency. The Australian Cancer Council website states: "Gerson therapy is not a valid or effective treatment for cancer. It should never be taken in lieu of genuine treatments."

Camilla, the Queen Consort has an inner party girl

While King Charles III enjoys eccentric philosophies, Camilla Queen Consort is more interested in having a good time. And according to royal expert Ingrid Seward, Camilla has hardly ever lacked for fun. In an interview with the Channel 5 documentary "Camilla Before Charles," Seward revealed that Camilla had been the life of the party since the 1960s: "Camilla's friends all loved her ... She was always the one at the center of everything. She was terrific fun. Boys adored her because she was funny and characterful ... She was very, very popular." By some accounts, the future Queen Consort allowed this popularity to shine during nights out. As royal family specialist Tom Quinn told Channel 5 in the same documentary, "[Camilla] was famously a party girl in the mid-60s. And, you know, she might go to three parties a night, five days a week! I mean, she was extraordinary. She absolutely loved partying" (via YouTube).

Although the "Swinging London" of the 1960s has long disappeared, Camilla has refused to age out of having fun. In 2004, writer Kate Mosse unknowingly bumped into Camilla in a party venue's restroom, according to Penny Junor's book "The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and The Love Affair That Rocked The Crown" (via Vanity Fair). As they waited for a bathroom stall to free up, the two women had what Mosse later called "a women's locker-room moment." Camilla was, in Mosse's words, "a hoot."

King Charles appreciates that Camilla challenges him

At first glance, King Charles III and Camilla Queen Consort make an unusual pairing. Nonetheless, the alternative medicine pupil and the party animal have been together for upwards of three decades, as reported by Town&Country. One of the reasons for the couple's romantic success seems to be Camilla's ability to keep King Charles on his toes. In the documentary "Camilla Before Charles" (via YouTube), Ingrid Seward divulged some insight into the duo's initial courtship. According to Seward's account, Camilla made King Charles nervous at the beginning of their relationship. "[King] Charles actually himself told me a wonderful story about going out with a girl, who was obviously Camilla," the royal expert revealed. "And, he really wanted to impress her. So, he ordered the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu. And Charles just sort of moved his hand and knocked the whole bottle over. And he said he was so humiliated."

It's fair to say that Camilla no longer leaves her husband totally nerve-wrecked at dinner. However, she does continue to challenge him just the right amount. In an interview cited by Penny Junor's book "The Duchess" (via Vanity Fair), a palace staff member described Camilla's power over the King of England. "[Camilla] would be sitting at the table listening to him behave badly and all she would have to do is look at him and the whole atmosphere would change," the anonymous employee revealed. 

Camilla has a rebellious streak

King Charles III is not the only person who Camilla keeps on their toes. On the contrary, the Queen Consort has a long history of rebelling against anything from social norms to the authority of politicians. During her adolescence, Camilla broke the rules of what was once considered "appropriate behavior" and smoked cigarettes. In the documentary "Camilla Before Charles" (via YouTube), Camilla's childhood friend Broderick Monro-Wilson spilled some details about the personality of the future Queen Consort. "She was slightly rebellious. She shared a room with my second wife. And, of course, smoking was a forbidden thing. But, anyways, she was definitely smoking as a teenager," Monro-Wilson divulged.

Throughout the decades, Camilla has continued to question authority. On several occasions, she has even mocked politicians of global importance. The Daily Mail reports that at the COP26 Summit in 2021, Camilla overheard President Joe Biden as he "broke wind." A source told the outlet that, "[Biden's flatulence] was long and loud and impossible to ignore ... Camilla hasn't stopped talking about it." This episode came just two years after Camilla poked fun at ex-President Donald Trump at a 2019 press conference. According to Harper's Bazaar, the future Queen Consort waited for Donald Trump to turn his back before shooting a pointed wink at members of the media. Much of Twitter interpreted this gesture as a surreptitious way to comment on a joint event that some critics considered "absurd."

King Charles is an emotional monarch

It's no secret that King Charles III is not as stoic as was his late mother, Queen Elizabeth III — and by many accounts, this has been true since the now-king was just a boy. According to a report by Time, King Charles was not a child who easily adopted the royal family's famous "stiff upper lip" policy. As his cousin, Lady Mountbatten, told the outlet, "[Prince Philip] could see Charles was a terribly sensitive boy who was going to come up against a lot of problems."

Prince Philip tried to toughen up his son by sending him off to boarding school, hoping that it would be "a spartan and disciplined experience." In one sense, those fatherly hopes came to fruition. In 2022, Newsweek published a thorough tell-all account of the king's disastrous time at boarding school. The piece, written by his former classmate, Johnny Stonborough, details the bullying endured by the king-to-be: "Some boys would attack him, pulling his ears and hitting him." According to Stonborough, King Charles withstood the beatings tearlessly. 

However, King Charles has decided to deviate from his mother's emotionless public image despite his brief adolescent stoicism. In an interview with the Daily Mail, body language specialist Judi James discussed the king's approach to royal displays of emotion. "Charles was seen shedding tears at his father's funeral," James noted. Apparently, these tears were revolutionary. "This is such a dramatic change of culture and behavior for the royals." 

Camilla is a champion for change

While King Charles III revolutionized the crown's approach to emotions, his life partner kept busy fighting against social injustices. Over the years, Camilla, the Queen Consort, has been involved with over 90 charities (per Vanity Fair) and has participated in activism against sexual violence. As reported by People, Camilla gave a groundbreaking speech that condemned rape culture in 2021. She reportedly stood before a crowd at the Wow Foundation's Shameless! Festival and stated: "It takes an entire community — male and female — to dismantle the lies, words, and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal, and in which it shames the victim."

Camilla's dedication to social equality is much more than a publicity stunt: Camilla is reportedly poised to help those in need. In 2021, the chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, Catherine Johnstone, chatted with Hello! about Camilla's humility and willingness to serve others. "A very special memory I have of [Camilla, Queen Consort] was on a visit to one of our lunch clubs," Johnstone shared. "One of the older diners with sight issues asked whether [she] would cut up her food. Her Royal Highness immediately started cutting up her meal without hesitation. This is just one example of [Camilla's] kind nature."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

King Charles and Camilla enjoy giving each other gifts

It's no secret that "gift giving" is one of King Charles III's love languages. Leading up to his 1981 marriage to the late Princess Diana, then-Prince Charles sent Camilla several presents, eventually making headlines. According to the Channel 5 documentary "Charles & Di: The Truth Behind Their Wedding" (via YouTube), the former Prince of Wales sent Camilla a bouquet of flowers with a card that read: "To Gladys, From Fred." Shortly after, the future king gave Camilla a gold bracelet engraved with the initials "G" and "F." As royal expert Christopher Wilson told Channel 5, "It was clear that this was [then-Prince] Charles's farewell present to Camilla."

Although the days of their illicit affair have ended, King Charles and Camilla continue to enjoy their tradition of gift-giving. In 2019, Camilla made headlines for wearing one of the then-prince's most extravagant presents. As reported by Express, Camilla boasted a pair of Van Cleef & Arpels earrings worth more than 33,000 British pounds. The set was reportedly made of 18-carat gold and exactly 158 diamonds. According to the outlet, this wasn't the only piece of jewelry that Camilla received from then-Prince Charles. The same Express article reported that in 2001, the former prince gave Camilla a special necklace known as the "Diamond Serpent Necklace." The photos of the piece reveal a diamond-studded snake with ruby eyes wrapped around Camilla's neck (via The Crown Chronicles). 

King Charles went from distant dad to doting grandpa

In front of the cameras, the British royal family may seem like a cohesive unit; however, behind closed doors, the family is fragmented. When King Charles III was growing up, he barely had contact with his mother. As related in a piece by Time, the then-prince's first word was not "mama" but rather "nana," a term he used to refer to his nanny. Perhaps, then, it is natural that the former Prince of Wales did little to foster a close relationship with his sons. In the documentary "Prince Charles and Camilla: King and Queen in Waiting?" (via YouTube), former Royal Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter explained the distance between the future king and his two little boys. "Charles wasn't the ... hands-on dad that [Princess Diana] would have expected," Arbiter revealed. 

Despite King Charles's past shortcomings as a father, he seems to enjoy being a grandfather. According to the BBC documentary "Prince, Son, & Heir: Charles at 70" (per Bustle), Prince William cannot get enough of King Charles's grandfathering. "I would like him to have more time with the children," Prince William told BBC. "When he's there, he's brilliant." In the same documentary, Camilla agreed with Prince William's assessment. "[King Charles] reads 'Harry Potter' [to his grandkids], and he can do all the different voices ... He will get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours, you know, making funny noises and laughing," Camilla revealed. 

Camilla also puts family first

King Charles III may be an extraordinary grandfather, but Camilla, Queen Consort, is just as good of a grandmother. And, unlike King Charles, Camilla seems to have enjoyed her role as a family woman throughout her life. As royal expert Wesley Kerr told Channel 5 via the documentary "Camilla Before Charles" (via YouTube), Camilla became a motherly figure following her marriage to her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles. "When you meet Camilla, she seems a very, very warm, a maternal person," Kerr shared. "She enjoyed decorating the houses and making them [homey], filling them with books [and] lovely fabrics." 

Camilla's "maternal" personality has allowed her to bond with her grandchildren, despite the obstacles posed by generational differences. On BBC's Morning Show (per Express), the now-Queen Consort revealed that she has a great relationship with her Tech Age grandkids. "[Being a grandmother] is the best thing in the world," Camilla told the BBC. According to the daring blonde, one of the best parts of grand-parenting has been learning from a younger generation. "What's so lovely about being a grandmother is they teach you things and, hopefully, they learn a few things from us ... Especially in this generation of social media, which I'm not very good at, my grandchildren are very good at teaching me how to do it, " she divulged.

They worry about their relationship's image

Perhaps due to their relationship's rocky start, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, are careful about maintaining their image as a couple. As a result, the pair has a history of rehearsing their public appearances behind the scenes. The most famous incidence of this occurred in 1999 at the 50th birthday celebration of Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliot. According to The Mirror archives, Camilla and then-Prince Charles decided to use the festivities as an excuse to make their first-ever public appearance. Thus, the duo pre-meditated every aspect of their image and even called their plan "Operation Ritz." The 1999 Mirror article reported, "During the planning, [then-Prince Charles] is said to have joked, 'I am not going to hold her hand or give her a kiss.'"

Nonetheless, despite the couple's history of rehearsals, not all of their public engagements have gone down without a glitch. One notable scandal occurred in 2017 when then-Prince Charles and Camilla were visiting Canada. According to Global News, the duo attended an Inuit throat singing performance called "katajjaq." However, the event video (via Today) shows that the couple began to laugh — presumably at the singers — in the middle of the performance. King Charles and Camilla's reactions led many Twitter users to accuse them of disrespecting an indigenous culture, according to Digital Spy. Canadian indigenous communities have spent years asking the British crown to confront its violent colonial legacy (per CBC).

King Charles and Camilla enjoy life's simple pleasures

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, love expensive meals and fine jewelry. However, that doesn't preclude the pair from basking in life's simplest pleasures. Back in the 1980s, the paparazzi caught the couple catching some rays on board a boat. According to the Channel 5 documentary "Camilla Before Charles" (via YouTube), neither one of the pair knew that there were cameras nearby. The documentary shows the leaked photos of the pair soaking up the sun and lounging in bathing suits.

While the days of King Charles and Camilla's seaside trysts have long passed, the two continue to enjoy small aspects of daily life. In true royal family fashion, one of the couple's favorite things to enjoy is a well-made alcoholic beverage. Camilla is a passionate wine drinker who even serves as the president of the UK's Vineyard Association, according to Hello! The outlet reports that at the association's 50-year celebration, Camilla gave a speech in which she declared, "I love wine ... [M]y father was in the wine business, so I was brought up as a child drinking wine and water rather like the French." As for King Charles, the rumor is that the current monarch indulges in a daily cocktail. In an interview for the documentary "The Real Windsors" (per Express), Count Tibor Kalnoki revealed the king's penchant for gin. "He likes a martini before dinner, that's for sure," the count laughed.