Inside Queen Camilla's Relationship With Her Siblings

For all the focus that has been paid to the royal family over the years, there are still troves of details to explore. From Prince William's alleged infidelity to Prince Harry's military service to everything going on with Prince Andrew, the royals occupy a space that is front and center. Camilla, Queen Consort, is one of the most talked about members, given her infamous affair with King Charles III while he was still married to the late Diana Spencer, and she was even dubbed Britain's most hated woman at one point in time. It has taken years for the queen consort to rehabilitate her image, and her down-to-Earth personality has certainly helped her win over the majority of the public. But for all the headlines that have made Camilla the focus, not too much is known about her family outside of the royals.

Ascending at age 75 in 2022, she's seemingly just getting started with her new role as queen consort, but she's been in the public eye for decades. Before she was a staple on the royal scene — for better or worse — she was well-known in the circles of high society thanks to her well-to-do family. She and her brother and sister, however, were granted a relatively normal upbringing that grounded Camilla in family values and a sibling bond. As she settles into the role of queen consort, we're taking a look inside Camilla's relationship with her sister, Annabel Elliot, and her late brother, Mark Shand.

Camilla described a warm childhood and bond with her siblings at an early age

Before she was named queen consort — and well before she was known for her scandalous affair with King Charles III — Queen Consort Camilla led a rather ordinary life in Sussex. She was born to Major Bruce Shand and Rosalind Shand in 1947, and was the eldest of three children. As her father was a World War II hero, the family enjoyed life in high society, though Camilla's parents ensured that their children had a relatively normal upbringing.

Camilla and her two younger siblings, Annabel Elliot and Mark Shand — born 1949 and 1951 respectively — enjoyed a very warm childhood and close relationships with both parents. Calling her father an amazing storyteller, Camilla said that she and her siblings crowded around Major Shand, recalling (per Stroud News), "[He] read to us each night and transported us into different worlds."

As for her mother, Camilla told Vanity Fair that she was a warm, caring person who ensured that the siblings' childhoods were full of laughter and light. "We had this enchanted childhood. Unlike a lot of our generation, we had this incredibly warm, easy relationship with our parents," the queen consort said. "We didn't have nannies. All our friends growing up would immediately be drawn to my mother. She was completely straightforward and one of the warmest, kindest people."

Despite being the oldest, Camilla didn't take charge of her brother and sister

Queen Consort Camilla might be known for her dedication to King Charles III, but when she and her siblings were children, she didn't always take charge as an eldest child might. Reflecting on the bond she shared with Annabel Elliot and Mark Shand, Camilla told Now To Love that not only was she fortunate to have the upbringing that she did, but that she and her siblings actually got along — a tune that isn't sung by many.

"I never took the lead very much, we just did things together," the queen consort said, before adding that Mark was the one who expressed himself more as a child. "My brother had a very bad temper and was quite spoiled sometimes, but it was very evenly shared out."

Reflecting further on her upbringing and the bond she shared with her siblings, Camilla called her childhood uncomplicated and ideal. "I was one of the very lucky ones. I had the idyllic childhood right in the country, sitting on the South Downs with my brother and my sister and our pets and our ponies. I think it was a very simple childhood," she said. "The awful thing is, I suppose I thought life was always going to be like that ... 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."

Camilla wasn't always the loving big sister to Annabel

They may have gotten along, but Queen Consort Camilla wasn't always the loving big sister to Annabel Elliot — after all, it's difficult to get along with your younger sister all the time, right? Reflecting on a spat they had as children during the ITV documentary, "Camilla's Country Life" (via Marie Claire), the queen consort and Annabel sat down with each other at family home Hall Place and recounted what really happened to Annabel's childhood teddy bear. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well.

Asked by editor Mark Hedges, "Have you had a discussion about the buried teddy bear?" Annabel shot at her big sister, "Mark just brought up the teddy bear, hiding my teddy bear ... She only owned up to me about a month before I got married that actually she'd buried it."

As far as Camilla recounted, the royal said that she buried the stuffed animal in the backyard after she and Annabel got into a fight — a classic big sister move. "It was sibling rivalry," she said, before adding, "He had a very happy resting ground. In the rose garden." And, naturally, Annabel has yet to forgive her older sister for such a betrayal. "Certainly not," she said when asked if all was forgiven. "It still rankles to this day."

Camilla and her siblings were tragically bonded after losing their mother

Childhood rivalries and buried stuffed animals might be the fun memories of growing up, but Queen Consort Camilla and her siblings were bonded in grief when their mother, Rosalind Shand, died in 1994. Reflecting on her steadfast parent and the tragic illness of osteoporosis that she was diagnosed with in her mid-60s, Camilla told Now To Love that the experience of losing her mother — all while grieving alongside her brother and sister — was almost too much to bear.

"Nobody in those days knew anything about osteoporosis. So when she suddenly used to scream, which she did if somebody touched her, we thought, 'Why is she making such a fuss about this? It can't be that painful,'" Camilla said of her mother's experience. "She was a strong woman, capable of anything, but she shrank and she shrank and she started bending over like a croquet hoop. It affects your stomach and lungs, so her breathing became very bad. She couldn't eat much food and was in agony the whole time."

Revealing that she and her siblings were "at such a loss," Camilla further said of their joint experience, "It was terrible, because we felt so helpless ... She used to go to the doctor who would say, 'There, there, you're old and frail, all old people get the dowager's hump, that's what happens!' She gave up in the end."

Camilla's sister became deeply protective during Camilla and Charles' affair

Though then-Prince Charles and Diana Spencer were seen as a fairytale couple, the realities of their marriage were far less of a happily ever after. T=he timeline is hazy, but Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, maintained a close relationship throughout his marriage to Diana. By 1994, Charles admitted to journalist Jonathan Dimbleby during an extensive sit-down interview that he had been unfaithful in his marriage, and if Camilla wasn't already the attention of intense media scrutiny, she was then. Throughout the heightened attention, it was Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliot, who came to her sister's side and took her away from her central home to escape the cameras.

Camilla later opened up about that specific period of time, telling The Mail on Sunday during a profile interview that she wouldn't have been able to cope with the scrutiny — or her own failing marriage — without her sister and relatives.

"I couldn't really go anywhere ... It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn't want to put my worst enemy through it. I couldn't have survived it without my family," she said, before adding that the only way she was able to look at herself in the mirror was with a self-deprecating sense of humor. "You also have to laugh at yourself because if you can't, you may as well give up," she said.

All three Shand children became involved in charity work early on

A large aspect of royal life is working alongside charities and organizations close to the specific member's heart. Camilla, Queen Consort, has been known for her work advocating for those fighting osteoporosis — understandable given her mother's own experience with the illness — in addition to a variety of other charities. However, she was not the only member of her family to express such interest in the nonprofit and charity space, as her sister, Annabel Elliot, and brother, Mark Shand, have both given back to their communities (per The Evening Standard).

Annabel's older sister might be a royal, but she didn't let that status stop her from pursuing a career. Annabel has owned and operated an interior design and antique store in Dorset for more than three decades, and was named one of the most influential designers in Britain. She worked closely with the British Association for Adoption and Fostering for a decade, advocating for their causes from 2005 until 2015. As for Mark, he was the co-founder and chairman of the Elephant Family, an NGO committed to protecting endangered Asian elephants. A cause close to his heart, Mark was heavily involved with the charity and its fundraising efforts, which coincidentally, partially led to his death in 2014.

Camilla's brother died in 2014

It was an evening in mid-April 2014 when Mark Shand attended a charity auction hosted by Sotheby's. Linked to the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, Mark was present as his charity — the Elephant Family — was a beneficiary. By all accounts it was a successful event, with longtime friend Diane von Furstenberg noting that it "was a moment of glory and victory" for the patron. Mark went out into the Gramercy Park area thereafter to celebrate. That's when the brother of Camilla, Queen Consort, fell on the sidewalk, hitting his head as he went down.

"He hit his head very hard, and his friends said they could hear a loud crack," a source told Page Six of Mark's accident, noting that he was still awake and could speak when emergency personnel responded. After being taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, however, Mark's condition worsened and he was placed on life support. By about noon the following day, he was pronounced dead. Mark's sudden death came as an immense shock to Camilla and the royal family, and Clarence House released a statement shortly thereafter noting her dismay over her younger brother's passing. "The Duchess, the Prince of Wales and all her family members are utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss," the statement read.

Von Furstenberg later said of Mark's loss, "As much as I am incredibly devastated about him having gone, I know he left in a moment of great happiness."

Charles and Camilla's sister share a close bond

The early relationship shared between then-Prince Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, was scrutinized to say the very least — with that in mind, you might think that the bond shared between the now-king and Camilla's family members would be strained. The reality is quite the contrary, however. As The Standard reports, Charles and Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliot, are said to enjoy a particularly close relationship despite all the drama that has enveloped the royal affair-turned-marriage since the 1980s, and Charles even hired his sister-in-law for a very special project.

Any royal watcher will tell you that Charles is particular — from whispers about his ironed shoelaces to the precise amount of toothpaste squeezed onto his brush every morning, the king has certain household specificities that are hard to live up to. Despite this, however, Charles hired Annabel as the chief interior designer of all of his estates, and she even oversaw the remodeling of the Duchy of Cornwall estate. This wasn't just a single home that needed a touch up — Annabel redesigned 12 properties, ranging from Restormel Castle, the Llwynywermod estate located in Wales, and the Isles of Scilly cottages.

Charles and Annabel haven't just been linked by professional collaborations, however. The in-laws have often been spotted taking in the events of Wimbledon together, as well as enjoying each other's company at royal garden parties.

There was a little bit of conflict between the sisters, and Charles, over this joint project

Though King Charles III and Annabel Elliot collaborated with one another on the renovation of royal properties, the duo didn't always see eye to eye. The project was documented by ITV in 2012 in the aptly named program, "The Royal Restoration," and Annabel dished about a squabble that she and Charles had over the Duchy of Cornwall estate and her plans as a designer. The king was not one to let the designer have free range of the project, and the sister of Camilla, Queen Consort, was quick to point out Charles' specificities as they were working in close proximity.

"He always likes to be completely involved and know what's being suggested. He's looking at every piece of material — 'What's this for?' 'Is that for a chair?' 'Where's that sourced from?' 'Has it got nylon in it?' He doesn't like duvets. You know, it's all that kind of thing, it's very, very important to him," Annabel told the cameras, before adding that she and the royal didn't always agree on what design choices would serve the space best. "We'll argue ... So we'll definitely have a good, healthy [debate]. He doesn't just agree or disagree."

The project wasn't all bad, however, and Annabel praised her brother-in-law for his precise taste. "He will look at everything. His eye for detail is quite extraordinary," she said.

Camilla and her sister have grown incredibly similar over time

There's nothing quite like the bond shared between sisters. Camilla, Queen Consort, has praised her sister, Annabel Elliot, for her support during tough times and highlighted their charmed childhood, but it's been in their more recent outings that the public has gotten to see how close they are. Stepping out together for the Booker Prize for Fiction ceremony in 2022, Camilla and Annabel joyously attended the first event held for the award since the COVID-19 lockdown. The seventh time that Camilla presented the award, the royal was certainly ready to shine, and her sister was right there with her as she did so.

Photographed at the event held at the Roundhouse in London, Annabel was seen walking behind her sister as they entered — the public (as reported by Yahoo) was incredibly quick to notice just how similar the two look. Both Camilla and Annabel sported short, blonde haircuts that featured swirling curls pinned to the side. Everything down to where their hair was parted was the same, and surely many had to do a double take. It wasn't just their styling that was the same, either. Reports were quick to point out just how close the sisters' facial features and expressions are to one another — Camilla and Annabel sported the same smile, a similar build, and matching expressions. If we didn't know that they were two years apart in age, we'd certainly think that they were twins.

Camilla supported her sister amid this sad loss in 2023

Tragic times can bring family members even closer to one another, and Camilla, Queen Consort, was right by her sister's side during a heartbreaking loss in 2023. Annabel Elliot's husband, Simon Elliot, died after battling an undisclosed illness. He and Annabel had been married for 50 years, and the couple enjoyed an incredibly close relationship with Camilla and King Charles III. Simon died on March 8, 2023, at the age of 82.

"He was beyond courageous in his last few months, his family and friends are devastated to lose a man whose middle name was loyalty," an insider told The Independent of Simon following his death. "He was a fount of common sense and wisdom and it is a great sadness that he has gone so early."

He may not have been front and center in the royal scene, but Simon too shared a close bond with Charles and his sister-in-law, Camilla. In fact, when Charles and Camilla got married in 2005 after years of keeping their relationship behind closed doors, they whisked away to Balmoral Castle for their honeymoon — but they weren't alone. Annabel and Simon too traveled to Balmoral and spent time with the newlyweds.

Will Camilla's sister get a royal title now that Camilla is queen consort?

Anyone who considers themselves a royal watcher knows that titles are a big deal. When King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, got married, it was announced that at the time of his ascension to the throne, Camilla would be named princess consort. However, amid Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, she announced her intent to have Camilla named queen consort when the time came.

"When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as queen consort as she continues her own loyal service," the late monarch wrote in a statement, to the surprise of many. Such a designation, however, begs the question — will Camilla's sister, Annabel Elliot, receive a royal title given her proximity to the royal family? The short answer is no.

Titles are all about designation, and without Charles, Camilla technically has no stake to claim a royal title. Just as her children, Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes, won't receive titles despite their mother being queen consort, Camilla's sister Annabel is unlikely to be bestowed a title.