Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, speaks exclusively to British Vogue about surviving press scrutiny, texting her grandchildren and turning 75

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As she talks bluntly about her days at work — traveling from engagement to engagement, trying to meet as many people as possible, grabbing soup and rice cake in between events — it’s hard to reconcile the reality of this terribly pleasant, selfless-minded grandmother with her status as one of the most written about figures of the modern era.

Born Camilla Rosemary Shand in London in 1947 to army officer-turned-businessman Major Bruce Shand and his wife Rosalind, she was raised in bucolic splendor in rural Sussex before moving to school finishing Mon Fertile in Switzerland and studying French literature in Paris. In 1965 she was a newbie in the orbit of the young royal family and, as anyone who has turned on the television or read a newspaper for the past 50 years knows, had a romantic relationship with the Prince of Wales, before they both get married. the other people.

The Duchess, of course, has two children, Tom and Laura, from her marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, the British Army officer she divorced in 1995. The 1990s – the decade in which her own marriage and that of the Prince of Wales to Diana, Princess of Wales, met with their formal conclusions – saw a level of media scrutiny for all parties that remains unmatched to this day. People chose sides amid wild talk. In the decades that followed, the Duchess won over much of public opinion. But those years have taken their toll.

“It’s not easy,” she said thoughtfully. “I’ve been scrutinized for so long that you just have to find a way to live with it. Nobody likes to be watched all the time and, you know, criticized and…” she pulls away for a moment. “But I think that in the end, I kind of rise above it and carry on. You gotta live on,” she said with a calm shrug.

In the square in front of the I am launch of the exhibition, crowd, barricades, police, fascinated passers-by and hecklers at random await the Duchess as she gets out of the car. At the reception inside, followed by an ITV documentary crew, she spends an hour meeting survivors and volunteers, listening intently to their stories. Dawn Munroe – who runs an awareness program in Nottingham and is herself a survivor of domestic violence – gives a wonderful speech about the importance of speaking out and the power of sharing your experiences. Afterwards, the Duchess speaks, thanking Dawn and the others profusely, and admiring the inclusiveness of the exhibit. His presence means the event is in the local and national press, and then he’s straight back in the car for his next engagement, a Jubilee-themed party.

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