When Charles became the British monarch following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on 8 September 2022, it not only marked a new chapter in the history of the world but also elevated the personal fortunes of several major royal family members, including himself. Among them is Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Queen Consort, who now commands a net worth far higher than she perhaps ever had before.
Among the most recognisable names in the world, Camilla is the wife of King Charles III. As such, she is the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms.
Formerly the Prince of Wales till he took the throne, King Charles III is the richest member of the British royal family having inherited a fortune of over USD 2 billion from his mother. But how rich is Camilla?
All about the net worth of Camilla Parker-Bowles
Who is Camilla, The Queen Consort?
The Queen Consort was born on 17 July 1947 in London as Camilla Rosemary Shand. Her first marriage was to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles. The two tied the knot in 1973 in what was then one of the biggest weddings in London. The wedding was attended by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Anne. However, the marriage ended in 1995. Yet, she continued carrying Andrew’s surname and went as Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Her relationship with Charles had started before the breakdown of her marriage as well as that of the future monarch who was married to Princess Diana till 1996. Charles later told his advisors that his relationship with Camilla was “non-negotiable.” Camilla and Charles made their first public appearance together in 1999. Since then, Camilla kept making more public appearances with Charles.
They got married in 2005 in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall. It was followed by a wedding blessing at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. She subsequently assumed the title Duchess of Cornwall till the time her husband became King, following which Camilla became Queen Consort. She has been performing royal duties since she became the Duchess of Cornwall.
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The engagement ring and crown jewels
One of the jewels that Camilla certainly possesses is the engagement ring that Charles gave her in 2005. At the time, the Clarence House — the official royal residence of Charles — said that the ring was a royal family heirloom without specifying whom it originally belonged to. Observers believe that it came from the personal collection of the Queen Mother, as she was seen wearing it sometime in the 1980s.
The platinum engagement ring has an emerald-cut diamond at its centre and weighs five carats. It has an Art Deco design, and there are extra baguettes on the sides.
As for the crown, Camilla will be wearing a modified Queen Mary’s crown for her coronation as Queen Consort. The crown was commissioned by King George V’s Consort Queen Mary for her coronation as Queen Consort in 1911 and made by Garrard.
“The choice of Queen Mary’s crown by her majesty is the first time in recent history that an existing crown will be used for the coronation of a consort instead of a new commission being made, in the interests of sustainability and efficiency,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on 23 February 2023.
The crown has a silver frame and is lined with gold. It is set with 2,200 diamonds. It originally featured the Koh-i-Noor, the historic gemstone considered one of the world’s largest and most expensive diamonds. But the diamond will not be part of the modified crown that Camilla will wear. Instead, her version of the crown will have Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds — all of which were part of Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection.
Even after her coronation, Camilla won’t be the “owner” of the crown jewels as these are held in a trust by the monarch on behalf of the nation and are passed down to the successor upon their accession.
Duchy of Cornwall
Under the British system, whosoever holds the title of Prince of Wales is the holder of the Duchy of Cornwall.
The Duchy officially describes itself as a “private estate which funds the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales and his family.”
It is one of the biggest landowners in all of England and Wales, with around 20 major properties, including the Oval cricket ground, the Isles of Scilly, flats in London, a third of the Dartmoor National Park, several farmlands, mansions such as Highgrove House, and even the coastline and riverbed around Cornwall.
It is the single biggest source of income of the Prince of Wales — a position that is now held by Prince William.
King Charles III was in control of the Duchy as Prince of Wales from the age of 21 until the time he ascended the throne. In 2021, when he was still in possession of it, he made a profit of USD 28 million from the Duchy.
Even though the Duchy does not directly contribute to her income, Camilla, too, has been a beneficiary of everything that it has yielded since 2005 when she married Charles.
One of these is the usage of the Highgrove House, which King Charles bought in 1980 and used as a family house with Camilla for a long time.
The Crown Estate is neither the private estate of the sovereign nor a government property. It has its own unique status and is the largest contributor to the net worth of King Charles III ever since he became the monarch.
Like the Duchy of Cornwall, the Crown Estate is a large landowner. It owns lands across the UK, including places along Regent Street, St James’s Street and Oxford Circus among other London locations. It earns rent from major businesses such as The Carlton Club and Apple store.
According to Forbes, the Crown Estate was worth USD 19.5 billion in 2021. Under a system in place since 1760, a small share (around 25 per cent as of now) of the profits of the Crown Estate is returned to the monarch as Sovereign Grant. The rest is deposited with the Treasury.
The Sovereign Grant is used to cover the costs of the King’s official tours and travels as well as members of the royal family who are authorised to represent him. This allowance was also given to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Reports suggest that he used to receive around USD 500,000 per year as an allowance from the Sovereign Grant to cover his expenses till he stepped down from his royal duties in 2017.
It is not clear whether such an allowance will be granted to Camilla as Queen Consort and, if it is, the amount she would receive from the Sovereign Grant is also not known.
Camilla Parker-Bowles was born into a family with a considerably high net worth. Her father, Major Bruce Shand, was a decorated military officer. He was taken as a prisoner of war by the German forces in Egypt to Germany before his liberation. He was awarded two Military Crosses during his career.
Major Shand was a partner in the successful Mayfair wine merchants’ firm; he reviewed military books for Country Life magazine and even wrote his autobiography, Previous Engagements, in 1990.
In the 1970s, he was made the vice lord lieutenant of East Sussex — a position that brought him closer to the British royal family. He was also a deputy lieutenant of the former county of Sussex and joint master of the Southdown fox hounds.
Camilla’s mother, Rosalind Cubitt, also came from money. Cubitt’s great-grandfather increased the family fortune by building London’s Mayfair, Pimlico and Belgravia. They were well-known aristocrats of their time. Camilla’s maternal grandmother, Sonia Cubitt, was one of the daughters of Alice Keppel — the mistress of King Edward VII.
Her family ties ensured that Camilla was born and raised in relative prosperity. And according to a 1995 report by The Independent, one of Camilla’s grandparents from her mother’s side left her around GBP 500,000 (or USD 790,000 at the time).
Not much is known about how Camilla used this money or if it was made part of a trust fund — as the Queen Mother did for her grandchildren, including Prince William and Prince Harry. But her inheritance from the grandparent is what constitutes a substantial part of Camilla’s personal fortune.
Property in Lacock, Wiltshire
Camilla Parker-Bowles has personal property in Wiltshire’s Lancock, a village close to Cotswolds, which is part of her net worth. It is not part of the Crown Estate or any other holding of King Charles III. The property was bought by Camilla herself following her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles in 1994.
The property, known as Ray Mill House, is quite huge. According to reports, it has stables and an outdoor swimming pool on the grounds of the historic stone manor. A river flows next to it.
“The interiors are interspersed with wooden detailing and dark-wood furnishings which spell luxury while still being enveloped in a sense of warmth,” interior designer Deepa Mehta-Sagar told Daily Express in 2023 about the manor.
Camilla spent close to seven years from 1996 to 2003 at the property following her divorce. She continues to visit the house whenever in need of personal time. Since the place is private property and not open to the public like several other royal residences, Camilla reportedly finds absolute privacy during her stay.
It was at this property where Kate Middleton took Camilla’s official photographs on the occasion of the latter’s 75th birthday for Country Life magazine in 2022.
The wedding celebration of Camilla’s daughter Laura and Harry Lopes was held at the property in 2006.
It is estimated that the manor cost Camilla around GBP 850,000 (around USD 1.3 million at the time). Reports say she spent another USD 1 million on the renovation of the property in 1996. She bought the house from the proceeds from her divorce settlement with Andrew, the amount of which is not known.
(Main and Featured images: The Royal Family/@RoyalFamily/Twitter)