Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has spoken with unguarded warmth and candor about her husband Prince Charles, giving a touching insight into the couple’s marriage and a rarer seen side of the British heir.
In an inpromtu interview, her most revealing and extensive to date, Camilla affectionately spoke to reporters about the Prince’s landmark 65th birthday. And it seems that the down-to-earth couple — who have given each other the nicknames Fred and Gladys — are much like any other husband and wife.
“I will tell you that he is the most difficult person in the world to buy a present for,” she said. “He is a man! They are hopeless! I spend ages trying to find something that is really wonderful and then (miming him opening a present, and using a noncommittal voice), ‘Oh, thank you very much.’ It is so annoying.
“So he likes to make a list of things that he wants so you get it exactly right. I find this time of year impossible as it’s his birthday and then it’s Christmas… Everybody else is easy, but he is not.”
The Duchess, 66, is currently on a tour of India with her husband. After speaking at an engagement in Kerala on Thursday, where she met with women who have started their own businesses, she appeared on a rain-drenched balcony and gave the unprecedented eight-minute interview.
Asked whether Charles planned to celebrate or commiserate his big day, she gave a knowing smile and said, “It is a special birthday. I think commiserate; well in my case I went very quiet about it.
“Last year we were in New Zealand (on his birthday) and this year India, so it has been rather busy. Luckily he has caught up with me now. We are both pensioners and he can join in with me collecting the bus pass.”
Camilla said that while Charles likes birthdays, especially “cake and a bit of a sing song”, she finds it hard to get him to take time out.
The Prince, she said, is always “working, working, working” and is “not going to stop” just because he is now a pensioner.
“I am hopping up and down and saying, ‘Darling, do you think we could have a bit of, you know, peace and quiet, enjoy ourselves together.’ But he always has to finish something,” she said of her husband, who recently edited a special edition of Country Life magazine, featuring Camilla, in honour of his big day.
She joked that she might have to hold up a sign saying ‘Happy Birthday Darling’ because Charles was unlikely to pause for celebrations. The Duchess also disclosed that her idea of “bliss” would be to sit out in the sunshine with her husband, but said that she rarely got the chance because “he’s not one for chilling”.
The Prince will have a busy birthday: he will turn 65 in the romantic Kumarakom Lake Resort near Cochin, where he and the Duchess spent Wednesday enjoying a mid-tour break, but will be quickly back in business with three engagements in Cochin.
He will then board a flight to Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in place of the Queen for the first time.