Duchess Camilla Wasn't The First Member of Her Family to Have a Royal Affair

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For longtime fans, observers, and novice historians of the modern British royal family, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s relationship has been widely discussed. But now, a new royal book is digging even deeper into the previously known Camilla Parker-Bowles’ family history, and revealing some surprising facts about her longstanding ties to the monarchy. Camilla wasn’t the first person in her family to have an affair with a member of the royal family — her great-grandmother, Alice, was once a royal mistress.

In The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor: the Truth and the Turmoil, author Tina Brown goes back to the history books on Camilla’s ancestry. What readers will discover is how the Duchess of Cornwall, and future Queen Consort, is the descendant of one of King Edward VII’s mistresses. “The royal mistress gene was in her blood: Her great-grandmother Alice Keppel was for twelve years, until his death, a chief favorite of King Edward VII,” Brown writes.

“Alice, a socially accomplished and witty charmer, was the King’s last major fling after a lifetime of juggling an unceasing cast of aristocratic mistresses and continental prostitutes.” According to Brown, Alice was just 29 compared to King Edward VII’s 57 years of age when they began their affair, and the author describes the monarch as “a wheezing, malodorous figure, addicted to cigars and so obese that he sometimes had to be trussed up to achieve penetration.” He was very much the antithesis of Prince Charles.

Alice, on the other hand, is described by Brown as “a stunning beauty,” whose “staying power” in the King’s life “can be attributed as much to shrewd intelligence as it was to beauty.” By comparison, Camilla and Charles’ romance — which notably took place before, during, and after Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana, and Camilla’s marriage to Andrew Parker-Bowles — had a very different outcome and circumstances in contrast to Alice and King Edward VII’s affair. After all, Charles was devoted to Camilla, and eventually married her in 2005, roughly eight years following Princess Diana’s tragic death. It’s nevertheless fascinating, however, what history can reveal, and what it says about the people we thought we knew.

The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown

Image: Crown

Even as casual British royal family observers, there’s still so much we don’t know about what happens in the House of Windsor. 2022 is poised to be a memorable year for the royal family. But with historic highs come lows and pitfalls. Royal biographer Tina Brown takes readers from the troubling years following Princess Diana’s death, to the rift between Princes William and Harry, the scandals of Prince Andrew, and Queen Elizabeth’s steady resolve through it all in The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil. Brown’s book features new, intimate details about the royal family, and contemplates how the House of Windsor moves into a new era.

'The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil' by Tina Brown


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