Camilla’s Sister, Annabel Elliot, Has Been Working For King Charles III For Almost 20 Years

Even before King Charles III’s accession to the throne, the public kept its eyes magnified on Camilla, Queen Consort. She had become one of the most controversial figures to join the British royal family. Before marrying King Charles III on April 9, 2005, Charles and Camilla met in 1970 at a polo match. According to Britannica, many people in their friend group assumed that Charles would propose to Camilla. But in 1973, the then-25-year-old Camilla wed British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles.

The couple had two children together but eventually divorced in 1995. Throughout the course of their first marriages, King Charles III and Camilla continued their romantic connection. According to NBC News, in the 1990s, the public blamed Camilla for the devastating end of Princess Diana and Charles’s marriage. The British tabloids often referred to Camilla as the “third person” in Diana and Charles’ relationship. She was even regarded as one of, if not the, “most hated woman in Britain.”

It took decades, but Camilla changed how the public viewed her by using her platform to delve into humanitarian work. According to Charles and Camilla’s official website, the Queen Consort is the patron or president of over 100 charities. According to Express, Camilla is ranked the 11th most famous royal family member. She was ranked only four places behind her husband, King Charles III.

Amidst the controversy that surrounded Camilla’s marriage to Charles, she had a rock to hold on to — her younger sister Annabel Elliot, who, unbeknownst to many, had been working hand-in-hand with Charles as his chief interior designer.

According to Royal UK, Camilla, Queen Consort, was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947. She is the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand and the Hon Rosalind Maud Shand. Camilla also has one sister, Annabel Elliot, and a brother, Mark Shand. Sadly, the latter passed away in April 2014.

Camilla proved to be a lover of reading during her childhood. She also appreciated being surrounded by animals as she grew up with cats and dogs. Camilla also learned how to ride a pony through Pony Club camps.

The future Queen Consort attended Dumbrells School in Sussex during her younger years before moving on to attend Queen’s Gate School. She also studied in Switzerland, after which she moved to France to study French and French literature at the University of London Institute in Paris, proving herself to be very worldly from early in life.

She met Parker Bowles in the late 1960s and engaged in an on-again, off-again relationship with him for many years. However, the pair’s engagement was announced in 1973. They married on July 4, 1974, at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, in London. At the time, Camilla was 25 years old, while her then-husband was 33. It was a highly appreciated society wedding that included many royal guests, including Princess Anne, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

However, this was not the fairytale relationship that the couple had hoped for, and Camilla and Andrew filed for divorce in December 1994 after 21 years of marriage. They had already been living separately for many years prior to this filing. Their divorce was finalized in March of the following year.

Even though Camilla’s first marriage ended in heartbreak, she soon found a new love. It wasn’t long before Camilla found herself involved with the royal family, although the beginning of her relationship with them had not been off to the best start.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort of the United Kingdom’s relationship has definitely raised eyebrows over the years. The couple had an affair while King Charles III was still married to Princess Diana, and during the last few years of her life, it was reported that the alleged affair tormented the late princess.

Then tragedy struck when Princess Diana passed away due to a car accident in 1997. Following this, Charles and Camilla began officially seeing each other two years after Diana’s death. Because of Diana’s untimely passing, Charles did not want to overwhelm his family with the sudden inclusion of a new spouse. Prince Harry and Prince William were still minors when their mother passed, and Charles decided that it would be best to wait until they were adults to get married to Camilla.

Camilla and Charles finally did get married in 2005, and the small, intimate ceremony was attended by his children as well as the late Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip. Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away on Sept. 8, 2022, at her home in Balmoral Castle.

Camilla has been a loyal partner to Charles and has taken on her royal duties with grace and enthusiasm. It is certain now that Camilla is a beloved part of the royal family. Even Charles’ sons have welcomed her, as Harry said in Angela Levin’s “Harry: The Biography of a Prince,” “To be honest, she’s always been very close to me and William. She’s not a wicked stepmother.”

Despite the controversy surrounding Camilla and Charles’ marriage, both of them have shown that they have nothing to offer but love. Over the years, people have still speculated about the couple’s relationship with the rest of the family members, but especially their connection to William and Harry.

Upon King Charles III and Camilla’s engagement in February 2005, a statement from the palace was released in which questions about Camilla’s status and title as future queen were addressed.

The statement, released on Feb. 10, 2005, announced their marriage and immediately mentioned that Camilla would be using the title “HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.”

It clarified that since Charles was next in line after Queen Elizabeth II, “It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.” Harper’s Bazaar noted that Camilla actually had the opportunity to pick up the title “Princess of Wales,” but since the beloved, late Diana was bestowed that title, Camilla avoided it.

Although through the majority of Camilla’s life, she was known as the “other woman,” True Royalty TV producer Juliet Rice explained to Fox News, “There’s been this historical misconception about Camilla because of the circumstances surrounding King Charles III’s marriage to Princess Diana.” Rice went on to add:

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about what really went on there and throughout all that coverage, the ‘80s and beyond, she’s never said a word. We didn’t talk to her about that, but it was nice to see her as a human, a relatively normal human being.”

With King Charles III’s accession to the throne upon his mother’s death, it was confirmed that Camilla had officially taken on the title of “Queen Consort,” just as Charles and Queen Elizabeth wanted.

Camilla is the eldest of three siblings. She had a younger brother, Mark, who was a travel writer. He died after sustaining a major injury to his head in New York in 2014.

Her younger sister, Annabel, is her closest and only living sibling to date. Born Sonia Annabel Shand, she married Simon Elliot, a Dorset landowner, from whom she took her surname. She was a known patron of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering until it closed in 2015, citing her mother, Rosalind, as a huge influence for her to support the charity.

Annabel has three children, Ben, Alice and Catherine Elliot. Among the three, her most prominent child is Ben, the oldest. He was the co-chairman of the British Conservative Party until he tendered his resignation on Sept. 5, 2022, days before Queen Elizabeth II passed away.

Only two years younger than Camilla, the two have a close relationship that continues to this day. Annabel is frequently seen accompanying her sister at events, such as the 2022 Booker Prize ceremony in October 2022. However, there have also been times when Annabel has been caught in the middle of her sister’s drama.

It was reportedly at Annabel’s 40th birthday party in 1989 that Princess Diana confronted Camilla about her relationship with Charles, who was still her husband at the time. According to Mirror, in recordings secretly taped by a friend in 1991 at Kensington Palace, Diana had called it “one of the bravest moments” of her marriage and that Charles had run off like “a headless chicken.” Diana said she told Camilla, “I would just like you to know that I know exactly what’s going on,” to which Camilla replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Charles and Diana would go on to divorce in August 1996. Charles and Camilla would marry in April 2005. Charles also had a good relationship with Camilla’s sister Annabel.

An art lover, Annabel studied fine art in Florence, Italy, before going on to get married in 1972. Later, she went on to be one of the most respected interior designers in the United Kingdom.

She is the founder of Annabel Elliot Interior Design and Antiques, an interior design firm that is based in Devon, Southwest England. The Daily Telegraph reported that the firm has been running for more than 30 years already. Annabel is also the co-founder of Talisman, an antiques and interiors emporium based in Gillingham. Her second eldest child, Alice, followed in her footsteps and also became an antique dealer and interior designer, along with his husband, Luke Irwin.

Because of Annabel’s impeccable taste in interior design and penchant for collecting antiques, Camilla’s husband, Charles, had employed her services to renovate a handful of the couple’s estates.

Annabel was hired by her brother-in-law, Charles as the chief interior designer of his estates. Annabel designed his mansion in Llwywormwood, Wales, an estate he brought in 2006 for over £1 million (about $1.15 million).

Apart from this, Annabel’s design touch is embedded in 12 different Duchy of Cornwall cottages on the Isles of Scilly and even holiday cottages at the Restormel Castle.

The partnership between Annabel and Charles did not stop there; in fact, it was the start of their longstanding working relationship. She began renovating the Duchy Nursery in Lostwithiel and the Bovey Castle Hotel in Devon in 2011. Her work did not go unnoticed, as the latter made it to the 2011 Gold List as one of the world’s best places to stay at.

However, Annabel’s work for Charles has garnered some scrutiny. In August 2016, Daily Mail reported Annabel had been paid a massive £1.5 million (about $1.7 million) for “goods and design services” since her sister’s wedding to Charles in 2005. In the report, Annabel was said to be working on a commission to decorate a pub in Poundbury, Charles’ modern village on the outskirts of Dorchester. In response to the criticism, the report claimed Charles was “very happy with Mrs. Elliot’s work” and that he did not have to put the commission up for tender as it was a private property.

Despite this, Annabel, with her commendable work, established herself to become the best of the best. The Daily Telegraph recognized her contributions and ranked her the fifth most influential female interior designer in Britain.

With their pre-existing relationship even before Charles hired her as his chief interior designer, it is undeniable that the two have grown to be closer personally and professionally.

Annabel attested to the king’s commendable work ethic, including his attention to detail and hands-on attitude, especially during the renovation of the Dumfries Lodge House in 2012.

“He always likes to be completely involved and know what’s being suggested,” Annabel said, referring to the king in the 2012 ITV documentary “The Royal Restoration.” “So we’ll definitely have a good, healthy (debate). He doesn’t just agree or disagree. He will look at everything. His eye for detail is quite extraordinary. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody who is so interested in the detail,” she testified.

It’s clear Annabel has integrated herself well with the royal household, cementing her bond with Camilla. With Charles’ coronation and Camilla’s step up in becoming Queen Consort, we’re sure to see more of Annabel in the years to come.

King Charles surely has a unique relationship with his sister-in-law, Annabel Elliot. Did you know of her work before? Do you think King Charles’ attention to detail will be reflected in his rule as monarch? Let us know, and pass this on to your friends, family and other royal fans!