You would think a palace would have plenty of rooms for King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla to find private space. But it’s not enough for the new monarch and his wife, who have kept separate homes since they married in 2005.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the king, 73, would be taking a day of private reflection amid the national mourning for his mother, Queen Elizabeth, who died Sept. 9 — at his nine-bedroom country manor, Highgrove, more than 100 miles from London.
Camilla, however, was not to accompany him. Instead, the 75-year-old went to Ray Mill House — the six-bedroom place she bought in 1996, following her split from first husband Andrew Parker Bowles.
“They are a very close couple so this is nothing to do with any tensions between them,” a royal insider told The Post of the king and queen consort. “Camilla does have her own room at Highgrove, but she very rarely stays there. When they are in the countryside, she prefers to be at Ray Mill House where she not only is close to her family but also maintains her stables. That is just the way things have always been with them.”
Royal commentator Joshua Rom told The Post: “The two of them have undertaken an incredibly grueling schedule which would impact anyone, let alone people who are in their 70s. So it is no wonder that when they had 24 hours off, they would both go to the places where they can kick off their shoes and relax.”
While the couple’s main residence has long been at Clarence House, Camilla has been able to lead a quieter second life at her country “bolthole,” a considerably more cozy home said to be worth nearly $1 million. It’s where she keeps her beloved horses and often hosts her son, Tom, and daughter, Laura, as well as her five grandchildren.
“Amid all the pomp and ceremony of royal life, Ray Mill is the place where she is just the Camilla who pops to the supermarket and where she can relax with her grandchildren,” Rom said. “It is where she can retain a portion of herself.”
The importance of Ray Mill House — which is a 20-minute drive away from Highgrove — to Camilla was signaled earlier this year when Kate, the new Princess of Wales, took a photograph of the queen consort there for Country Life magazine.
Camilla said in the accompanying story that she cherished her moments at Ray Mill because it meant she was able to do the school run for her youngest granddaughter, Eliza Lopes, 14, whose mother, Laura, got married at the house.
“One grandchild is at school very near my house, so when I am in Wiltshire and her parents are away, I can nip over and pick her up and take her home,” Camilla said.
Even when Camilla and Charles live together — be it in London, where they will eventually move from Clarence House to Buckingham Palace, or at Highgrove House, or at Charles’ Birkhall Estate in Scotland — they keep separate bedrooms, as is the traditional royal way.
On the Queen’s yacht Britannia, only one room had a double bed — and that was reserved for honeymooners.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said the fact that Charles and Camilla are able to take time off from each other is evidence of how in tune they are. “This is a couple who are ideal for each other. They are a similar age and have the same sense of humor, same attitudes, same friends, same interests … and they both know that sometimes you need a bit of space,” he told The Post.
Added the royal insider: “It has been a very tough time for everyone and I think the whole world can see how Camilla is being strong for Charles, and helping him be the king he wants to be. She has always been such a support to him, but it is not surprising she would also want some of her own space.”
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