Britain has now entered a new era — the era of King Charles III. That puts Charles’ wife, Camilla, in the position of Queen Consort, something that would have been unthinkable decades ago. But where does that leave her children? Wait, are you surprised to hear she even has kids? She has two: a very quiet and private daughter, Laura, and a more outspoken son, Tom. And following their father-in-law’s ascent to the throne, all eyes are on what their positions in the royal family look like now.
Before she married the then-Prince Charles, Camilla was the wife of an army officer called Andrew Parker Bowles; that’s where she got the surname by which she’s still known. He’s the father of Tom and Laura.
But as we all very much know, the marriage between Camilla and Andrew didn’t work out. And neither did the relationship between Charles and his wife at the time, Princess Diana.
Everything that happened between Charles, Diana, Camilla, and Andrew is well-documented. While in his unhappy marriage to the Princess of Wales, Charles had an affair with Camilla, whom he had dated previously, and for whom he’d always carried a torch.
Diana committed adultery too, as did Andrew Parker Bowles, who actually ended up marrying his mistress after divorcing Camilla.
Perhaps everything would have worked out better if Charles had married Camilla in the first place, but allegedly she wasn’t considered a suitable bride for the royal heir. People on the outskirts of the royal family have said that the institution headed by the Queen simply wouldn’t have allowed it, no matter how in love the couple might have been..
But that changed, of course. The heir to the throne finally wed his longtime love in 2005, and gradually Camilla became accepted as part of the royal family, if not quite a replacement for the beloved Diana.
And her two kids, who were almost unheard of before, suddenly found themselves in the seemingly envious position of being Charles’ stepchildren.
Before, Tom and Laura had both led pretty normal lives, although they had also grown up extremely wealthy — as people who moved in royal circles. Let’s look at Laura first.
Not much is known about her, and chances are she likes it that way, but some tidbits have emerged over the years. For a start, there was her wedding.
Believe it or not, Laura married a former Calvin Klein model: Harry Lopes. So, she’s now Laura Lopes rather than Laura Parker-Bowles, which helps keep her even more out of the public eye.
The wedding took place in 2006 — one year after her mother wed Charles. And it was a big society event, attended by at least 500 guests, including Prince William and Prince Harry.
And likewise, Laura scored invites to William and Harry’s weddings, too. Her daughter Eliza — she has three children in all — was even one of William and Kate’s bridesmaids! Eagle-eyed royal watchers might have spotted a little girl being held up by Charles when the family posed on the balcony: that was Eliza..
That’s all a far cry from what things were allegedly like when Laura and the princes were kids. According to writer Katie Nicholl and her 2010 book William and Harry, “William and Laura used to have terrible fights over who was to blame for their broken homes.
William would blame Camilla for all the hurt she had caused his mother, which would send Laura into a rage.”
Nicholl went on, “Laura was not having any of it. She would take a hard line and fire back at William, ‘Your father has ruined my life.’” And worse, “When Charles telephoned Camilla at the family home in Wiltshire, Laura would pick up an extension and shout down the receiver, ‘Why don’t you stop calling mummy and leave our family alone?’”.
According to Nicholl, the young Laura “couldn’t care less that it was the Prince of Wales; she blamed him for breaking up her parents’ marriage and was not afraid to tell William so.” But it seems her perspective shifted as she grew into adulthood. She attended the 2005 wedding of her mother and Charles and posed for a photograph with her new stepbrothers and her older brother Tom..
Which brings us on to Tom! If you’re a foodie, perhaps you’ve heard of him independently of his connection to the royal family. He’s a food critic — and a very successful one at that.
He’s not only authored books about food, he’s also popped up on food-related reality shows and contests. So maybe you’ve spotted him channel-surfing at some point.
Tom’s had a bit of a difficult past. He remembered to The Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2017 that when he was a youngster “I was naughty, partied a bit hard.
When I was younger I got sacked all the time. But I loved eating and could just about string a sentence together, so I thought I could write about food.” And he could.
In that same interview it was indicated he perhaps wasn’t all that close to Charles, despite the fact that the King is actually his godfather as well as his stepfather. When asked what he called Charles before he ascended the throne he responded with “’Sir.’ Like, that’s his name.” William and Harry, on the other hand, were “both every bit as lovely and proper as you’d expect.”.
Still, Tom did also concede in the 2017 interview, “If my stepfather’s around, he’ll come out for dinner. I realize it’s not entirely normal, but I’m 42, I have two children, I have a career.
Still, it’s nice to know that if I haven’t spoken to my mum for two days, I can turn on the telly and see where she is.”
Throughout his career Tom has seemed happy to answer questions about his mother, stepfather and the whole royal system. In 2021 he told The Times newspaper, “I honestly don’t know if Mum will be called queen.
That hasn’t been decided. There are lots of interesting Sky documentaries about that I’m sure, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true.”
That was a fair thing to consider, because Camilla’s title had always seemingly been tied to her popularity. And once upon a time, Camilla was hated so much that people allegedly hurled food at her in her local supermarket.
During those days no-one thought in a million years that she would ever get to be Queen Consort.
Even though Camilla’s reputation improved a lot as the years went by without scandal, representatives of the royal family publicly said she would never be Queen Consort. As late in the game as 2020 the Palace’s PR people told The Times, “The intention is for the duchess to be known as Princess Consort when the prince accedes to the throne.”.
But things changed. In February 2022 Elizabeth released a statement saying, “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me.
And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
Camilla had gone from mistress to Queen Consort — very impressive. According to one insider who spoke to Us Weekly magazine, “Elizabeth was skeptical about Camilla when she married Charles and the circumstances were certainly challenging, but through her dedication and loyalty to The Firm, she has more than proved to her that she has what it takes.”.
Perhaps surprisingly, considering the whole “pelted with food” story, there was pretty much no outcry about the Queen’s big announcement. But there were plenty of rumors about how the change impacted the royals.
Titles are a huge, huge deal in the royal family — just look at what happened when Harry and Meghan Markle’s children weren’t given any.
Writer Christopher Anderson told Us Weekly magazine that the Queen Consort Camilla announcement had “driven a wedge” in the family and that William and Harry had been “completely blindsided.” But yet other, older interviews had indicated that the princes never remotely held a grudge against Camilla once they had become old enough to understand what had gone on between her and Charles..
Harry talked about his stepmother in an interview to mark his 21st birthday in 2005 and was very complimentary indeed. He said Camilla was “a wonderful woman and she’s made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing.” And he went on, “To be honest with you, she’s always been very close to me and William...
she’s not the wicked stepmother, I’ll say that right now.”
There’s a possibility, of course, that things had simply changed between 2005 and 2022 — especially since Harry had left the royal family amid a storm of controversy two years before the Queen passed away. But he’s done plenty of no-holds-barred interviews since stepping down, and he’s never once indicated any resentment at his stepmother or step-siblings during them..
But also it doesn’t actually matter who likes the situation or not — Camilla is Queen Consort. But what titles and privileges do her children get now? The answer may surprise you: they don’t get any at all.
That’s because, as grand and important as the title is, it doesn’t actually come with that much royal power. There’s not much Camilla can do as an individual; she’s very much secondary to Charles.
There was, though, a little speculation after the Queen Consort announcement that Camilla’s kids actually would get titles. In March, royal expert Brain Hoey spoke to the Daily Express newspaper and said, “I think what will be interesting, when Camilla becomes Queen, is what [will] happen with her children.
We have never, ever had children of a King or Queen who remained untitled.”
He went on, “I think they are bound to get some sort of a title. Charles, even though he said he wants to be a modernizer, he is also a traditionalist, very much a realist.
He quite likes ceremonial and he believes in the honor system in Britain and I think he will do whatever he feels it’s the correct formal thing to do at the time.”
But it didn’t happen like that. The Queen passed away in September 2022 and it marked the biggest change in the royal family in ages.
The King had his mother’s funeral and his own future coronation on his mind as the eyes of the entire world watched him. Understandably, his stepchildrens’ potential titles were low down on any to-do list he might have had.
In the weeks after Elizabeth’s death Hello! magazine’s royal correspondent Danielle Stacey wrote, “Charles’ stepchildren, Tom and Laura, will not receive royal titles as they are only related to the sovereign through his marriage to their mother, Camilla, and are not blood relations. And since it has widely been reported that Charles is in favor of a slimmed-down monarchy, he’s unlikely to bestow any other titles on his stepchildren.”.
And it seems Tom might have always known this. In 2019 during an interview with the TV show Good Morning Britain, he described himself and his sister as “not quite part of the royal family to be honest.” He went on, “My mother married into it.
She’s part of it. We’re the common children. We’re just on the side.”
But are they really that “common”? Now that Camilla is Queen Consort, they might find themselves being treated more like royalty than like private citizens with normal jobs and lives. Unfortunately, as many generations of royals will tell you, being treated like royalty doesn’t just mean getting perks.
It also means no privacy and constant press intrusion.
Tom knows all about that aspect of things, and he’s always hated it. In 2015 he did an interview with Tracey Grimshaw of 9 News Australia remembering his childhood.
He said, “We thought it was entirely normal growing up to have five or six paparazzi hanging round. We used to have a house in Wiltshire; there’d be fields but there was a public footpath that the paparazzi knew they could go on.”
He went on, “We’d get a pair of binoculars and say, ‘Look mummy, there’s five today’. It was entirely normal to be chased at high speed by these people on motorbikes or cars.
They’re bullies, half these people… when you’re coming out of an airport and they’re really winding you up, all I wanted to do is smack them in the face and beat the Hell out of them.”
Which leads to another question: are Tom and Laura entitled to security guards, like the royals have? Apparently the answer is another no. Majesty magazine editor Joe Little told website Page Six after the Queen’s death, “If they haven’t needed security up until now, they won’t get it when the reign changes — unless it’s needed.
But as a matter of course, they will not get security.”
Little went on, “Tom and Laura will attend their mother’s coronation, and inevitably there will be media scrutiny returning to them at that point. They must be aware of it, Camilla will be aware of it.
A lot of things will now change, and one of the downsides is that the newspapers will take more of an interest in them.”
But Tom’s always said he had to learn about the newspapers the hard way. He revealed in his 2015 interview, “There was no need to be coached [about the press] for me or my sister, because we are not part of the royal family, because we’re commoners, straight out commoners.” All he knew was “not to embarrass my mother by running down the street naked or shouting down with the Queen.”.
Neither Tom nor Laura has done that, luckily, and in the months following the Queen’s passing they simply kept a low profile and supported their mother. They didn’t even make any public statements about how their stepfather had become the new King.
Although Tom has a Twitter account with over 38K followers, he didn’t speak about the Queen’s death once.
And though both of them attended the Queen’s funeral, they kept quiet about that too. They simply joined the royal family at Westminster Abbey and paid their respects while the news cameras clicked.
It’s not known if either of them had actually met the Queen, but there was no denying how important she had been to the lives of their mother and stepfather.
That whole sense of discretion has won Tom and Laura praise in the press. Not long before the Queen’s funeral took place, royal expert Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills told the Daily Express, “Camilla’s children haven’t actually built any trade-off from their relationship with the Crown.
They have always been their own people, despite who their mother was dating and eventually married.”
Mace-Archer-Mills went on, “[Tom and Laura] have not used that royal connection as a tool to better themselves and this is why they’ve been able to fly under the radar to have very private lives. Because they have not capitalized on any sort of royal status, they have been able to enjoy that individuality.” Let’s hope they can continue to enjoy it..