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Who was Alice Keppel? How Camilla is related to King’s former mistress

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall has only been a member of the Royal Family since 2005, but her relationship with Prince Charles was under the spotlight for several years before they tied the knot. Comparisons can be drawn between Camilla’s relationship with royalty and another famous high society woman, Alice Keppel.

Who was Alice Keppel?

Alice Keppel was a well-known socialite during the Edwardian era in the early 20th Century.

She was born into a prestigious family as Alice Frederica Edmonstone in 1868 and she was known as “Freddie” to her friends and family.

Alice later married army officer George Keppel, and it is believed he was content with Alice’s affairs.

George Keppel is thought to have said: “I do not mind what she does as long as she comes back to me in the end.”

Alice was renowned for her beauty and her dazzling personality, and in the late 1800s she caught the eye of the Prince of Wales, Edward.

The pair would instigate an affair prior to Edward’s accession to the throne, and the relationship lasted until Edward died in 1910.

Alice was said to be devastated by the death of Edward, and she and her husband left England later that year.

Alice died in 1947 at the age of 79 in Italy, where she was living at the time.

How was Alice Keppel related to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall?

Alice Keppel was Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s great-grandmother.

Alice Keppel and her husband George had two daughters, Violet and Sonia.

Sonia would marry Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe, and the couple had three children, including Rosalind Cubitt.

Rosalind would marry Bruce Shand and they welcomed their eldest child Camilla Shand in 1947.

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How did Camilla’s life echo Alice Keppel’s?

At a polo match, it has been widely reported that Camilla mentioned her great-grandmother’s affair with King Edward VII to Prince Charles.

She is thought to have said: “My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather. I feel we have something in common.”

Little did Camilla know at the time that she would also be painted by society as a ‘royal mistress’ in the years to follow.

Charles and Camilla are thought to have dated in the 1970s, but in 1973 Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles and in 1981 Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.

Charles’ relationship with Diana famously broke down, and Diana commented on the Prince’s affair with Camilla in Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story.

She told the biographer she had confronted Camilla at a party about the affair, stating: “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.

“She said to me: ‘You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’

“So I said, ‘I want my husband.’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way…and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot.'”

Although comparisons can be drawn between Camilla and Alice Keppel’s respective affairs with royalty, the outcome of Camilla’s relationship was starkly different.

Camilla and Andrew divorced in 1995, and Charles and Diana would divorce in 1996 after years of separation.

Although Camilla and Charles’ subsequent relationship was met with disapproval from swathes of the public, the couple would eventually tie the knot in 2005.

And although Camilla is unlikely to be Queen in the future, out of respect to the late Princess of Wales, it is expected that one day she will be the wife of King, which was never the case for Alice.

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