The place where Camilla feels most ‘at home’: Queen Consort retreated to Ray Mill House – which she bought after her divorce for £850k – where she can ‘kick off her shoes’, ‘cook in her dressing gown’ and enjoy a ‘big G&T’
- Queen Consort Camilla arrived at Ray Mill House in Wiltshire earlier this week following death of the Queen
- Bought the six-bedroom property after her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles in the mid-1990s
- Earlier this year, Kate Middleton photographed Camilla for Country life cover celebrating her 75th birthday
- Insiders previously told how she can ‘kick off her shoes’ at the property and relax in her dressing gown
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
Amid a grueling week for the Queen Consort as she continues to support her husband King Charles III and mourn the loss of her mother-in-law, the Queen, she has returned to her country mansion of Ray Mill House – a place she is known to love and consider her true ‘home.’
Camilla, 75, bought the property in 1996 for £850,000, with the proceeds of her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles, and it is a welcome respite from Highgrove, which is only a 15-minute drive away.
The Queen Consort travelled to the Grade II listed property in Wiltshire on Wednesday afternoon.
It is thought that Camilla will continue residing at Ray Mill House, which is not an official part of the Royal estate, as she has done for years, following her husband’s ascension to the throne.
The Queen Consort is known to feel most at ‘home’ in the six-bedroom country-pile, with insiders previously saying she can ‘kick off her shoes’, enjoy a G&T and walk around in her dressing gown at the property.
Ray Mill has provided an informal gathering point where she can invite friends and family, especially her grandchildren, far away from the royal circus.
After a grueling week for the Queen Consort as she continues to support her husband King Charles III and mourn the loss of her mother-in-law, the Queen, she has returned to her country mansion of Ray Mill House – a place she is known to love and consider her true ‘home’
Camilla bought the property in 1996 for £850,000, with the proceeds of her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles, and it is a welcome respite from Highgrove, which is only a 15-minute drive away.
She lived there between 1996 and 2003, and has kept it as a country base when required.
Since her 2005 marriage, Camilla has sensibly insisted on maintaining a separate home, stripped of royal servants and the inevitable palaver her husband attracts wherever he goes.
Owning it has unquestionably contributed to her ease of mind, and to the success of her marriage.
The Duchess of Cornwall uses her historic property to get away from husband Prince Charles’s Highgrove House estate, which is open to the public in the summer months and receives more than 30,000 visitors a year.
One source previously told Express columnist Adam Helliker: ‘At Ray Mill she can sit down with a big G&T, kick of her shoes and watch Coronation Street, which Charles loathes.
‘She also doesn’t have to bother about how the place looks – Charles is so fussy about tidiness, while she leaves her stuff all over the place. She doesn’t need her cushions plumped all the time.’
And another told Sebastien Shakespeare: ‘That house is where she can cook scrambled eggs in her dressing gown and be among those she loves with not a jot of ceremony or anyone looking at her. It is home.’
Insiders have previously revealed how Camilla feels she can treat the property as her ‘home’ and she is likely to continue to spend time there as Queen Consort (pictured in the gardens earlier this year)
Meanwhile she has even hosted momentous family occasions at the property, including her daughter Laura’s wedding reception to Harry Lopes in 2006.
Camilla, who is also mother to Tom Parker Bowles, is known to love being a grandmother and spending time away from the royal spotlight with her grandchildren at the property.
Camilla is a grandmother of five, including Eliza, 12. and Gus and Louis, 10, who are the children of Camilla’s daughter Laura and her husband Harry.
Meanwhile she is also grandmother to Tom’s children Lola, 12, and Freddy, 10.
She also has three step-grandchildren – Prince William’s sons George, 5, and Louis, 7 months, and daughter Charlotte, 3.
Her grandchildren are kept largely out of the public spotlight and it appears likely she will be keen to continue spending time with them at her Ray Mill House home as she takes on the role of Queen Consort.
Earlier this year, in a moment which indicated her deep affection for the property, the then Duchess of Cambridge photographed Camilla at the home for a special edition of Country Life celebrating her 75th birthday.
The cover image shows a relaxed and smiling Queen Consort, wearing a blue and white floral dress and cardigan with minimal jewellery (as well as her trusted Fitbit fitness tracker). A keen gardener, she is sitting, smiling and relaxed, holding a trug filled with pelargoniums.
A second portrait, also taken by Kate, is an informal shot of Camilla walking through forget-me-nots in the gardens.
Meanwhile a behind-the-scenes shot of the photoshoot revealed the then Duchess of Cambridge taking the image on the lawn of Camilla’s home, while the country pile could be seen in the background.
Camilla shares a love of gardening with her husband. She recently told Homes and Gardens magazine how much she enjoyed planting, weeding and just being creative.
She said, ‘It’s just one of the most relaxing things anyone can do. Go into the garden, get on with it.’
The Queen Consort is known to feel most at ‘home’ in the six-bedroom country-pile, with insiders previously saying she can ‘kick off her shoes’, enjoy a G&T and walk around in her dressing gown at the property
While the Queen Consort has rarely offered a glimpse inside the property, she had photographs taken at the Wiltshire home to mark her 75th birthday
Camilla is understood to have loved the freedom the property allows her, and the opportunity it gives her to spend time with her children and grandchildren (pictured left and right, in the gardens of Ray Mill)
The day she spent in the Wiltshire property this week will have been a welcome reprieve to the Queen, as she prepares for a busy weekend of engagements ahead of the Queen’s state funeral on Monday.
The Queen Consort has reportedly been nursing a broken toe throughout her execution of duties at the King’s side.
Camilla suffered the injury prior to the Queen’s death and has been in ‘quite a lot of pain’, according to The Daily Telegraph.
A source told the newspaper she has just been ‘getting on’ with the job of supporting the King during an emotionally and physically gruelling week.
‘It is unfortunate timing to say the least but she’s been an absolute trouper,’ the source reportedly told the paper.
The PA news agency approached the King’s spokesman for comment on his wife’s condition and was told: ‘We won’t comment on medical conditions.’
Later today, the royal couple are due to visit Wales – the King’s first visit since he ascended to the throne.
The King and Camilla will attend a service of prayer and reflection at Llandaff Cathedral before receiving condolences at the Welsh parliament, the Senedd.
He will later hold a private audience with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and the presiding officer at Cardiff Castle, although a protest against the monarchy is expected outside.
Charles will then attend a reception hosted by the Welsh Government, before returning to Buckingham Palace in the evening to host faith leaders in the Bow Room.
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