Pet dogs join Charles and Camilla in picture to mark 15th wedding anniversary
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary by releasing a touching new portrait of themselves together at Birkhall, holding Camilla’s beloved pet dogs.
Charles and Camilla were reunited on Monday after the 72-year-old duchess came out of a 14-day self-isolation on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.
The royal couple faced a worrying time after the prince fell ill with coronavirus, but heir to the throne Charles, 71, has recovered after having mild symptoms.
The photo taken on Wednesday morning – the day before their anniversary – shows the smiling prince and duchess seated side by side in the front porch of their Scottish country retreat, with Jack Russell terriers Bluebell and Beth.
It is the first time the couple, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, have been pictured together since it was announced Charles had caught the Covid-19 illness.
Camilla, dressed in blue denim jeans, an open-necked pink shirt, pale blue jumper and navy suede boots, is holding Bluebell on her lap, while the prince, in an open-necked blue shirt, navy jacket, olive green trousers and fawn suede loafers, has an alert-looking Beth in his arms.
Both dogs were rescued by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, of which Camilla is royal patron.
The duchess has written of Beth and Bluebell in the past: “They are family, friends and ever-faithful companions and, just like anyone else with a passion for dogs, I can’t imagine life without them.”
The prince has a plaster on the end of one of his middle fingers, but Clarence House declined to comment as to why.
The photograph was taken by a member of staff.
The couple, like the Queen who is staying at Windsor Castle, are operating with a reduced household.
The prince spent seven days isolating after being diagnosed on March 25, and finished just over a week ago.
Camilla, who tested negative for the Covid-19 disease, isolated for a fortnight in keeping with advice.
Any private celebrations for their decade-and-a-half-long marriage – their crystal anniversary – on Thursday will be low key as the pair socially distance from friends and family like the rest of the country.
Camilla has paid tribute to the thousands of people who have registered as NHS volunteers, even phoning 85-year-old Doris Winfield from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, who has been self-isolating, for a chat.
The prince, who opened the NHS Nightingale hospital in London by video link on Friday, has spoken of the “strange, frustrating and often distressing” experience of being without friends and relatives while suffering from coronavirus.
The prince and the duchess – formerly Camilla Parker Bowles – wed in a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall on April 9 2005, after a relationship spanning more than 30 years.
The ceremony was followed by a blessing in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The couple spent their honeymoon at their beloved hideaway Birkhall, which is nestled in a picturesque glen on the Queen’s private estate.
At first, former royal mistress-turned-HRH Camilla took tentative steps as she adjusted to royal life.
In the 1990s, she was dubbed a marriage wrecker and the “other woman” and held responsible for the breakdown of Charles’s relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Now 15 years on, Camilla, one of the most senior female members of the royal family, has carved out her own charitable role, and appeared alongside the prince and the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament.
She focuses on raising awareness of osteoporosis, promoting literacy, and supporting survivors of sexual assaults and domestic abuse.
Described as witty, warm, down to earth and fun, she is adored by Charles, her children Tom and Laura, and her five grandchildren who call her by the nickname GaGa.
The prince – the father of the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex – is the nation’s longest serving heir to the throne.
Sensitive and with a strong social conscience, he is known for his charity work and environmental campaigning.
He also admits – in his own words – to being an “inveterate interferer and meddler” for his outspoken views on many different matters and causes.