It's no secret that Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles's relationship has been a point of contention for decades. What many don't realize is that before their affair and the battle of public approval began, they struggled with getting Camilla's parents on their side. Namely, Camilla's father, Major Bruce Shand.
Camilla's Father, Major Bruce Shand
Major Bruce Shand, Camilla's dad, was many things. Most notably, he was a dedicated officer in the British Army. He is as being a "shy man," despite his high rank in the military. During his time in the British Army, he served as a second lieutenant in the 12th Royal Lancers and earned two Military Crosses — for junior Army officers. During World War II, he fought in North Africa and France. While engaging in battle in El Alamein, Egypt, he was captured by Nazi forces and remained a prisoner until the war's end in 1945.
Back in Britain a year later, he married his sweetheart, Rosalind Cubitt. Together, they had three children: Camilla, now 71, Annabel, now 69, and Mark, who died at 62 following . After having children, Major Bruce decided to settle down and enter the wine business. He eventually became partner at the Mayfair wine merchants firm.
In the early 1970s, he took on a new role as the Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, where his duties included looking after the royal family when they visited his assigned area. His crucial role — paired alongside his impressive military career — meant that his family was welcomed by Britain's "in" crowd.
In 1966, Camilla was introduced to Andrew Parker Bowles, a lieutenant who served in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Royal Horse Guards. They began dating, but their relationship had its rocky moments, as Andrew was often away on duty.
As the years progressed, Bruce reportedly became impatient with his daughter's courtship. The war hero wanted Andrew to settle down and marry his daughter. To seal the deal, Sally Bedell Smith, author of , reports that Bruce and Andrew's brother worked together to publish an engagement notice in The Times which pressured Andrew to propose.
When Charles and Diana's marriage began to crumble in the early '90s and the Prince of Wales and Camilla rekindled their romance, he didn't appear to be a huge fan of the future king. In fact, at one point, Bruce had a private meeting with Charles where he allegedly reproached him for "ruining his daughter's life" and reduced him to tears, according to .
The cavalry officer did eventually come around though, later that Charles "came across as very fair-minded and sincere." He even went as far as to say that he had "no doubt that he [Charles] will make a perfect king." Until his death at 89 years old in 2006, reports that the Major was known for defending his daughter against anyone who tried to vilify her.
Camilla's Mother, Rosalind (Cubitt) Shand
Camilla's mom was the daughter of Roland Cubitt, a notable member of British aristocracy. reports that her mother came from money largely thanks to her great-grandfather, who made his fortune helping build Mayfair, Pimlico, and Belgravia in London. Rosalind's mother, Sonia Cubitt, also happened to be one of the daughters of Alice Keppel (King Edward VII's famous mistress).
In terms of her demeanor, she was "uniquely sweet and patient." She worked for an adoption agency and was also a frequent volunteer who helped children with disabilities at the Chailey Heritage Foundation, according to .
In comparison to Camilla's father, not much is written about Rosalind nor is it clear where she stood on her daughter's tumultuous love triangle. Camilla did admire her mother, who tragically passed away at 72 to osteoporosis in 1994. She and Camilla's father were happily married for 48 years.
"Seeing someone you love die slowly, in agony, and knowing nothing about the disease that killed them is heartbreaking," she penned in an emotional article roughly 17 years later. To fight the vicious bone disease and honor her mother and grandmother (who also died of osteoporosis), Camilla now spends much of her time leading the National Osteoporosis Society as president.