Camilla ‘Shattered and Exhausted’ Dealing With King’s Cancer, Sources Say

Chris Jackson / Reuters
Chris Jackson / Reuters

Friends of Queen Camilla have told The Daily Beast that she is “absolutely shattered and exhausted” by the pressure of dealing with her husband King Charles’ cancer and leading the royal family, after it was revealed Camilla is taking this week off work for a foreign holiday.

However, the friend said she had not complained about the expectations placed on her and was “proud to support her husband.”

“She is absolutely shattered and exhausted by the turmoil of the past two months,” a friend of Camilla’s told The Daily Beast. “She is 76 years old, and her husband has just been diagnosed with cancer. Anyone would find that a lot to deal with, without the media scrutiny that comes with her position as well.”

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Another friend of the family told The Daily Beast: “Camilla has basically had to do everything in recent months, and it is no secret that it has been tiring. She has been under extraordinary pressure at a time in her life when most people are well into their retirement. You would never hear her moan about it because she knows it goes with the territory, but everyone is just very glad she is taking some time for herself, especially as this could go on for several more months.”

Camilla has been one of the few senior members of the family to continue carrying out a full roster of public engagements after Kate Middleton and Charles were both forced to step back from their duties due to ill health and William opted to take on a reduced workload to prioritize his family during his wife’s convalescence. The other senior members of the family still carrying out public duties are Charles’ sister, Princess Anne, his brother, Prince Edward, and Edward’s wife, Sophie.

Asked how Camilla felt about taking on so much more work than she had likely anticipated—Camilla has undertaken 13 official engagements since the king’s cancer diagnosis was announced on February 5, and has been the public face of the monarchy since then—one of her friends said, “It wasn’t what she anticipated but, as anyone who knows her will tell you, she is not a complainer. She is proud to support her husband. We are all just very happy that she has actually gone ahead and taken this week off.”

Asked if they knew where Camilla had gone, the friend would only say her destination was overseas and extremely private. The Daily Beast has not been able to confirm her destination. The palace did not respond to a request for comment.

King Charles and Queen Camilla leave Clarence House, the day after it was announced King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer, in London, Britain, February 6, 2024.

King Charles and Queen Camilla leave Clarence House, the day after it was announced King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer, in London, Britain, February 6, 2024.

Toby Melville/Reuters

There is little doubt however that her absence has left the royal family, which was already notably short-staffed before, looking even more threadbare.

While there are increasing calls in mainstream and social media for William to return to a fuller schedule of engagements, especially after he canceled a high-profile appearance at a memorial service for his godfather, the last king of Greece, last week, The Daily Beast has been told that William is determined to stick to his guns and maintain a light schedule until his wife is fully recovered, likely around Easter. The couple are not expected to travel abroad much this year, if at all.

Another source, however, questioned the optics of Camilla going on a foreign holiday when the royal family appears to be short-staffed and under pressure.

A former palace staffer told The Daily Beast, “I totally get Camilla taking time off, she needs it, but my personal view is that it will probably turn out to be a mistake for her to have got on a plane. The reason the queen never went abroad for holidays is that their staff just can’t protect their privacy overseas in the same way they can at the royal estates. With everything going on, it’s not the perfect time to be chilling by a pool. If she had stayed in the U.K. they wouldn’t have even had to announce anything.”

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