CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall, has confessed she tried to escape the night before making her first major public speech. Despite having become one of the most important and hard-working members of the Royal Family over the past years, Camilla revealed she continues not to enjoy making speeches. In a candid interview, the Duchess detailed the extent to which she dislikes taking the lectern, even if it is a key requirement of her job as a senior royal.
In an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Camilla said: “I get petrified making speeches. “I hate every moment of it. People always say it’ll get better and sometimes I find it’s all right if I really know my subject, but sometimes [I get] that awful thing beforehand of really shaking and feeling seriously sick.”
Recounting how terrified she was in the hours prior to delivering her first official speech, the Duchess continued: “The first speech I ever made was about osteoporosis in Lisbon, before I was married, and the night before I was out of bed tying my sheets together to see if I could escape and go home. “I’m never going to enjoy it.”
Camilla referred to the poignant address she made in Portugal in May 2002, shortly after she was nominated President of The National Osteoporosis Society. Then known as Camilla Parker Bowles, she flew to Lisbon for the International Osteoporosis Foundations’ Women Leaders Roundtable Conference to speak about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Despite dreading the task, Camilla effectively cast a light on the issue dipping into her personal experience.
Recalling how osteoporosis affected her mother Rosalind Shand, who died aged 72 in 1994, Camilla said: “We watched in horror as she quite literally shrank before our eyes.” In a speech co-written by her father Major Bruce Shand, Camilla added: “She lost about eight inches in height and became so bent that she was unable to digest her food properly, leaving her with no appetite at all. “The quality of her life became so dismal and her suffering so unbearable that she just gave up the fight and lost the will to live.”
While she attended this event as a private individual, the Lisbon conference was seen at the time as a further step forward for the now Duchess in her path to defining herself as a public figure in her own right. Three years after the conference in Lisbon, Camilla and Prince Charles tied the knot during a civil ceremony held in April 2005. In her latest interview, Camilla admitted that, unlike her, Prince Charles likes delivering speeches.
She said: “My husband is very good; he loves it. “Because he’s a very good actor, I think. “You’ve got to have a bit of acting experience. “I was the worst actor in the whole school. “If I was given one line to say, it always came out backwards. “So I think speeches – no, they’re never going to be my favourite things.” After 17 years of work within the Firm focused on causes she backs, Camilla has been acknowledged for her sense of duty by the Queen.