Camilla's Makeovers: Looks, Image

She's only in the U.S. for a week, but Princes Charles' new bride, Camilla, packed 40 outfits for the trip.

The Early Show Elizabeth Palmer explains that it's part of an effort to overhaul Camilla's image from "the other woman" in Charles' marriage to Princess Diana, to that of a full-fledged royal.

Even by the standards of royal visits, Palmer observes, the preparations for this U.S. tour were elaborate, starting back in the spring, with Charles' and Camilla's wedding.

"Seriously," says Gyles Brandreth, author of "Charles and Camilla, Portrait of an Affair," "one of the reasons that Charles and Camilla got married this year is because of this trip to the United States of America. He could either go on his own, or he could go as a married man. He couldn't go with his mistress-slash-girlfriend in tow. That was made clear to him."

Charles and Camilla first met at a polo match in 1970, Palmer says. Their friendship, and secret love affair, spanned more than 30 years. But because they both were married to other people, Camilla rarely emerged from her own world of horses and hounds, into the public arena.

The one exception was to champion the cause of osteoporosis, a disease that killed her mother in 1994.

In 2002, Camilla said, "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."

More than a royal patron, say those who work with her, Camilla has a genuine common touch.

"I would imagine that it's the public speaking part that she feels is hardest to do," suggests Professor Cyrus Cooper of the U.K. Osteoporosis Society. "Whenever she's been called upon to interact with patients with osteoporosis, I cannot think of an occasion when she has not left a patient feeling a lot better for having spoken with her."

Nowadays, Palmer points out, with more glamorous receptions than hospital visits in her diary, Camilla has opted for a makeover.

Says Hilary Alexander, fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph, "She's had highlights done, and her hair looks a lot softer. … She has regular manicures, she has facials, and she's worked quite closely with Robinson Valentine on working out the kind of wardrobe that works."

And, Palmer says, it has worked. Slowly, she's established herself as a good sport who enjoys a joke, and even has considerable style.

"She's a very glamorous woman," remarks Col. Bob Richardson-Aitken, a friend of Camilla "It would be quite inappropriate for me to say she's sexy because, of course, I shouldn't say that, but she is very, very glamorous."

As for Charles, royal watchers say he's finally a happy man, Palmer reports. Twelve years ago, he toured America as Lady Diana's husband. This time, he's the main event, accompanied by a doting wife.

"She, in a way, is the Barbara Bush of the modern British royal family," says Brandreth, the author. "She's cozy, she's warm, she's supportive and, when you get to know her, she's a little bit sassy."

Concludes Palmer, "Middle-aged and bruised by scandal, Camilla may not look like the fairytale princess, but she has got her prince and, it seems, a happy ending."
  • Gina Pace

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