Inside Camilla's Birkhall sitting room

Inside Camilla’s Birkhall sitting room: Duchess of Cornwall keeps family close with a hand-painted portrait of Prince Charles and photos of her grandchildren, alongside a squirrel ornament and bird of prey tapestry

  • Duchess of Cornwall, 72, confessed to missing grandchildren during lockdown in call earlier this week
  • Camilla is patron of Silver Line, a 24-hour helpline for older people feeling lonely or in need of support 
  • Has been enjoying spending time outside in the garden with the Prince of Wales in their Scottish home
  • Took the call in a room with her dog Beth on her lap, surrounded by nostalgic photographs of her family

The Duchess of Cornwall offered fans a rare glimpse inside a cosy sitting room in the Scottish home she shares with Prince Charles yesterday. 

Camilla Parker Bowles, 72, shared a photograph of her on a call to Silver Line, a 24-hour helpline for older people feeling lonely or in need of support, which she represents as patron.

The duchess chatted to a 90-year-old from Hampshire, only identified by her first name Betty, who has spoken to the royal in the past, as well as Silver Line founder Dame Esther Rantzen, and confessed to missing her five grandchildren during lockdown.

The photograph captured Camilla relaxing in an armchair in a room at Birkhall, the couple’s residence on Balmoral, the Queen’s estate in Aberdeenshire. The home previously belonged to Charles’ much-loved grandmother, the Queen Mother. 

A close look at the image reveals how Camilla has surrounded herself with family photographs, animal trinkets and even a hand-painted portrait of Prince Charles.   

Family first for Camilla! 1. A hand-painted portrait of Prince Charles; 2. A photograph of the Changing of the Guards at St James’s Palace; 3. Camilla’s five grandchildren from her first marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles: Gus, Louis, Eliza Lopes, Lola and Freddy; 4. A bird of prey tapestry 5. Model of a red squirrel wearing reading glasses; 6. Photo of Camilla with her daughter Laura Lopes at her wedding; 7. Beth, one of the duchess’ beloved rescue Jack Russells from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

A hand-painted portrait of Prince Charles

In the centre of a desk littered with papers and magazines situated behind Camilla is a portrait of her husband.

The painting, which is encased in a gold frame and sits atop a mini easel, shows a younger Prince Charles – though the artist is unknown.

Taking into account the pale khaki colour clothing he is wearing, along with what appears to be a strap around his neck to hold binoculars, it may have been inspired by photographs of Charles on safari in Kenya in February 1971. 

It could be a self-portrait, given the prince is a keen painter – though he tends to prefer landscapes and works with watercolours. 

Princess Eugenie and Charles’ daughter-in-law Kate Middleton are also talented artists within the Royal Family, while Camilla’s daughter Laura is an art curator, so she could be the artist behind the painting. 

A painting on the desk, which is encased in a gold frame and sits atop a mini easel, shows a younger Prince Charles, though the artist is unknown

2. A photograph of the Changing of the Guards at St James’s Palace

Next to the portrait of Charles is a photograph – also positioned on an easel – showing the traditional Changing of the Guards ceremony, most likely at St James’s Palace.

The palace is attached to Charles and Camilla’s grand London residence, Clarence House, where the couple spend the majority of their time while working.

The photograph shows a gentleman in between two guards carrying a rainbow-coloured, egg-shaped object, though it’s difficult to make out who he is or exactly what he’s holding. 

3. Camilla’s five grandchildren from her first marriage 

The Duchess of Cornwall appears to have placed a snap of her in a garden with her five grandchildren from her first marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles inside the frame of her Changing of the Guards photograph.

Her daughter Laura Lopes is mother to Eliza, 12, and 10-year-old twins Gus and Louis, while her son Tom has two children – Lola, 12, and Freddy, 10. 

Camilla, known by the nickname GaGa, said during her call to Silver Line this week: ‘I really miss my grandchildren. That’s the really strange thing about [lockdown], not being able to see your grandchildren and giving them a hug.’

To spend time alone with her children and grandchildren, the duchess still maintains her home Ray Mill House, where she resided from 1995 to 2003. 

The Duchess of Cornwall appears to have placed a garden snap of her with her five grandchildren from her first marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles inside the frame of her Changing of the Guards photograph. Her daughter Laura Lopes is mother to Eliza, 12, and 10-year-old twins Gus and Louis, while her son Tom has two children – Lola, 12, and Freddy, 10

4. A bird of prey tapestry 

Hanging on the wall behind Camilla is a large tapestry of a bird of prey – quite fitting for a home in rural Scotland.

Her husband Prince Charles is a keen environmentalist, and has been infamously photographed with majestic birds of prey on numerous occasions.

5. Model of a red squirrel wearing reading glasses

A sweet ornament of a red squirrel with a pair of reading glasses perched on the end of its nose sits atop a side table behind the door – another nod to her husband’s fondness for the natural world.

Red squirrels are incredibly endangered and protected in the UK, and a particular favourite of the Prince of Wales. He has previously said he he adores the red squirrels that reside on the Balmoral estate and even allows them inside his home.

Charles had hoped to build a haven for the creatures in woodland at Dumfries House, near Cumnock in Ayrshire. However his plans were dashed last month when the trust couldn’t answer Scottish National Heritage’s query about where the squirrels would come from and how they would be kept separate from their grey enemies. 

6. Photo of Camilla with her daughter Laura Lopes at her wedding

Beside the squirrel figurine is a photograph of the duchess with Laura Lopes, on her daughter’s wedding day to Harry Lopes in Wiltshire in 2006.

The sweet frame shows mother and daughter beaming beside each other, with proud Camilla wearing a dove grey pleated dress with a cream floral hat.

Beside the squirrel figurine is a photograph of the duchess with Laura Lopes, on her daughter’s wedding day to Harry Lopes in Wiltshire in 2006


Camilla wore a dove grey pleated dress with a cream floral hat to the nuptials (left), while bride Laura wore a V-neck wedding dress with fluted sleeves designed by Anna Valentine (right)

Laura wore a V-neck wedding dress with fluted sleeves designed by Anna Valentine, who also created Camilla’s ensemble for her nuptials to Prince Charles in 2005. 

The photograph is in a silver Celtic-design frame befitting of its placement within the couple’s Scottish abode.

7. Beth, one of the duchess’ Jack Russells 

During the phone call, the duchess cuddled Beth, one of her beloved rescue dogs from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Camilla has two Jack Russells – the other one named Bluebell – and is a huge fan of the breed. In 2012 on a visit to the south west London rescue shelter, she told Paul O’Grady: ‘I love Jack Russells, they are such intelligent dogs.’

She continued: ‘Beth is the sweetest dog with the nicest temperament, she so laid-back. Bluebell is much more feisty but lots of fun. She seems to think she is a lot bigger than she actually and is a bit of a toughie. They are very happy and love each other, though, which is the main thing.’

Camilla and Charles posed with the two dogs in a recent photograph taken on the steps of Birkhall to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary – the first official image of the couple released after the prince’s battle with coronavirus. 

Camilla and Charles posed with the two dogs in a recent photograph taken on the steps of Birkhall to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary – the first official image of the couple released after the prince’s battle with coronavirus

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