Ed­i­tor’s let­ter:

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - Michele Craw­shaw, ED­I­TOR mcraw­shaw@bauer­me­dia.co.nz

from the desk of Michele Craw­shaw

WITH THE NEWS last month that Prince Philip is fi­nally go­ing to re­tire in Au­gust – at 96! – comes the con­sid­er­a­tion about what next for the royal fam­ily.

The Queen will no longer have Philip, her “rock”, by her side for her many of­fi­cial royal en­gage­ments, as she has had for so many times dur­ing their 69 years of mar­riage.

Philip, who jok­ingly de­scribed him­self as “the world’s most ex­pe­ri­enced plaque un­veiler”, has un­der­taken 22,191 solo en­gage­ments and given 5493 speeches in his of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity, mak­ing him one of the busiest mem­bers of the royal fam­ily.

So he’s well and truly earned a rest. He has ad­mit­ted to strug­gling with his mem­ory as he gets older: “I can’t re­mem­ber names and things. It’s bet­ter to get out be­fore you reach your sell-by date,” he said, hint­ing at im­pend­ing re­tire­ment back on his 90th birth­day.

The Queen will now at­tend more solo en­gage­ments, or be ac­com­pa­nied by younger mem­bers of the royal fam­ily. She has al­ready scaled down her own work­load a lit­tle – hav­ing turned 91 in April – hand­ing some of her royal du­ties to Prince Wil­liam, Kate and Prince Harry.

Her heir, Prince Charles, who is pa­tron or pres­i­dent of more than 400 or­gan­i­sa­tions, has also upped his royal work­load. And that’s only likely to in­crease. No doubt he’ll be thank­ful for the strong sup­port of his beloved wife of 12 years, Camilla.

The Duchess of Corn­wall has been Charles’ main­stay over the years – as well as forg­ing her own path, in­clud­ing fight­ing for vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and sex­ual abuse.

The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly’s Juliet Rieden was granted rare ac­cess to spend two weeks with Camilla re­cently, criss­cross­ing Bri­tain and at­tend­ing some of her many en­gage­ments in the course of her im­por­tant work. In this month’s is­sue, Juliet writes about the Camilla we don’t of­ten see, her pri­vate un­der-the-radar mis­sions, her re­la­tion­ship with Charles, and the grad­ual change in the pub­lic’s perception of her since their mar­riage in 2005. She also talks to the Duchess’ friends about “the real Camilla”.

It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the woman who cel­e­brates her 70th birth­day next month and may one day – if pub­lic opinion al­lows – be Queen.

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