1991: Camilla favoured a natural, if slightly ungroomed, look. A world accustomed to dazzling Diana felt Camilla could never fill her shoes
Photo: © Alphapress.com
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2005: With carefully streaked highlights, a softer complexion and dazzling smile, Camilla’s makeover is subtle but very effective
Photo: © Rex

“Camilla has had her teeth capped and whitened,” a fashion designer told HELLO!. “It’s noticeable she now smiles a lot more”
Photo: © Alphapress.com

7 APRIL 2005

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Her teeth are more pearly, her face softer and her wardrobe has changed from country tweeds to couture. Camilla Parker Bowles has undergone an amazing transformation over the past few years.

In the 1990s, while she stayed on the sidelines of Prince Charles’s life, she was more often snapped in down-at-heel loafers and old, patterned socks. A world accustomed to dazzling Diana felt Camilla could never fill her Jimmy Choo shoes.

In 1992, soon after her affair with Charles was revealed, one newspaper sniped: “She always looks as if she had just stepped off a horse. She never wears make-up and doesn’t care too much about clothes.”

Her friend, novelist Jilly Cooper, put this down to a lack of vanity. “When you stay with her, she wanders around at breakfast in her dressing gown, wearing no make-up and her nail varnish is chipped.”

All that was soon to change, starting around 2001 when it became clear that her position in the Prince’s life was “non-negotiable”. Accompanied by Charles’s friend Antonia, the Marquess of Douro, Camilla attended Chloe’s spring show in Paris. Suddenly a world of wonderful fashion opened up and she began buying big-occasion clothes from designers like Anthony Price.

Where once for an important party she’d have chosen a strapless ballgown – a fashion disaster for women of a certain age – she began covering her shoulders and arms with black lace cocktail dresses with lowish necklines which showed off her cleavage. By day, she chose soft pastel suits which flattered her fair colouring.

One fashion expert says: “She got a lot of help because fashion houses like Valentino, Versace, Armani and Chanel began offering Camilla the best items from each new collection. If she decides to wear some, Prince Charles always pays because he doesn’t want his future wife accepting freebies.”

Over the past few months, Camilla has also been steadily losing weight – over a stone, by some estimates. But an updated wardrobe and a slimmer figure are only part of the new-look Camilla. For years she has been a client of top London colourist Jo Hansford, who keeps her blonde hair carefully streaked with highlights. Jo, who also counts Elizabeth Hurley and Angelina Jolie among her clients, says: “Camilla’s hair is very fine and can be difficult to manage, which is why I use bleach to give the hair body and oomph.”

As she made final preparations in the week before her wedding, Camilla was seen emerging from Jo’s Mayfair salon with a scarf hiding her hair. Jo told HELLO!: “I put a mix of creamy and honey blonde highlights through her hair using L’Oréal colour.

“I always advise brides to keep to their natural look, not to veer too far from a style with which they feel comfortable. That way they can concentrate on enjoying their day and not worrying about their hair.

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