Duchess Camilla’s Birkhall office is a well-used, messy space, as it should be

Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing

While I still believe that the Windsors reacted poorly to the coronavirus pandemic in various ways, I have to admit that I’ve been somewhat moved by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in their isolation in Scotland. Yes, they never should have traveled to Scotland in the first place, especially since I’m 100% positive that Charles was already showing symptoms when he flew there. But in isolation, Charles has done some good stuff, like remotely opening up a field hospital, making a video where he spoke compassionately about the loneliness seniors feel in isolation, and reciting a Wordsworth poem for Radio 4.

Meanwhile, Camilla is out of isolation too, and Clarence House posted a photo of Camilla in her office, at her desk at Birkhall, and I LOVE it! Look at that messy, personal office! I was concerned by how little stuff is on royal desks – William and Kate’s desks looked basically unused, and Charles’ desk seemed remarkably clean (especially for a man who is known for his reams of correspondence). But Camilla’s office is a MESS! Look at the boxes and bags by the bookcase! And all the photos and photo frames! And all kinds of books and stacks of papers! That’s a real office which gets used all the time. Ten bucks says she has at least one flask hidden in a drawer! Not only that, Camilla apparently called some random senior lady (Doris Winfield) to chat about what the isolation has been like.

Items on Camilla’s crowded desk include a fun card with the words “Queen Bee” on the back, a bouquet of spring flowers on the right and a tin of Simpkins Nipits Licorice Pellets, a U.K. confection that is said to “clarify the voice and clear the throat.” Camilla, 72, came out of self-isolation on Monday. Despite not having COVID-19, she had to remain in isolation for 14 days after husband Prince Charles, 71, tested positive for the virus. She has been using the Houseparty app to connect with her two children and five grandkids.

Camilla, who is staying at her Scottish home Birkhall home with Charles, told Winfield that the most difficult thing about being in isolation was not being able to “hug” her grandchildren, Camilla and Charles’s office revealed Monday. The two women also talked about how much they both enjoyed a good book — particularly those by crime writer Agatha Christie.

Doris told Camilla that she speaks regularly to her three daughters, but that she lives alone and misses her friends and the active social life she used to enjoy.

“Having a chat with the HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meant the world to me. I’ve been incredibly lonely over the last couple of weeks and it was wonderful to talk to her. We talked about life in isolation and shared hobbies, she was very interested in my family and how I was coping without them. It’s really cheered me up!” Doris said in a statement.

The call came from Camilla in her role as President of The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

[From People]

Who would you rather have a phone chat with during your coronavirus isolation: Charles, Camilla, William, Kate or the Queen? I know who I would choose – I’d much rather speak to Charles or Camilla. Anyway, this is what the royals *should* be doing as they isolate. Making real calls, contributing what they can remotely, keeping up morale and showing off their messy offices.

Here’s Charles reciting William Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey.” I love this???

Royal visit to Sussex

The Prince Of Wales And The Duchess Of Cornwall Visit The London Transport Museum

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Clarence House.

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65 Responses to “Duchess Camilla’s Birkhall office is a well-used, messy space, as it should be”

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  1. Tessa says:

    Enough of the home office PR for royals already. The “talking on the phone” photo ops get annoying.

    • kgeo says:

      Where are the computers?! How can you get anything done at a desk without a computer? I haven’t seen a single one in any of these photos.

      • Granger says:

        I don’t think it’s strange there’s no computer on her desk. Although I’m sure the Royals all have laptops or other devices on which they can email friends and family or surf the Internet in their downtime, I really don’t think they have any need for work computers. It’s not like they need to schedule their own appointments or do their own research. They have assistants who schedule all of their meetings and calls, and provide them each morning with a calendar of where they need to be, what they need to do, and who they need to talk to, and lists of what they need to wear, what they need to say, and any relevant background information. In the story told here, another assistant (in another room or maybe even another building) would have dialed the number for Doris the Random Senior, talked to Doris first, then patched Camilla in — so it’s not like she even needed a phone number in front of her.

      • Tessa says:

        The royals have courtiers to assist them. Camilla would delegate the work. They are briefed ahead of time by courtiers as to their schedules and so on.

  2. GR says:

    What entertains me is that chaz and camz’s “isolation” certainly includes at *least* a dozen servants.

  3. Astrid says:

    This is obviously a well used room, unlike some we’ve seen recently

    • Rae says:


      • not so gullible says:

        Came here to say this – this is a real office and perhaps even a real phone call.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        That is what makes Camilla head & shoulders above so many. She had no problem making a “random” phone call to someone she “probably did not know” and had a delightful conversation. I am sure she is also a pure delight on her walkabouts with the random meeting and random chatting which truly is an inborn skill that cannot be learned and cannot be successfully faked.

    • Silas says:

      Kate’s “desk” was the console table in the front room of Apt 1A. People matched the photographs.

      IMO, William’s desk was a similar thing where they moved a bunch of furniture for the shot.

      Lol, these two claim to want privacy while releasing photographs of themselves. The Sussexes must have learned their own supposed issues with privacy from the future future King and Queen

    • Mumbles says:

      Those books on the shelves look mostly like photo or art books but I bet they’re hers and she’s actually opened them. Unlike the old-looking classic books on Kate’s desk.

    • Sid says:

      Yup. You can tell it’s an actual workspace. And regardless of anyone’s opinion on Camilla personally, she does put in work.

  4. S808 says:

    I rather talk to Camilla but after she’s had at least 3 glasses of wine. These photos don’t move me but camilla’s office looks well lived in which isn’t surprising cause we all know she actually does work.

    • Erinn says:

      Agreed on all counts.

      I actually quite like her office – it looks sort of like my aunts classroom when she was teaching. Lots of books and photos, pops of color, and never ‘perfect’ looking but never a mess either – just lived in.

    • Agree S808. Camilla for conversation and I’d listen to Charles recite any day! I definitely think Camilla is sitting in her working office. They say Charle’s desks tend to be crazy messy as he works frantically in a state of disorganization. I always assumed the photo of Charles had him sitting at his conference table, not his actual desk. Anyway, these two are real and show it.

  5. Lightpurple says:

    I love that print or drawing of a woman on the wall on the left. Also love all the pictures of dogs, horses, and babies. And the shopping bags on the floor. She uses that space. It’s hers. And if I had to get a phone call from any of them, it would be Camilla. We can talk about those dogs in the pictures.

  6. EB says:

    I love it, but I’d never get any work done there. I need a clean office to be productive.

  7. Alexandria says:

    Don’t they have laptops?

  8. TheOriginalMia says:

    That’s a well-used office. Puts William & Kate’s obvious stunt to shame.

    Good on Camilla for brightening Ms. Winfield’s day.

    • Tessa says:

      Camilla’s is just as much of a “stunt” as WIlliam’s and Kate’s IMO. She has her own place at Raymill where she sees her children and grandchildren. I just hope these “photo ops” don’t keep popping up for the Yorks, Wessexes, et al. Once is more than enough. IMO.

      • Wasabi says:

        Hah, I’d love if these office pics were meant as a shade. We love a shady stunt queen. Consort.

  9. lucy2 says:

    I’m a little jealous of the built in shelves and cabinet behind her, but otherwise, looks like a normal, actually used, home office.
    Of the group there now, I’d probably choose to chat with Camilla. She seems like more fun.

  10. Kyla says:

    My home office space and work office space are, and always have been, incredibly neat and tidy. No papers strewn about, no random bits and bobs on the floor or tossed around. I can assure you that I work damn hard in a very clean and sparse space. Let’s not equate a messy office as being the only indicator of work effort. But, yes William and Kate don’t seem to be the work hard types. I don’t need a photo of their office space to prove it.

    • Juniper says:

      I used to work in a place that had a clean desk policy because we were an office where trade secrets could get lifted. There were also locations requiring security clearance. If stuff wasn’t locked up, you were the one who “won” the opportunity to do the inspection next month. As a result, my desk is always clean when I leave it for the day.

  11. HufflepuffLizLemon says:

    Awww you can even see a Chuckit for the dogs!

  12. SJR says:

    Agreed Kayla.
    My entire house is tidy the majority of my adult life.
    I can’t relax or concentrate in a messy area.
    Can’t stand clutter or a room with items everywhere.

    My work experience has been in extremely detailed teams, we are required to keep our workspaces tidy and desks are often shared so if a member is out, anyone else can quickly find and complete tasks.

  13. pearlime says:

    Love the trash and empty boxes on the floor in the background. She even has some Harry Potter on the book shelves.

    I work from home now and made sure the first day that the background for my video conferences is quirky and interesting – and I usually make sure to wear a funny pin or something. After weeks of self isolation I’m tired of looking at my colleagues’ chins (so many unfortunate camera angles) and white walls.

  14. Eleonor says:

    I don’t think it’s messy, I think it’s a proper office with someone working.

  15. Leesa says:

    Love that poem read by Charles. Maybe both he and Meghan can get voice over work! :-)

    • Tessa says:

      I wish Charles would get Meghan and Harry back to the UK working.

      • Yoyo says:

        Why? When they were there he had no time for them.
        Every one should be entitled to happiness, if they were in in unhappy place, why should they go back to it.

    • Flamingo says:

      Meghan’s voiceover work is a lot.

    • Jamie says:

      I agree. I think he did that quite well. It was surprisingly soothing.

    • Feeshalori says:

      I concur, Charles’ voice is like melted chocolate. I can listen to him all day. I remember him doing that weather report, he made those forecasts sound so sexy! And to me, Camilla’s office reflects her casual, down to earth style. And do l spy what could be a price tag on the handle of that basket?

      • Tessa says:

        I don’t think Camilla ever was down to earth. I read her neighbors thought her rather snobbish.

      • Feeshalori says:

        To me, Camilla always gave off the vibe of a lady who doesn’t stand on ceremony and can chat up anyone with a drink in her hand. For me, that sounds pretty down to earth. I can’t speak for the neighbors, though.😉

  16. Becks1 says:

    I love her office, its not that its messy, its that it is clearly used. The personal items don’t feel super staged, the papers look like they are usually there, etc. I also like seeing her in more casual clothes than we usually see her.

    I agree that in general the photo ops of phone calls are getting annoying, but I like seeing glimpses of how they actually live.

    • Nic919 says:

      She’s sitting at an actual desk and not an end table with pink Jane Austen books. (For the record I love Austen and have all her novels, but not in my workspace.)

  17. Flamingo says:

    I love it! I’m naturally messy. My office looks like a little tornado went through. My husband tried to be helpful once and organize everything. I couldn’t find things for days afterword. His home office is neat as a pin and mine has sticky notes, laptops, papers, books, and amazon boxes everywhere.

    • ncboudicca says:

      hahaha, I was looking at that photo thinking “anyone who thinks that’s messy should take a look at my desk right now!” paper everywhere…yeah, I prefer working in a clean space but I’m just a disorganized person. luckily my piles make sense to me so I can find what I need!

      • Evie says:

        LOL! I was thinking the same thing. You sound like me: I have piles of stuff and most of the time I know what’s in each pile.
        I just wish my home office was as “messy” as Camilla’s. Next life maybe

  18. Keira says:

    Love Charles’ poem-reading!

  19. Ginger meggs says:

    Camilla was forced to give up her first born charles Simon Dorante for adoption and charles knows this it was handled very conservatively and badly in the day… Camilla would like to meet her long lost son his wife and children. It’s sad as He’s her son too and no photos of him in her messy office?

  20. Harper says:

    Love the soothing reading of Tintern Abbey. Charles really does have quite a nice sounding voice and he is a man of the arts. I wish I had a space like Camilla’s with the built-ins. Neither Charles or Camilla are dimwits and that’s why their efforts ring more true to me compared to Cain and Unable’s.

  21. Veronica S. says:

    Even if the state of the room has its elements of design, you have to be amazed at how much better her PR instincts are than the Cambridges. She’s out in front of the cameras nowhere near as often as they are, yet she gets the look. She gets what her appearance has to say. How are they NOT getting it with all of their staff helping them?

  22. margedebarge says:

    This office looks so cozy and lived in! I especially like the picture right behind her head, it’s a squirrel that says “welcome to the nuthouse.” Firstly, “nuthouse” does seem like an apt description of the BRF. And secondly, whether British or American, royal or non, no little old lady is immune to the charm of cheesy wall art. I could probably find that same exact piece in my MILs house somewhere.

  23. yinyang says:

    Haha wonder if she did this to stick it to Kate, she actually does work.

    • Nic919 says:

      I wonder if the mention of the Queen Bee “joke” card was a coincidence or not. Perhaps a little reasserting of rank.

  24. L4frimaire says:

    Charles and Camilla actually work, and he’s always taken the mantle of his role seriously, no matter how messy his personal life or his insecurities. His petty eldest son and heir is always preparing to prepare with no focus. Looking at Camilla’s office, looks like she’s been doing a bit of online shopping, and it’s a real, lived- in space. Still think they’re shady and utterly disgraceful the way they were toward the Sussexes, but at least these two are working from home.

    • Tessa says:

      Did Charles and Camilla help the Sussexes or try? Charles seemed to be playing up to William lately. Charles may be sorry now.

  25. Lari says:

    I would love to see her wine/alcohol cellar…and then happily drink it with her ;)

  26. Original Jenns says:

    Agatha Christie???? I already liked Camilla, but now I want a call. And i’m not even in the UK! Also, I am always surprised by Charles’ voice. It much less hearty and more classic than I expect. Very nice reading.

    • Tessa says:

      Charles unlike William availed himself of public speaking classes and he went into University theatre which helped his speech. Apparently William could never be bothered. I notice no change in his speech.

  27. JennEricaMS says:

    I’ve convinced myself that the picture behind her is a squirrel with Welcome To The Nut House written on it. No, just me? That’s what my mind wants to believe at least as I can see her picking this out after an afternoon spent dealing with the royal family and those who surround them. Normally I would say it’s not PC but in this case I can’t think of a better way to describe that particular hornet’s nest.

  28. Katebush says:

    I like her office. It’s not messy just lived in.
    Our friend spent 20 minutes alone with Prince Charles when he was in NZ recently (he’s the CE of an organisation he visited while he was here) and said he can’t across as warm, open and very intelligent. He said he got the impression he would talk about anything if he was asked . Camilla on the other hand seemed nice but very tired and doesn’t like Diana to be discussed in her presence. That’s all he told us basically so I’ll have to find out more lol

  29. Liz version 700 says:

    I hope this doesn’t seem silly, but I am drooling over her built in shelves. I would love to have my beloved books just sort of towering over me in my office. But otherwise agree we get it no more phone pics need occur …