Camilla, the Queen Consort, paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in a new interview, remarking that it must have been “difficult” for the late monarch to rule as the “solitary woman” in the public eye.
“There weren’t women prime ministers or women presidents, she was the only one, so I think she carved her own role,” Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Queen Consort, told the BBC in an interview that aired Sunday, ahead of a minute of silence held to honor the queen across the UK.
“She’s been part of our lives forever. I’m 75 now and I can’t remember anyone except the queen being there,” Camilla said.
She recalled the Queen’s “wonderful blue eyes” and said “when she smiles they light up her whole face.
“I will always remember that smile,” she added.
The televised tribute aired shortly before people across the UK paused for 60 seconds at 8 p.m. local time to honor Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who died on Sept. 8 at 96.
Photos showed the moment of silence being observed at Piccadilly Circus, the Westminster Bridge, Glasgow Arena and by commuters and staff stopped under a clock in Waterloo Station.
The start of the minute of reflection was meant to be marked by Big Ben, and the iconic clock tower had been set to chime again once to mark its end, though it did not strike as planned, according to the BBC.
The miles-long queue to view the queen’s coffin, meanwhile, was closed to new arrivals later Sunday, ahead of the casket being moved to Westminster Abbey for her state funeral on Monday.
Camilla, who married now-King Charles III in 2005, was last known as the Duchess of Edinburg. It was originally thought she would adopt the title of Princess Consort upon Charles’ accession to the throne, but his mother said earlier his year that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla be known as Queen Consort.
Camilla has two children with her ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowler, whom she divorced in 1995.