Blast from teenage past greets Camilla on Canadian walkabout

The Duchess of Cornwall came face-to-face with her teenage past when she was reunited with a friend she had not seen for 45 years.

Camilla, 62, was 17 years old and crazy about the Beatles and make-up when she last saw Charlotte Ericson at the Swiss finishing school Mon Fertile.

But her former classmate - nicknamed Lottie - was determined to meet the Duchess when she visited Victoria, British Colombia, yesterday as the royal continued her tour of Canada with the Prince of Wales.

lottie ericson

Fancy meeting you here: The Duchess of Cornwall meets a old school friend Charlotte Ericson (centre) as she attended a ceremonial welcome with the Prince of Wales outside the Parliament building in Victoria, British Columbia

lottie ericson

Back in the day: The Duchess of Cornwall's old school friend Charlotte 'Lottie' Ericson holds up the placard which she used to the get her attention

Armed with a placard she had made which read "Camilla! Lottie Here, Remember Mon Fertile 1963-1964?" Mrs Ericson, 62, waited for her friend outside the province's parliament yesterday.

When the royal couple went on a walkabout after a ceremonial welcome outside the building the Duchess stopped and greeted her friend.

Mrs Ericson, who like Camilla has two grandchildren, said: "She recognised me and said hello. It was great to see her.

"She told me she had recently seen some pictures of us all, so she must have been in touch with some of the girls from the school."

lottie ericson and duchess

This undate photo issued by Charlotte Ericson shows Camilla (top left) at the Mon Fertile finishing school they attended as teenagers

Enlarge   lottie ericson and duchess

Camilla (left) looks slightly bored by proceedings at the finishing school

 'We were just typical crazy teenage girls, into the Beatles, hair, make-up and clothes.

'We would stay up late talking about the boys we fancied and eating Swiss chocolate and giggling'

Camilla grew up in rural Sussex and was educated at the Queens Gate School in South Kensington, before going to finishing schools in Switzerland and France.

Mrs Ericson, originally from Sweden but now living in Victoria, said there were around 40 girls at the Swiss school who were taught French, sewing, typing and etiquette for eight months during 1963-64.

Speaking about Camilla's life as a member of the British royal family the 62-year-old said: 'I think it's fantastic she's a Duchess, she has really grown into the role.

'She has managed to adapt to it really well. I'm happy for her and she seems really happy.

'I'm sure her time at the school helped her deal with being the Duchess of Cornwall.'

Ms Ericson, who travels the world teaching English as a foreign language, returned home to Sweden after studying at the finishing school but a few years later moved to Canada.

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Prince Charles and Camilla share a joke at a ceremonial welcome outside the Parliament building in Victoria, British Columbia

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Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are greeted by members of the Esquimalt First Nation Band upon their arrival in Victoria

Ms Ericson, a widow, had brought some old school photos of the Duchess which showed a youthful Camilla with shoulder length light-brown hair.

In one black and white image the royal is yawning during a fashion show and is dressed conservatively in a white cardigan and blouse, with a long skirt.

In the other she appears more of a 1960s teenager and is sat on the floor with a large group of fellow students who all have their feet pointed into the middle of the room.

The duchess is wearing a sleeveless dress and black calf length boots and was involved in a game with fellow pupils, said Ms Ericson.

She added: "We were just typical crazy teenage girls, into the Beatles, hair, make-up and clothes.

"We would stay up late talking about the boys we fancied and eating Swiss chocolate and giggling.

"There were a lot of girls there and she would spend most of her time with the British girls, but we got to know each other.

"It was fun and great to see her, now I can email my other friends and let them know I had a chat with Camilla."

Later today the royal couple will visit the site of the 2010 Winter Olympic athletes' village in Vancouver.

Charles will go on to an event that will highlight the work of young entrepreneurs and learn about the work of Canada's leading integrated cancer centre.

Camilla will tour the Van Dusen botanical garden then visit a mobile centre for "hip health".

In the evening the couple will attend a provincial dinner.

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