Reporter's notebook: Behind the scenes of the royal interview

CNN's Max Foster visits the Scottish home of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Story highlights

  • Max Foster spent time with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
  • Camilla declined to be interviewed
  • Foster says couple seem close and connected
Watch "Spotlight: Charles and Camilla" Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Aberdeenshire, Scotland (CNN)The Scottish Highlands on a wintry morning in January made for an awe-inspiring interview setting. We traveled along narrow roads winding among snow-capped mountains, eventually arriving at Birkhall -- the Scottish home to Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

I had pitched for interviews with the couple several times over the years and finally Prince Charles accepted. I wanted to speak to them about their 10 years of marriage and their upcoming U.S. tour.
The couple's first tour as newlyweds was also to the United States, so it felt like an appropriate moment to take stock.
    The Duchess of Cornwall and Foster spoke about what all Brits talk about -- the weather.
    When you reach the house, it strikes you as an idyllic royal hideaway. It has the sense of a castle but is welcoming like a farmhouse. It has a pinkish hue and green window frames that take in the stunning views. We went in the back entrance and were escorted through the house to the dining room at the front where we set things up. Rarely have cameras been allowed in, and never to this part of the house.
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    As we were getting ready, an aide announced someone wanted to say hello. The Duchess of Cornwall appeared from around the corner, keen to welcome the crew. We spoke about what all Brits talk about -- the weather.
    She is not what you might expect when you meet her. She's more charismatic, which is something I hope comes across in the CNN special, "Spotlight: Charles and Camilla."
    Unfortunately she had declined our request to be interviewed. She's never done one and doesn't plan to. She wants the limelight to be on her husband. The Duchess of Cornwall had however allowed our cameras to get close enough to pick up sound during some of her public appearances. That would give viewers a greater sense of her character than they had had before.
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    When Prince Charles arrived, he also insisted on meeting the crew, which was great but was also eating into our interview time. In the end, we had the full 20 minutes as planned. You can make your own judgements of the TV special, but I think we did manage to give you a good sense of him. He was comfortable enough to be himself. He was the same person on camera as off. Afterward, we walked through the house and into the garden for some additional shots.
    The Duchess of Cornwall joined us on the way and was worried I would be cold without a coat, but the coat was inaccessible and I didn't want to hold things up.
    Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have been married for nearly 10 years.
    You can't tell an awful lot about someone by spending just a morning with them, particularly as a journalist, but my impression was that they are close, connected and have fun.
    I then left them to take a stroll on their own with the crew, who captured some shots that I think have a small place in royal history -- a glimpse of a couple enjoying each other's company in their private wilderness, before he ascends to the throne.