|“||The thing that you are too young to understand is that we all hide things. We hide them from our lovers because we wish to present our best selves, but also because if it is real love, we expect our loved one to simply understand it, without needing to ask. In a true partnership, the kind that lasts through the ages, there is an unspoken communion.||”|
Camille spent the early 1800s designing extravagant hats, making them unique for each class of Downworlders. The hats she made had magic woven through them with the help of an unknown warlock. This phase of her life came to an abrupt halt when the hats began moving of their own accord and became aggressive—apparently surprising Camille as well and making her angry at the warlock that enchanted them.
Turned centuries before modern times, Camille had since lived her life in the night and had become a very refined vampire. At some point, she grew to be quite close to Alexei de Quincey, the leader of her vampire clan in London during the 1800s.
It was in the 1850s, when Camille met and became involved with the werewolf Ralf Scott. The werewolf fell in love with her, and Camille held some interest. As it was taboo in their society since their species' were mortal enemies, the pair tried to hide their relationship.
In 1857, Camille and Alexei were part of the first discussions of possible peace accords between Shadowhunters and Downworlders at the London Institute. Here, she caught the eye of warlock Magnus Bane, but Magnus gave way for Ralf, who was mortal unlike the two of them, while they had more than enough time to some day meet again.
Eventually, de Quincey found out about her relationship with Scott and killed him, claiming to be concerned for his friend. The devastated Camille then swore to have her revenge on him. Shortly after his death, Camille met Magnus again, and the pair began dating and even living together.
As an informant of the London Institute, Camille passed along information from Downworld onto the Shadowhunters in secret. Taking advantage of her position, and hearing about what Tessa Gray could do, Camille soon told them that de Quincey had been breaking Clave Law and killing humans during his parties. She had the Enclave attend one of the parties, with Tessa posing as her and Will Herondale as her subjugate, so they could witness the crime for themselves.
Although the ensuing confrontation resulted in the death of most vampires at the party, some did escape and Camille was forced to go on the run.
When she left London, she left her house and human subjugate Archer with her then-lover Magnus. She took Walker with her and briefly went to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where she lived with a mundane lover whom she apparently killed shortly after. After months of no contact with Magnus, she finally returned to London and the couple immediately argued. Magnus, realizing that Camille did not love him the same way he loved her, broke up with her; to make a point, he kissed the barely conscious Will Herondale, leading Camille to believe that they were lovers, much to her surprise. Magnus then left Camille's home and presumably lost contact with her for well over a century.
Camille eventually moved from London to New York in the late 1920s. Though new to the city, she quickly rose to the position as head of the New York vampire clan. She lived a life of luxury and eventually succumbed to feeding on humans, after becoming addicted to cocaine along with her clan in the 1970s. When this was discovered, her former flame Magnus helped her and her vampires become sober.
New York, 2007
In 2006, her second-in-command, Raphael Santiago, discovered that she had begun feeding on and killing humans. He threatened, in fact merely bluffed, to report her to the Clave if she did not leave. She was forced to flee, and Raphael replaced her as acting leader, under the guise that Camille had only gone on an indefinite trip.
Months later, Camille returned but remained hidden from most of her previous followers, especially Raphael, with whom she was secretly competing against for the clan. Under orders from Lilith, she began killing former members of the Circle. Hoping to regain control of her clan, Camille soon contacted Simon Lewis, a Daylighter, to assist her. She offered him a place at her side as her second in command if he joined her.
Knowing Camille was wanted by the Clave for questioning in the deaths of the Shadowhunters, Simon agreed to be bait in a plan to capture Camille. He summoned Camille and met with her during the day, which she agreed to as she desperately hoped to gain his trust. Simon falsely agreed to help her, and Camille responded by trying to force him to sign a blood contract. They were interrupted, however, by the arrival of the Shadowhunters through a Portal, and she was captured. Camille immediately attempted to flee but realized that it was still light outside. She was then taken into custody of the Clave, and Camille made it clear that the only person she would talk to is Magnus Bane.
Upon Magnus's return from a world trip with his boyfriend, Alec Lightwood, Magnus was asked to speak with her. She attempted to make amends with Magnus, saying he must have known they'd eventually meet again due to their immortality, but he still remained bitter. She also caused complications in his relationship with Alec, bringing up the topic of Alec's mortality.
Camille was then broken out of Sanctuary and imprisoned by Lilith. She was found and freed by Alec on the condition that she would tell him how he and Magnus could be together forever. However, when Alec turned away from her, she escaped.
In keeping to their deal, Camille summoned Alec, multiple times, primarily through her newly-Turned vampire, Maureen Brown. Although their first meeting began with a physical altercation, largely due to Alec's desperation for a solution to being a mortal in love with an immortal, neither was seriously injured. Alec was unhappy with Magnus's refusal to discuss his past, and felt that Camille might be willing to share her knowledge. At the end of their first meeting, she told Alec that although there was no way for Alec to become immortal (besides using dark magic or becoming a vampire himself, neither of which he would consider), there was a way that Magnus's immortality could be taken away.
At their next meeting, Camille offered Alec a bargain. She told him there was a spell that would take the immortality from Magnus, and offered to perform it herself. She told Alec that he wouldn't know how to do it himself, and furthermore, Magnus would know who had done it (and would assume Camille had done it out of spite, and therefore not blame Alec). In return, however, she required that Alec kill Raphael, her rival for control of the New York vampires. Although Alec briefly considered it, he ultimately refused. His stated reason for refusing was his unwillingness to shorten Magnus's life, and that it would be a violation of Covenant Law to kill Raphael for personal, selfish reasons. He continued to converse with Camille, her offering relationship advice.
Despite Alec's refusal, Camille sent Magnus a message, detailing her meetings with Alec and indicating falsely that Alec had accepted the deal. When Alec showed up—only intending to get information about Magnus and nothing more—he instead found Magnus there. Magnus told Alec that Camille told him everything about their private meetings and taunted him that Alec would show up there to accept her offer. Magnus told Alec he didn't want to believe her, yet he found him there, much to his disappointment. Magnus immediately broke up with Alec, telling him to remove his belongings from Magnus's apartment and leave his key.
Personality and traits
|“||Camille is cunning even for our kind, and we are very cunning indeed.||”|
Camille had a calm and collected demeanor and seemed to be a naturally level-headed person with an impressive level of fortitude. When she wanted to be, she could be terribly charming. However, behind the facade laid a cold-hearted killer who had no qualms about killing. She is incredibly manipulative and extremely skilled at it, only ever truly helping others if it benefited her as well. Camille was also mostly distant even with the lovers she had in her life, viewing love for an immortal like her as fleeting and temporary.
Camille was described as extremely beautiful, slender, and stately with radiant, pale skin, thick blond hair, and green eyes. She moved delicately, with elegance and grace.
|“||I loved him—like you never loved me—like you've never loved anything.||”|
|“||It's all the same to me. He had nothing to do with you. He was a diversion while I was in Russia, nothing more. [...] You must let me have my little diversions, Magnus.||”|
–Camille about her lovers on the side, Clockwork Prince
Camille was in a relationship with Magnus for some time. She cheated on him, however, and, when confronted, made it clear to Magnus that she was merely keeping him around. Knowing that Magnus loved her, she told him that if he had a problem with her having lovers aside from him, he should just leave. Magnus broke up with her then and there.Despite their bitter past, Magnus still cared for her even decades later and had to have his memories and love for her magically removed from his mind.
- In-character Q&A session with Cassandra Clare (transcript)
- Clockwork Prince
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- Clockwork Angel
- Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale
- The Rise of the Hotel Dumort
- The Fall of the Hotel Dumort
- City of Bones
- City of Fallen Angels
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
- "Very likely!" Cassandra Clare on Twitter