17 July 2017

Happy 70th to a Future Queen?

Photo: Mario Testino/Clarence House
Will Camilla ever be Queen? That is the questions some, notably The Daily Mail, are asking on this, her 70th birthday. At the time of her 2005 marriage to the future king, Charles The Prince of Wales, it was announced that she would not be styled as Princess of Wales, as the legal wife of every previous Prince of Wales has been. Further, it was announced that upon his accession she would be styled as Princess Consort rather than Queen Consort.

It is difficult to imagine that these were the decision of her husband, Prince Charles, who is clearly still in love with her and who likely has been in love with her for more than 40 years. I think there can be little doubt that she will be Queen Camilla when he becomes King Charles. After all, there is no precedent in Britain for the king's wife to be anything other than the queen. 

Also, the style announcements when they married were made to help people feel that Camilla was not trying to usurp the place formerly held by Charles' first wife Diana. Before Diana, there had not been a Princess of Wales since 1910, so hardly anyone still living could imagine anyone but Diana with that title. Many also saw Camilla as the main cause of Charles and Diana's unhappy marriage and divorce. (In my opinion, there marriage had many more problems than just Camilla and there were many more people than just the three that Diana referenced in her famous interview with Martin Bashir...) That Diana's sad story ended so tragically when she was still so young and full of promise only added to the public's idea that "her" title should be hers and hers alone. 

Very well, I say. Camilla doesn't have to be called Princess of Wales, although she legally is. In 12 years as a member of the Royal Family, she has done very well as The Duchess of Cornwall, a title only used by the previous Princesses of Wales when they were physically in Cornwall. She never appears bored at events. She dresses grandly for the grand events and connect sweetly with the little ones for the un-grand ones. She has taken on causes from literacy to animal welfare to osteoporosis. Her stepsons have stated that they don't see her as a wicked stepmother. Indeed, Prince Harry has been quoted, "She's a wonderful woman and she's made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing. William and I love her to bits."

She clearly doesn't need to be Princess of Wales.

However, being Queen is another thing altogether. Although she still maintains her own old home and retreats there when she wants, she and Charles have a very close relationship. She is truly his partner. No matter the occasion, formal or informal, you can find them laughing or smiling together. She certainly paid her dues and she deserves to be treated as the king's wife when the day comes.

And actually, Charles himself will have the ultimate say. Once he is king, he will be "fount of honor" and he will be able to decide how his wife is styled. I would be very surprised if he makes any decision less than "Her Majesty The Queen."

Happy birthday, Camilla! 





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