The Queen declares her support for Camilla during Platinum Jubilee message as she marks 70 years on the throne, saying it is ‘sincere wish’ for Charles’ wife
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Her Majesty last night declared that Camilla can take the title Queen – in an “extraordinary” gesture hailed by royal watchers.
The Queen broke the news in an address to mark the anniversary of her taking the throne 70 years ago today.
For years insiders were sure Camilla would take the title Princess Consort when Prince Charles becomes King.
But conventional wisdom was brushed aside in the bombshell 10pm statement from the Palace, announcing the monarch’s wish that Camilla be known as Queen Consort.
In a message to the nation, the Queen wrote: “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me.
“And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as the Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
A spokesman for Charles said: “The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are touched and honored by Her Majesty’s words.” Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said of the Queen’s announcement: “This is the most extraordinary message.”
And recalling Diana’s Panorama interview in 1995, Mr Hunt added: “For Camilla, the journey from being the third person in a marriage to queen-in-waiting, is complete.”
Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary to the Queen, said hostility towards Camilla after the 1997 death of Diana “has evaporated completely”. He added: “The Duchess has shown that she is a great support to Charles, the Queen and the institution.”
Royal author Dr Andrew Lownie said: “Camilla has earned her spurs. The Queen, who would not have Camilla in the room at one point, has become very fond of her.
“I think there’s a real sense of the passing on of the crown.”
The Queen’s heartfelt announcement ran to 385 words. Of February 6, 1952, she wrote: “It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign.”
She spoke of a “sense of hope and optimism” in her Platinum Jubilee year and thanked “people of all nationalities, faiths and ages” for the goodwill and support they had expressed.
The Queen wrote fondly of her late husband, adding: “I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it… a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign.”
The Queen, signing off as “Your Servant”, added: “I look forward to continuing to serve with all my heart.”
Yesterday she hosted a jubilee reception for volunteer groups, pensioners and fellow members of the local Women’s Institute (WI) group at Sandringham, Norfolk.
She was said to be on “sparkling” form and beamed as she cut a cake.
But it was her reference to Camilla that grabbed the world’s attention last night. The issue of her title for her had been a delicate issue for two decades.
Like Charles, she is a divorcee and was his mistress when he was married to Princess Diana. Charles and Camilla first dated after meeting at a polo match in the 1970s.
They broke up when Charles went off to sea with the Royal Navy. Camilla went on to marry Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973, while Charles married Diana in 1981. But he and Camilla maintained a very close relationship and, in 1993, an intimate phone call between the pair was leaked, causing a national scandal. In her Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, Diana said: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, made their relationship public in 1998.
In a sign of royal approval, Camilla was seen with the Queen at the 60th birthday party of the former King of Greece in 2000.
And the Queen invited Camilla to Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. She has also been at Charles’ side during State Opening of Parliaments.
But when they married in 2005, royal aides announced she did not want to be Queen and “intended” to be Princess Consort when Charles became King.
It would have been a first in British history. But any mention of “Princess Consort” was removed from Charles’s website during a revamp in 2018.
A royal consort is the spouse of a serving monarch, whose main duty is to provide support and companionship.
Throughout history those in the role have held considerable influence – most famously Prince Albert when he served as Prince Consort to Queen Victoria.
The previous Queen Consort was The Queen Mother.
Historian Dr Ed Owens, author of The Family Firm, said: “This is about the Queen trying to legitimize the succession. With it appearing that it is the Queen’s wish for her, as opposed to Charles’ wish, it confers legitimacy on Camilla as a successor Queen. It’s a very smart PR move on the part of the Palace.”