The Queen has announced that she would like Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to be called queen consort when Prince Charles becomes king.
In a message released Saturday on the eve of the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Queen reflected on her decades of service, and on her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April.
“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. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign,” the statement said. “And 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 Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
Ever since Charles and Camilla married in 2005, there has been speculation about what the duchess’s title would be after the Queen died. Traditionally, the wife of a reigning king is known as queen consort. However, for years public opinion ran against Camilla, and it had been widely assumed that she would be referred to as the “princess consort.” The duchess has not taken the title “Princess of Wales” out of respect for Princess Diana, Charles’s first wife, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
The Queen’s intervention will end the speculation. When Camilla takes the title she will be addressed as “Her Majesty.”
In a statement on Sunday, Prince Charles said that he and the duchess were “deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother’s wish. As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.”
Royal historian Jane Ridley said last week, during a press briefing about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, that the public perception of Camilla has changed in recent years. “If you look at the popularity, Camilla has worked incredibly hard, going to functions and helping people, and I think her rating has been picking up,” Dr. Ridley said. “It looks as though ‘Queen Camilla’ will happen.”
Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt told the Press Association on Saturday that the Queen “was ensuring the transition, when it comes, to her son as king is as seamless and trouble-free as possible.” He added that she was “future-proofing an institution she’s served for 70 years. And for Camilla, the journey from being the third person in a marriage to queen-in-waiting is complete.”
The Queen, 95, spent Sunday at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Despite a health scare last year that curtailed many of her public appearances, she held a reception at the estate on Saturday for members of the local community and various charity organizations.
“After meeting the assembled guests, The Queen cut a cake specially prepared for the occasion by a local resident, featuring the Platinum Jubilee emblem,” Buckingham Palace said in a press release.
The palace also released a photograph on Sunday showing the Queen at work. The photo was taken in the Saloon at Sandringham, officials said.
Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne in the early hours of Feb. 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, took his last breath at Sandringham. She is the longest reigning British monarch. Her next milestone would be on May 27, 2024, when she would overtake France’s Louis XIV as Europe’s longest-reigning monarch. He ruled for 72 years and 110 days, from 1643 to 1715.
In his remarks, Prince Charles added: “On this historic day, my wife and I join you all in congratulating Her Majesty The Queen on the remarkable achievement of serving this nation, the Realms and Commonwealth for seventy years. The Queen’s devotion to the welfare of all her people inspires still greater admiration with each passing year.”
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