This ends all speculation.
For the very first time, Queen Elizabeth has confirmed what title will be bestowed upon her daughter-in-law, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, when Charles takes the throne.
In a surprise Platinum Jubilee statement issued late last night, the 95-year-old Monarch declared it was her ‘sincere wish’ for her daughter-in-law to be fully acknowledged when Charles succeeds her.
The statement also put to bed rumours that the 95-year-old Monarch might abdicate, as she reiterated her Coronation pledge. She wrote: ‘my life will always be devoted to your service’ – and that she would continue to honour that ‘with all my heart’.
In her personal and moving message to the nation – signed ‘Your Servant, Elizabeth R’ – the Queen said:
“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.”
Clarence House issued a statement shortly after, declaring that Charles and Camilla were ‘touched and honoured’ by the Queen’s gesture, with Prince Charles expected to make a public declaration today, Sunday, to mark his mother’s Jubilee celebration.
A spokesman for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall said:
“The Prince of Wales will be issuing a statement of congratulation to the Queen on Accession Day. He and the Duchess of Cornwall are touched and honoured by Her Majesty’s words.”
A change of heart – and law
The Queen’s official statement – and directions on Camilla’s future title – overturns previous Palace guidance that Camilla would only ever be known as ‘Princess Consort’.
Announcing the Prince of Wales’s engagement in February 2005, a Buckingham Palace statement said:
“It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to the Throne.”
According to the Daily Mail, Princess Diana would have automatically been granted the title Queen Consort had she lived and stayed married to the Prince of Wales. But it was never certain that, as his second wife, Camilla would receive the same title.
Royal historian Hugo Vickers stated:
“Making it clear that Camilla should be Queen is not just a wise and generous decision, it is a masterstroke and typical of a thoughtful sovereign. The timing has great symbolism. This is an important moment for the Monarchy.”