The Real Reason the Queen Is Letting Camilla Have Her Title, Sources Say
One expert called the queen's announcement "very, very clever" and "a masterstroke."
Over the weekend, Queen Elizabeth announced that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will get a new title when her husband, Prince Charles, become king—and its not the one that had previously been planned. In a letter marking her Platinum Jubilee, which recognizes her 70th anniversary as queen, Elizabeth also noted that Camilla will become queen consort when her son takes her place as monarch. Years ago, it had been established that Camilla would be called "princess consort" when Charles became king, so Elizabeth's announcement prompted some speculation as to why this is happening—and why it's happening now.
Read on to find out more about Camilla's title change and to learn why it was important that the queen announce it now, according to royal experts.
The queen announced the change in a letter.
Feb. 6, 2022 marked the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth becoming queen. The milestone will be celebrated with Platinum Jubilee events that will take place throughout the year. Recognizing the anniversary, on Feb. 5, Elizabeth released a letter reflecting on her time on the throne, but also, surprisingly, showing her support for Camilla receiving the title queen consort. After writing about her reign, reiterating her devotion to the country, and expressing gratitude for her late husband Prince Philip, she moved on to her son's wife.
"I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me," the queen wrote. "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."
Camilla was set to be referred to as princess consort.
When Charles and Camilla's engagement was announced in 2005, it was reported that she would be known as a princess consort. Upon their marriage, Camilla didn't take the title Princess of Wales, because that was so heavily associated with Princess Diana. Instead, she became known as the Duchess of Cornwall.
As reported by i News, the most recent poll by YouGov shows that people would prefer Camilla be called princess consort (42%) rather than become queen (14%).
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By announcing the news now, the queen takes responsibility.
Royal experts have said that the queen announcing that Camilla should become queen consort—particularly in the context of how the U.K. has supported her for the past 70 years—is strategic.
"I think what the Queen's doing here is ripping the plaster off, during her lifetime, at the point when she can absorb some of the reputational flack from it," The Royal Report host Jack Royston told i News. "It reflects the reality that Charles has wanted this for years and years and years, and he was going to do it come what may. So the way the Queen's done it here, she's made it her decision and her gift to Camilla, so she's made it a story about Camilla's acceptance by her into the Royal Family, rather than than a story about Charles putting his foot down and insisting on something that public, as far as polling goes, don't actually want."
MSNBC royal contributor Suzannah Lipscomb shared similar thoughts. "I thought it was very, very clever on behalf of the queen," Lipscomb said, "because it has done something that will change the first few days of King Charles … which otherwise would have been perhaps preoccupied with this question of what Camilla would be called. But the queen has decided that this will be dealt with now."
She's made her wishes clear.
Furthermore, Lipscomb explained that by announcing the news the way she did, the queen has made clear that people can show their loyalty to her by accepting the idea of Camilla being queen consort.
"[Camilla] would actually in common law have become the queen either way," Limpscomb said, "it was just whether she used and assumed that title. And now the queen is saying that you must consider that loyalty to me—because she links it in the same breath as loyalty to her and in the same breath as the service her husband, Prince Philip, carried out. The expert explained that she believes, essentially, the queen is saying, 'If you're loyal to me, then you will use this title. This is my sincere wish.'"
Limpscomb continued, "I think it is a masterstroke because it has changed the situation. The question is no longer: Is this about Charles, is this about Camilla, is this about Diana? The question is now: Do you want to demonstrate your loyalty to the queen?"
Charles has responded to the news.
Charles released his own letter on Feb. 6 in which he celebrated his mother's 70 years on the throne and also thanked her.
"We are deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother's wish," Charles wrote. "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."