UK's Elizabeth wants Charles' wife to be 'Queen Camilla' when he's king

Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth said on Saturday that she wants Prince Charles' wife Camilla to be styled Queen Consort when he becomes king.
Reuters

Britain's Queen Elizabeth said on Saturday that she wants Prince Charles' wife Camilla to be styled Queen Consort when he becomes king, cementing her place at the heart of the royal family after once being judged an outsider.

In a letter written to mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Queen said the occasion had given her pause to reflect upon the loyalty and affection shown to her by the British public.

She said she hoped Charles and Camilla would receive the same support.

"(It) is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," she said.

Charles and Camilla, long-time lovers, were married in 2005 in a civil ceremony in Windsor. Their Clarence House residence said on Saturday that they were "touched and honored by Her Majesty's words."

Queen Elizabeth's move reflects a wider acceptance of Camilla's status as a royal.

Tabloid newspapers no longer target her as they did in the decade following the death in 1997 of Charles' first wife, Princess Diana.

Camilla – whose current title is Duchess of Cornwall – now regularly represents the royal family alongside Charles during official duties.

Throughout British history, the wife of a king typically is given the title Queen Consort. At the time of their marriage, it had been officially decided that Camilla would use the title Princess Consort if Charles were to become king.

While Queen Elizabeth on Sunday celebrates 70 years on the throne – an unprecedented stretch – the anniversary comes at a time of tumult for the royal family.

From the US sex abuse court case facing her son Prince Andrew to allegations by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife of racism in the royal household, rarely has the 95-year-old Queen's family faced such scrutiny and damaging headlines.

Last year, she lost her husband of 73 years, Philip, whom she acknowledged in her letter on Saturday.

"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," she said.

Earlier on Saturday, the Queen kicked off celebrations for the 70th anniversary by inviting local community groups to her Sandringham residence in the east of England.

The Queen, pictured smiling and wearing a light blue dress, cut a celebratory cake baked by a local resident and heard a rendition of "Congratulations" played by a concert band.

"I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me," she said in her letter to the public.

Ironically, Queen Elizabeth was not destined to be monarch at her birth, and became queen only because her uncle Edward VIII abdicated to be with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

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