The debate about whether Prince Charles’s wife Camilla will ever be Queen has been dramatically revived today after the Queen appointed Camilla to the highest female rank in the Royal Victorian Order, an honour awarded by the Queen in recognition of “personal” service to the monarchy.
The Queen’s move, made on the seventh anniversary of Camilla and Charles’s wedding, is a very public endorsement of Camilla, and would appear to indicate that the Queen believes Camilla may yet be accepted as Queen by the British people upon Charles’s accession to the throne, despite the fact that she had an affair with Prince Charles throughout his marriage to Diana, who described Camilla as, “the Rottweiler”.
When asked to cite the cause of the marriage breakdown on the famous BBC Panorama interview, Diana responded, “Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” referring to Camilla.
Charles later admitted to the affair on a television interview with Jonathan Dimbleby.
Camilla subsequently announced her divorce to husband Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995 and she and Charles resumed their relationship. They were eventually married in 2005.
At the time of their marriage and for some time thereafter, Clarence House let it be known that Camilla would assume the title Princess Consort when Charles became King. Usually, the wife of a King is known as Queen Consort, or Queen, and it was believed that by not trying to anoint Camilla as Queen-in-waiting, public support, which was violently against Camilla, could be softened.
However, things have now changed. The first public indications that Charles did intend to install his wife as “Queen” came in a 2010 interview with NBC. When asked directly whether the Duchess of Cornwall could ever become Queen Consort, he said, “We’ll see won't we? That could be.”