A major piece of reportage into the how the days following Queen Elizabeth’s death will unfold has confirmed an exclusive Daily Beast story that reported that Prince Charles will unilaterally declare his wife to be “Queen Camilla” within 24 hours of his mother’s death.
The Daily Beast’s claim was stoutly denied by the palace when approached for comment last month. However an extensive story in British newspaper The Guardian about the plans and procedures which are in place for the queen’s death comes to the same conclusion.
The Guardian reports Thursday that, “King Charles is currently expected to introduce Queen Camilla at his Accession Council… Confirmation of her title will form part of the first tumultuous 24 hours.”
The report chimes with the revelation by The Daily Beast last month that Prince Charles would “dramatically and unilaterally declare Camilla Parker Bowles to be ‘Queen Camilla’ in the first 24 hours after the death of his mother.”
An informed source told The Daily Beast, “They have it all worked out. When Charles goes before the Accession Council he will tell them his choice of regal name, and then he will authoritatively make it clear that his wife is to be known as Queen Camilla.”
Official palace sources sought to rubbish The Daily Beast’s report, saying the claims were “without foundation,” and briefing that the substance of the statement made by Clarence House at the time of Camilla’s marriage to the prince—that Camilla would be called Princess Consort—still stood.
However as The Guardian’s Sam Knight writes today in his inquiry into the plans for the queen’s demise—known as “Operation London Bridge” (sometimes abbreviated to “The Bridge”): “Since she married Charles in 2005, Camilla has been officially known as Princess Consort, a formulation that has no historical or legal meaning. (“It’s bullshit,” one former courtier told [Knight], describing it as “a sop to Diana.”) The fiction will end when Elizabeth II dies. Under common law, Camilla will become queen—the title always given to the wives of kings. There is no alternative. “She is queen whatever she is called,” as one scholar put it. ‘If she is called Princess Consort, there is an implication that she is not quite up to it. It’s a problem.’”
Knight’s piece contains several other delightful insights and revelations, among them that the queen’s death will be marked by 10 days of official mourning, that the royal undertakers, Leverton & Sons, keep what they call a “first call coffin” at the ready in case of royal emergencies, that the stock market in London will close, and that when Big Ben strikes, it will be in muffled tones as the bell’s hammer will be covered “with a leather pad seven-sixteenths of an inch thick.”
Plans for televising the events as they unfold are also well advanced, but, as one broadcaster told The Guardian, a major concern is how smartphone usage will affect the solemnity of crowd shots at the funeral: “The whole world is going to be bloody doing this,” one news executive, holding up his phone in front of his face, told him.