Prince Charles will 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 tells the Daily Beast.
“They have it all worked out,” the source, who is close to a number of senior royals, told the Daily Beast. “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.”
The source says that while the name of the King--almost certainly Charles III although George VII remains a possibility--will be widely announced on the airwaves and in a sequence of traditional proclamations at key locations around the country that day, the fact that Camilla—whose official title is the Duchess of Cornwall--has been declared queen will not be ceremonially proclaimed at that point.
Instead key editors, press agencies and royal correspondents will be informed of Charles’s wish, so the news will effectively go out alongside his proclamation as king.
The source says that the Prince of Wales’s team charged with plotting the “Queen Camilla” project is counting on the off-balance national mood following the death of the monarch to ensure they are not seriously challenged.
The dramatic move—emphatically denied by a source close to Prince Charles--will contravene long-held assurances that Charles will not attempt to make Camilla queen.
Charles’s website, for example, publicly states that Camilla will be known as HRH The Princess Consort when Charles accedes, and these assurances have served, over the years, to dampen the anger of traditionalists at court, who still perceive that making Camilla queen would be rewarding adultery.
Charles and Camilla carried on a long affair while he was married to Princess Diana which contributed to the breakdown of the marriage.
Camilla is still routinely disrespected in court circles, according to insiders.
“There are many women at court who simply will not curtsey to Camilla,” says the source.
The irony is that Camilla herself has not the least interest in being Queen, and the entire project is being driven by Charles who, insiders say, has taken to reminding his friends that there is “not one British king who has not made his wife Queen.”
The wife of the King is always known as “Queen Consort,” usually abbreviated to ‘Queen’.
But Camilla has always been a special case, owing not so much to the fact that she is a divorcee as to public affection for Princess Diana, whom the British public for the most part still perceive as grossly and tragically wronged by Charles and Camilla.
Diana famously described Camilla as the third person in her marriage.
How will the Queen take Charles’s ambitions then? In one sense this new plan is diplomatic in that she will never be forced to confront the reality of Queen Camilla face-to-face. It is certainly not something that, alive, she would encourage.
The Queen is unlikely to be unaware of Charles' machinations. She is known to be a steadfast opponent of the idea of making Camilla Queen and her acceptance of Charles's marriage to Camilla was to some extent influenced by his concession that Camilla would be merely Princess Consort.
But, in recent years, Charles had appeared to be quietly looking to row back on that understanding.
Penny Junor, the royal biographer who is the author of a definitive account of the life of Prince Charles and is currently completing a biography of Camilla, told the Daily Beast: “Charles will push for this. He is so fiercely proud of her and I think would see anything less than the title of Queen as being a slight. And he has never been good at taking advice from people that disagree with him.
“But she has no desire to be Queen. She got into this position because she loved him and wanted to support him in his otherwise lonely role; she didn’t marry him because she wanted to be a Duchess or a Princess or even a Queen.
“But it is a very difficult subject because there will always be people who say that to make her Queen would be to reward adultery.”
Junor added that she expects the title of Queen Camilla, if granted, to be ultimately accepted, despite initial unease: “The British public and the media have a habit of making mountains out of what at the end of the day, if handled sensitively, turn out to be molehills.”
Charles may be underestimating the opposition, however. According to a 2015 poll by Comres, for the Daily Mail, just a third of the population (34%) say they like Camilla, with a greater number, 38% saying they dislike her.
A whopping 55% of the population are adamant that Camilla Parker Bowles should not become Queen.
A spokesperson for Prince Charles declined to comment. However, a palace source said 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.
The source said that the claims that Charles would declare Camilla “queen” unilaterally shortly after his mother’s death were "without foundation.”