SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

OpinionQueen Camilla

Queen Camilla has made a mistake in scrapping the role of ‘Lady-in-Waiting’ – just leave it be!

Royal Central’s editor, Charlie Proctor, explains below why he believes Queen Camilla has made the wrong decision in scrapping the role of Lady-in-Waiting.

The news that Queen Camilla has decided to ditch the role of Lady-in-Waiting certainly didn’t come as a surprise.

It has long been expected that when King Charles would ascend to the throne, he and Camilla would make efforts to ‘modernise’ the monarchy for the 21st century.

Now it appears that the role of a Lady-in-Waiting, a centuries old position in the royal household, bas become victim to the monarch’s attempts at streamlining.

Instead of appointing six Ladies-in-Waiting, Queen Camilla has appointed six Queen’s Companions.

Interesting… except I’m fairly certain that these women are essentially de facto Ladies-in-Waiting, just without the formal title.

The six companions will accompany The Queen at various engagements, and will support Her Majesty in her formal duties.

However, unlike Queen Elizabeth II’s Ladies-in-Waiting, the companions will not deal with administrative matters or reply to correspondence.

Fair enough – but is that a good enough reason to scrap a role that dates back to the 15th century?

The Royal Family is putting itself in a perilous position and is in danger of using too much logic to solve a problem that isn’t there.

Fair enough, the role is so clearly outdated, but so is the whole concept of having an unelected head of state.

Once we start eliminating small, harmless traditions, bigger questions will be asked.

What will be next to change in an effort to modernise The King and Queen’s role? The birthday parade to become a birthday brunch? Black Rod to become just ‘Rod’? Ant and Dec to preside over the coronation?

If we question these insignificant aspects of the monarchy, we will start asking ourselves much deeper questions. What is the point of a Lady-in-Waiting? Well, what is the point of a Royal Family?

Ladies-in-Waiting did not claim a salary. It was deemed as a huge honour to be appointed to the role, and that was deemed to be payment enough.

The same is true for Queen Camilla’s new companions, who may only receive nominal expenses.

If the role is pretty much the same, and the costs are exactly the same, then why are we changing the title?

Ladies-in-Waiting provide a certain mystique to the monarchy. They are present a link to the distant past, and making the role redundant would end centuries of tradition.

I had a look through Royal Central’s site statistics before writing this piece. What I found did not surprise me: articles about Ladies-in-Waiting always did exceptionally well, and bought in plenty of readers to the site.

It is what I call the ‘catnip effect’. Certain subjects bring in flocks of people, Ladies-in-Waiting being one of them.

Why is this? Because the role is so mysterious, yet glamourous. People are genuinely interested in the job, and what it entails.

The scrapping of the role will be one less thing that keeps people interested in the happenings of the Royal Court.

Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is this: is the role of Queen’s Companion materially different to that of a Lady-in-Waiting? If the answer is ‘no’, then what are we doing trying to change things? 

It is a centuries old tradition with no opposition – leave it be!