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Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s Jubilee pledge to Camilla shows duty, devotion and affection

The Queen has always been full of surprises. Let’s face it, no on expected her to turn up in a James Bond sketch for the London Olympics before pretending to parachute out of a helicopter and into the Opening ceremony. But then no one expected her to rule, let alone become the longest reigning Monarch in British history. That’s perhaps the greatest surprise of them all. And as the world waited for her to speak as she marked another milestone, the 70th anniversary of that historic reign, she caught us unawares again. Time, she told us, to acknowledge the real service of the Duchess of Cornwall and acknowledge that, in the fullness of time, Camilla  be known as Queen Consort.

The fact that The Queen has used one of the most important messages of her reign to give such unequivocal support to her daughter in law is highly significant. It is a ringing endorsement and one that sets the tone for the rest of The Queen’s reign and the image of the House of Windsor for years to come. Camilla, the duchess who couldn’t be known as a princes because of recent history, shakes off any questions over her royal role and steps into the future as a queen in waiting.

The signals were there. The Queen ended 2021 by naming the Duchess of Cornwall as a Lady of the Garter, a rare honour and one that clearly underlined her support for Camilla. However, a public endorsement of the future title of Queen Consort was something that no one expected to hear, especially not in such a significant message as the one marking a truly historic moment in time. It underlines how important this is to The Queen.

It’s also an act filled with compassion. For many years, Camilla faced criticism for her relationship with the Prince of Wales. Even the Duchess herself joked that she was once asked by a taxi driver what she thought of ‘that’ Camilla. For years, she was the person everyone was talking about and it was far from a fun ride. She endured it all and worked to build a role for herself within an institution some claimed she had damaged. In those circumstances, it would have been easy for The Queen to ignore the noise and silently leave the matter  to be sorted after she had gone. Instead, she chose the moment the world was watching to give the greatest possible support to Camilla.

It is an extraordinary gesture that speaks of devotion. For devotion to duty is the essence of The Queen’s reign. The statement in which she calls for Camilla to be known, in the fullness of time, as queen is signed ”Your Servant”. The duchess is mentioned alongside two great pillars of The Queen’s life and reign – her mother and her husband. The Queen makes it clear that the Duchess of Cornwall is a vital part of her royal dynasty, now and for years to come.

The Queen of surprises has made us all look again. But, just as at every other major moment in her life, it is for the good of the Crown and done in calm self assurance that the path chosen is the right one.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.