Among the series of redefinitions that the British monarchy will go through with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, one of the main ones will affect Camilla, the wife of now King Charles III.
She now happens to be the “Queen Consort” of the United Kingdom. The title is given to the wife of a reigning king.
Now, although she shares the same hierarchical status as the king within the monarchy, Camilla does not hold political and military powers, leaving Charles with the duty to head the state.
Twenty-five years ago, it seemed unlikely that she – who dated Charles in her youth and then had an affair while they were both married – would ever get that title.
In 1997, when Charles’ first wife died – the highly popular and acclaimed British princess Diana – Camilla came to be portrayed by the media as Britain’s most hated woman.
Lady Di blamed Camilla – often portrayed as serious and dowdy – for ruining her marriage. And Camilla, now 75, has always been compared to Charles’ photogenic first wife.
In 2005, when Charles and Camilla were finally married, she made it clear that she intended to be known in the future only as “Princess Consort”, despite being entitled to the title of Queen.
The gesture was seen as an acknowledgment of the sensitivity surrounding a title that was meant for Diana.
However, in February of this year, during the celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, which marked 70 years of the reign of Elizabeth II, the queen gave the blessing so that Camilla would someday become “queen consort”.
“When, in due course, my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support you have given me,” Elizabeth II wrote in a message.
“It is my sincere wish that when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” he added.
Read the queen’s full Platinum Jubilee message at the end of this article.
Even with the approval of the then British monarch, Camilla never fully won the affections of the British.
According to a May 2022 YouGov poll, only 20% of respondents thought she should be queen consort, while 39% thought she should be given the title of princess consort.
However, a poll by the Daily Mail after the queen supported her in becoming queen consort suggested that 55% supported this move compared to 28% who opposed it.
While many Brits have been ruthless about any role she played in the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, Prince Harry – Lady Di’s son – has indicated that this was not the case for him and his older brother.
“To be honest with you, she’s always been very close to me and William,” Harry said in an interview to mark his 21st birthday in 2005. “She’s not the bad stepmother,” he concluded.
* Michael Holden of Reuters contributed to this story
Source: CNN Brasil