As we heard, the Duchess of Cornwall will be inducted into the Order of the Garter, which is the highest honor in the British Honours system. Was it a surprise? Eh. Maybe, but it’s been clear for seventeen years that Prince Charles will do anything to ensure that Camilla is elevated, praised, loved and embiggened, and most importantly, Camilla will be declared Queen Consort beside him. The Order of the Garter is significant on its own, but in the grand scheme of Prince Charles’s need to make Camilla his “Queen,” it’s really just the latest royal gambit. It’s especially timely because after slowly growing Camilla’s “popularity” for years, Charles and Camilla both took a major hit when The Crown’s fourth season came out and new generations were introduced to how terribly they treated Diana. Now the Daily Mail columnist Hugo Vickers is underlining what all of this means for Cam, in a piece called “Now there can be no doubt – Camilla WILL be Charles’s queen.”
The appointment of the Duchess of Cornwall to the prestigious Order of the Garter is, at its heart, a unifying gesture. It comes at the beginning of what will be the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, binding together the inner circle of the Royal Family after 12 months of turbulence, controversy and deep personal loss. But, more than that, it paves the way for the Duchess to become not only Queen by right when Prince Charles succeeds to the throne, but Queen by name.
That is surely what will now happen. And with this latest announcement, there is no greater honour – or better indication of the respect in which she is held by the Queen.
Tellingly, it also gives the Duchess an elevated position in her own right should she outlive her husband. There can now be no doubt: Camilla is central to the future of the British monarchy.
The gesture is the latest in a long line of advancements for the Duchess, who – it is fascinating to observe – changed from hated mistress to supportive wife more or less overnight when she married Charles in April 2005. It was as though, in becoming an HRH, she became a different person. But her acceptance did, in fact, come in subtle steps.
As Charles’s wife, for example, she could be adorned with the family jewels and was soon to be seen wearing Margaret Greville’s magnificent tiara and five-strand necklace, which the society hostess and philanthropist had bequeathed to the Queen Mother. Further evidence of the family’s admiration came when Camilla was given the Royal Family Order in 2007 – an image of the Queen worn on a pale-yellow moiré ribbon – which is bestowed on most HRHs except, notably, the Duchess of York and Princess Michael. She was honoured with the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2012, which is again usually given to Royal Ladies.
But her appointment to the Privy Council in 2016 was unprecedented. The body of trusted advisers to the Sovereign includes all Cabinet Ministers, the Queen’s private secretary and certain members of the Royal Family, including Prince Philip. Charles was appointed in 1977 and the Duke of Cambridge in 2016. It’s worth noting that Queen Mary and the Queen Mother – the last two wives to Kings – were never Privy Counsellors. But it is the Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, which is Camilla’s greatest achievement to date.
[From The Daily Mail]
I actually enjoy reading about this kind of royal history, about which queen consorts got what, and the “schedule” of Camilla’s many honors. That is genuinely interesting to me. All that being said, I found some of these statements very curious and almost ominous. “Tellingly, it also gives the Duchess an elevated position in her own right should she outlive her husband.” Does Salt Island not understand the kind of bad vibes they’re putting out into the world? Why is the institution preparing for Camilla, the widowed queen consort? Is there something about Charles’s health we should know about? And think about what is really being said – Camilla needs her own position codified and set in stone before King Incandescent With Rage assumes power. Hm. Also: “There can now be no doubt: Camilla is central to the future of the British monarchy.” She’s 74 years old!!! Is it ageism to say that whatever happens over the next decade, that old wine bag is only “central” to Charles and no one else?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar and Backgrid.
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