The Queen and Camilla: From ‘natural aversion’ to ‘acceptance and now endorsement’

Queen Camilla: Hint of sign Duchess would get title

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On her Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II revealed in a message to the public that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, would be Queen Consort rather than Princess Consort. Judi James spoke exclusively to about the monarch’s huge statement and how her relationship with her daughter-in-law has changed over the years.  

Judi stated: “With her signature traits of stoicism and practical thinking in mind it would be easy to imagine that, following the death of her husband last year and with her seventieth jubilee approaching, the Queen has been giving a lot of thought to the role of the crown after she has gone.”

At 94-years-old, and soon approaching her 95th birthday on April 21, it is a sad reality that the Royal Family may one day soon have to accept a new sovereign.

Indeed, as she ascended the throne in 1952, most people currently alive have only known one monarch, hence the Queen knows that deciding the future of the monarchy is an enormous decision.

Judi continued: “She’s witnessed and suffered so many threatening dramas, rifts, scandals and upheavals in the Firm over the years and will see it as her job to ensure she passes on an institution that is as solid as possible, just as any CEO of a large company would want their legacy to their successor to be a business that is as successful and water-tight as they can make it.”

As the Queen’s eldest son, 73-year-old Prince Charles is heir to throne, thus “one vital factor to ensure the equilibrium of the monarchy is Prince Charles’s happiness”.

She stated: “The unhappiness of his first marriage and his refusal to take the path of compromise showed up a huge and possibly fatal fissure in the institution of the monarchy.

“By divorcing Diana and insisting on marrying Camilla, Charles showed he was capable of taking the kind of risks with his inheritance that the Queen had never and would never contemplate.

“She had seen the task her father inherited after the abdication of her uncle and the spectre of that seismic upheaval must have prompted her current responses and behaviours towards her son’s choice of wife.”

Over the years, the Queen has moved “steadily and sensibly” from “a natural aversion to Camilla” to “acceptance and now endorsement”.

But according to Andrew Morton, author of Diana: Her True Story: In Her Own Words, the Queen had also been a supporter of Diana.

Regarding the Princess’ relationship with her mother-in-law, Andrew believed that she found “perhaps a rather unlikely ally at the palace in the queen”.

During difficult times in her marriage and its subsequent breakdown, it was the “understanding and helpful attitude” of the Queen that “did much to encourage Diana to soldier on”.

Judi continued that while Camilla is now held so highly in the Queen’s regard, “in many ways she had no choice”.

“With Diana gone and Fergie banished to the farthest reaches of the palace grounds every Christmas, she could hardly risk alienating another daughter-in-law and – in all probability – a son and heir.

“Charles sounds like a stubborn man with his ‘non-negotiable’ demands.

This suggests that the cordial relationship between Camilla and the Queen was born out of the Queen’s desire placate her son and prevent a rocky future monarchy.

She knows that Camilla makes her son happy, and has devoted herself to him entirely.

Judi concluded: “The relationship we see now between the two women is based largely on PR and public messaging.

“The Queen is seen smiling warmly at Camilla and chatting to her with what looks like fondness and is now seen on some of her own visits with Camilla at her side.

“There is not the easy-going formality that suggests close friendship in their body language poses in the way that we can see with the Queen and Sophie, but a clue to Camilla’s position in the Firm comes more from what do look like shared friendship signals with Anne.”

“A fiercely protective and loyal daughter to both her mother and her late father, it’s Anne’s recent body language with Camilla that could provide a litmus test for the relationship with the Queen herself.”

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