This year has seen Camilla become a more prominent member of the Royal Family. As the Queen has taken a step back, Prince Charles and Camilla have given a glimpse into what the future of the monarchy will look like.
And the monarch appears to be making decisions in order to ensure a smooth transition, one of the most notable being announced during her Accession Day message, which stated: “It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes [Charles ascends the throne], Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
When Charles and Camilla got married in 2005, it was decided that she would take on the secondary title of Duchess of Cornwall — rather than Princess of Wales — and be known as Princess Consort rather than Queen Consort once Charles becomes king. These decisions are believed to have been made out of respect for the prince’s first wife Diana, Princess of Wales.
The monarch’s announcement put to bed years of speculation over whether or not Camilla would ever be Queen.
Charles and Camilla got married in a civil ceremony in 2005.
However, while the Sovereign has expressed her support for the Duchess, one royal commentator has claimed Camilla may not have won over the public in the same way.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, said that there is a new generation of Diana supporters “who feel just as strongly I think as people did back then,” referring to the Nineties which saw the breakdown of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage and the revelations of their extramarital affairs.
GMB host Susanna Reid opened the conversation by suggesting that the British public had moved on from the negative feeling toward Camilla, who was blamed for the dissolution of Charles’ and Diana’s relationship.
She argued: “The Queen has sort of anointed her future queen consort,” adding, “most people have forgotten about the breakdown of the marriage and they love her now.”
However, Mr Royston disagreed, citing recent poll data which suggests a large percentage of Brits still have mixed feelings towards Camilla, particularly with Diana’s legacy of kindness and perception as a victim placing younger people on her side.
Charles and Diana’s marriage ended in divorce in 1996.
“You can see that in the polling that YouGov does, for example. People in the 1990s took Diana’s side in this dispute and actually the younger generations growing up now feel just as strongly I think as people did back then.”
Mr Royston added: “They love Diana. They love the legacy that she left, her humanitarian streak, her warmth and kindness and they feel she was the victim of an injustice basically.
“That she was, to use Diana’s own words, ‘a lamb to the slaughter’ when she married Charles.”
He concluded that Charles marrying Diana, introducing her to the demands of royal life at the young age of 20 and later having an affair with Camilla is what people today continue to raise a problem with.
Diana was nicknamed the ‘People’s Princess’ and garnered icon status.
He said: “It is that feeling that drives some of the negative sentiment towards Charles and Camilla.”
The YouGov poll that Mr Royston referred to places the Duchess of Cornwall as the eighth most popular royal in Britain, falling behind Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and Prince Charles. The data shows that 40 percent of those polled had positive views on Camilla.
Among Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964), the number of people who have positive views of the Duchess increases to 42 percent, it increases to 43 percent among Generation X (born 1965–1980) voters and decreases to 37 percent among Millennials (born 1981–1995).
Since being introduced to the royal fold, Camilla has been at the centre of PR projects in an effort to increase her public popularity.
To mark her 75th year, the Duchess did her first interview and photoshoot for British Vogue as well as her special edition of Country Life which was accompanied by a documentary.
Camilla was vilified by the public when her relationship with Charles came to light.
But feminist author Julie Bindel, who joined Mr Royston on GMB, argued that part of Camilla’s likability can be put down to the authentic way she undertakes her charity work.
She also suggested that the continued criticism faced by the royal for her role in an extramarital affair is sexist.
Ms Bindel explained: “This is down to sexism in my view. Blaming the woman for an affair that a man has.
“Of course Diana was a victim. She was railroaded into an arranged marriage, it was appalling what happened to her but this is not down to Camilla.
“Camilla is someone who takes her charitable work really seriously, as Diana did, but Camilla actually advocates the more stigmatised issues such as rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and everyone I know that has met her… say that she is genuine.”
Camilla has dedicated herself to a number of important causes.
Concluding her point, Bindel said of Camilla: “I think that now we can really stop thinking of her as the wicked stepmother in the fairytale where Diana is the princess and stop this sexist approach to comparing women.”
The Duchess has rarely spoken about her experiences during the Nineties and has never publicly spoken about Diana.
In her recent interview with Vogue, Camilla addressed the negative attention and revealed how she has managed to deal with it.
She admitted: “It’s not easy…I was scrutinised for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it.
“Nobody likes to be looked at all the time and, you know, criticised …But I think in the end, I sort of rise above it and get on with it. You’ve got to get on with life.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK