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The jubilee was a huge success: for the Queen, of course, but also for Camilla. It’s now time to accept her as the palace already does: as our future Queen

It’s time for us to move on: the Queen has, so should we.

By on Friday, 8 June 2012

Royal couple in Italy

It was, by general consent, a significant moment: when the Queen came out on to the balcony after the carriage procession to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, there were only five other royals with her: No Prince Andrew, no Princess Royal; no Prince Edward (he was visiting his father in hospital). This was the inner core of the royal family: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry; Prince Charles and—yes—PRINCESS Camilla, the Princess of Wales: for that is what she is by law, and it is time now that that is how she should become officially designated. All this “Duchess of Cornwall” stuff was to cope with the still remaining post-Diana hostility to her. She was treated as a marginal royal, on the very edge of “the firm”, barely tolerated as such. It is a sign of how very well she has done, how hard and successfully she has worked to reverse this perception, that the Queen could make the implicit declaration she did by coming on to the balcony, without Prince Philip, but with those very five carefully chosen members of her family: heirs to the throne with their wives and Prince Harry because he and his brother are so close. It wasn’t principally about Camilla, of course: but it was at least partly so.

The Press has already cottoned on to all this, both Camilla’s personal achievement, and the Queen’s total change of mind (she once described Camilla as “that wicked woman” and refused to meet her). The Daily Mail, once one of the leaders of the anti-Camilla pack, spotted it straight away:


The sad absence of Prince Philip from the final glorious tableaux marking the Diamond Jubilee meant the Queen had the opportunity to decide with whom to share the affection of the public on that last open carriage ride through the streets of London to Buckingham Palace.

She chose the former Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

The two women sat side by side, their comfortable level of intimacy plain to see. Prince Charles sat on the seat facing them. How true the old axiom that time changes everything….

Here, the woman Diana described as the ‘third person’ in her marriage has not merely been accepted into the Royal Family. She has clearly turned into its most central figure after the Queen herself, a vital and trusted lynchpin between the young and the old.

During the four-day Jubilee weekend, Camilla has never been without a word: here, to the Duchess of Cambridge; there, to the Queen; an amusing aside with Prince Philip; a giggle with the young Princes.

Throughout the spectacle, she has been the most animated and relaxed figure in the Royal Family, plugged in to them all. The truth is that she has become — as we first saw as the Royals grouped with the Queen on board the Spirit of Chartwell on the Thames on Sunday — an integral element of the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’.

Now, before going any further, since this is a Catholic site let me just deal with the question which I can just hear some of my readers coming up with if I don’t: why should Catholics accept her as Prince Charles’s wife, when she’s a divorcee with a husband still living? The best answer to that would be that their marriage was annulled: but there seems to be some controversy on the matter (though David Twiston Davies did write in this paper on the occasion of Prince Charles’s second marriage, that her former husband, Andrew Parker Bowles “was able to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Camilla; so, if his former wife had also been a Catholic, she would now be free to marry in the eyes of the Catholic Church”. I have not been able to confirm this, but it may be true. But even if it isn’t, it doesn’t signify. This is not a Catholic country. According to English law, the heir to the British throne is legally married: his marriage is recognised by the Church of England, by Parliament, and by the Queen herself. When in 2009 Prince Charles visited the Pope, Camilla accompanied him as his wife, and the Holy Father accepted her as such. 

And so, as English (or British, if you like) Catholics, should we: end of. If she’s good enough for the Pope, she’s good enough for us.

Back to the question of what we should call Camilla. There is, perhaps, still some small residual reason for avoiding the use of a title still associated with the late Princess of Wales (though it’s fading fast). But I shall strongly object, when Prince Charles succeeds to the throne, if she is not generally accorded the title of Queen, and even more strongly if at his coronation she does not take her place at his side for her own coronation as his consort. Anything else would lead to us being saddled with an only partly functioning monarchy: for that is what a monarchy with a king who has a wife who is not his Queen consort would be.

It’s clear, however, that opinion—both that of the public and also inside the palace itself—is changing about the whole thing. The Daily Mirror reported a source within the palace as saying that “The jubilee celebrations not only recognised the Queen’s magnificent 60 years on the throne, they also marked the start of a new era for Britain’s Royal Family – with Prince Charles and Camilla at the forefront. Prince Philip’s absence on the Buckingham Palace balcony yesterday added to the sense that times are changing rapidly for the monarchy. The rest of the royals kept a low profile, and that is how Prince Charles sees the way forward, with Camilla at his side.”

The Mirror (of all papers) commented: “Today, at a time when the Royal Family is basking in popularity on the world stage, Camilla’s continued appearances as the Queen’s right-hand woman is a PR triumph for those in the palace who intend that she will one day be Queen.” This was confirmed by their source in the palace, who declared that “Camilla has proved herself by taking on royal engagements in the last two or three years successfully enough that her future as a Queen seems more assured”.

And so it should be. Her full acceptance by the Queen herself has now been officially conveyed by the announcement that Camilla is to become a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (which is given only on the queen’s personal decision) to mark the seventh anniversary of her wedding to Prince Charles. The Queen fully accepts her now; and so should we: both as Princess of Wales and as our future Queen.

  • nytor

    It does signify, in fact, whether or not she has had an annulment. If not, she is not validly married in the eyes of the Church and I cannot recognise her marriage. I care nothing for English civil law in matters which are properly the province of canon law. If English law recognises a gay couple as married, will you do so? I certainly won’t.

    Anyway, if it is the case that she has had an annulment then it would be a valid marriage as Prince Charles was a widower. Although this cannot be confirmed the assumption has to be that she has had an annulment as her ex-husband remarried as well  – and he was the Catholic. If he married his now deceased second wife Rosemary in a Catholic Church, then there must have been an annulment. Did he?

    This is presumably why the pope accepted Camilla. He must know if there has been an annulment.

  • Herman U. Ticke

     Vatican 2 taught that the
    “purpose of marriage is not only to produce
     children but also to enable the couple to
    support one another in mutual love.”
    (this page also highlights several other changes
    which did/didnot happen at Vatican 2)

    See: Canon Law 1983  paragraph  1055.1
    The way was thus opened for the
    divorce-grade annulment

    “Eucharistic devotion such as is noted in the
     silent visit by the devout in church must not be
    thought of as a conversation with God.
    This would assume that God was present there locally and in a confined way.
    To justify such an assertion shows a lack of understanding
     of the Christological mysteries of the very concept of God.
    This is repugnant to the serious thinking of the man
    who knows about the omnipresence of God.
    To go to Church on the grounds that one can visit God who is
     present there is a senseless act which modern man rightfully rejects.”

    You will have to excuse me now I feel
    a discontinuty coming on…..

  • teigitur

    She seems a nice enough lady. The media and the Palace have done a good job in getting her accepted, but I hope she will never be Queen.Something not quite right.

  • Anonymous

    The reason for her being referred to as Duchess of Cornwall is not merely a show of “post-Diana” hostility. The reason that I do it is merely one of consistency: one wonders why, if Camilla is allowed to become queen, the same privilege was never extended to Wallis Simpson (who was merely granted the title “Duchess of Windsor” with no addition of “her royal highness.”) If Edward VIII could not have a divorced woman as queen then why should the current Prince of Wales? I fail to see why Catholics should view this differently to anybody else.

  • AC

    Who cares? It means nothing at all to me as a Catholic, but I know that Anglo-Catholic snobbery loves this sort of stuff, so I suppose it has place, here at least.

  • Parasum

    “It’s now time to accept her as the palace already does: as our future Queen”

    ## Let’s get this straight – adultery, marriage-breaking, fornication, violations of marriage vows by at least two of the parties most closely involved, are acceptable Christian morality.

    Gay marriage, OTOH, is a huge no-no. Even if those involved are not Christian & don’t aspire to be.

    In what universe does the position put forward in the article count as *consistent Catholic morality* ? It is now blatantly obvious that the objection of the CH to (say) gay marriage has nothing at all to do with morality. Or with avoiding moral relativism. Or with keeping to the CCC. This “morality” is worthy of the contortions of characters in “Animal Farm”: all sexual activities outside marriage are wrong, but some are alright, if enough time goes by. IOW: morals have an expiry date. Or must they be the “right kind of morals” ? Maybe adultery is virtuous in June, but vicious in May or July; or is of no importance in the heir to the throne & his mistress, but a matter of desperate, society-destroying urgency in two gay people who love one another.

    Moral 1: heterosexual immorality – A-OK. Gay marriage w/out adultery, marriage-breaking, violations of marriage vows – very bad for society indeed.
    Moral 2: Adultery & consummated copulation are fine, as long as a decent interval is allowed to pass.

    This not a moral position.  An amoral & relativistic position? Absolutely. The CH rejects Catholic morality – what else does it reject ?  BTW, the Queen is not a Catholic, nor does she claim to adhere to Catholic morality. So for the CH to make her an example for Catholics to follow is odd, to put it mildly. The question is, not who someone is, but whether or not that person’s behaviour is (a) morally good and (b) is for that reason a good example to follow. 

  • greenmoon


  • Paul Cavendish

    Gosh, for once I find myself in full agreement with William Oddie!

  • Fard0123

      Maybe CH was a bit over enthusiastic over the coronation and Camilla /Charles new found popularity and  forgot their past sins/public scandals.However we cant be too harsh and be guilty of rash judgement.We dont know for sure if they repented or not-but they did have to say sorry at the wedding ceremony,did they not?God forgives,but we have to sorry  for our sins and we as people fall short all the time.I think a good indication that people are sorry and repent is the kind of life they go on to live AFTER they have been living now,   are they still sining or trying to amend their lives?

    They must be married otherwise the C.O.E would not have allowed the ceremony to take place,I honestly cant see the Queen allowing  Charles to marry her otherwise.

  • Fard0123

     Apologies.I should have put the” kind of life they go on to live AFTER living a sinful one”.

  • Golden Mouth

    Wallis Simpson was an American.

  • Simon Davies

    I suppose it would be an interesting constitutional conundrum when gay marriages are permitted by the state, which they surely will be soon, and doubtless that the liberal rump of the Church of England will approve one day too (by which time the Church would probably have been disestablished anyway, so it wouldn’t matter). If the son of King William V and Queen Catherine is a homosexual and marries his boyfriend, which one will be crowned Queen?

  • Simon Davies

    Not only was Wallis Simpson an American, but she was divorced twice before she married Prince David, Duke of Windsor, and, indeed, when he became King Edward VIII, she was still married to her second husband! She had a bad reputation by the Victorian social mores of the day (not a criticism; just an observation!), which would not accept such an arrangement. Remember, some people in the upper echelons of government would have remembered the constitutional crises caused by Queen Victoria’s lack of interest in governing her empire. Republicanism was fresh in their living memories, and with war looming and establishments being overthrown in Europe, now wasn’t the time to shake the boat back in Blighty! Importantly, the canons of the Church of England did not permit the attempted marriage of a divorcee in 1937, whereas it was a permissible arrangement by 2005. The laws had changed in the intervening years, as well as society.

  • JByrne24

    I suppose there was never any prospect of procreation in the marriage of these two? The Pope seems not to be concerned.

    And, as a another commentator says below: “## Let’s get this straight – adultery, marriage-breaking, fornication, violations of marriage vows by at least two of the parties most closely involved, are acceptable Christian morality.”

    Apart from this and similar observations, this topic is deeply boring.

  • Piers D’arcy


  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    “This was the inner core of the royal family: Prince William and the
    Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry; Prince Charles and—yes—PRINCESS
    Camilla, the Princess of Wales: for that is what she is by law, and it
    is time now that that is how she should become officially designated . . . ”

    Even if she and the Prince of Wales had been each others’ first and only spouses, the lady presently known as H.R.H. the Duchess of Cornwall would not properly be referred to as “Princess Camilla,” because the title “Prince” or “Princess” prefixed to the Christian name is a style reserved to the sons and daughters of the sovereign and to sovereign’s grandsons and granddaughters in the male line. Although the Prince of Wales’ first wife was popularly known, especially to the media, as “Princess Diana,” this also was not correct, and Diana was not referred to in this way in official or Court circles.

    It is true: “H.R.H. The present Princess of Wales” is legally speaking the correct title of the former Mrs. Andrew Parker-Bowles, who, whether she becomes officially recognized as Queen or not, will always be the step-mother and the step-grandmother of the next two generations of monarchs, whose true mother and grandmother by blood will always be Diana Princess of Wales.

  • xtopep

    gross gross hypocrisy from Oddie

    The second wife of the PoW is divorced.
    Jesus condemned divorce, apparently; he said nothing about homosexuality but Oddie, like many of the readers of this website, bang on and on and on about homosexuality.

     “But even if it isn’t, it doesn’t signify. This is not a Catholic
    country. According to English law, the heir to the British throne is
    legally married”

    So when I am free to have my same sex partnership recognised in law as a marriage, I look forward to Dr Oddie’s full acceptance. Not.

    I’m beginning to agree with Hilary Mantel – the church is full of “cruelty” and “hypocrisy” .

  • Mack

    Camilla seems to be very nice, and she loves her husband, her nation, and her Queen. 

  • Mark

    I suppose we are lucky then that Mr Oddie does not speak for
    the Church, or the CH for that matter, and his column is just his personal
    opinion, otherwise you comment s would be of some concern instead of an attack
    of the vapours.

  • frater sejunctus

    Not so fast, Dr Oddie. Camilla’s HRH is already a step too far, and her becoming Queen one day would rewrite the sixth commandment to stipulate, “Thou shalt indeed commit adultery–and profit handsomely thereby.” Odd that Camilla became a HRH when the Queen’s grandchildren through her youngest son are denied their birthright. They day Camilla gets crowned Queen, I hope the Royals dig up the late Duchess of Windsor and formally apologise to her.

  • W Oddie

    So, what this post is really about is your homosexuality. Right?

  • Julia Nutwood

    I’m not happy about having Camilla as queen and I know many who are not.  I pray that Prince Charles dies before his mother rather than England having a Queen Camilla.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Of course the lady born Miss Camilla Shand will one day become Queen Consort of King Charles III* (in the Protestant Succession) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    And as to the marital status of the various Protestant members of the royal family and their various Protestant spouses, one can only say, as they do in California, U.S.A.: “Hey! (shrug) Like, whatever!”

    Ultimately, it is as the King pleases. And has been ever since the reign of bluff Hal.

    Divorced – not-divorced. Married – not-married. The Act of Supremacy specifically provides that the sovereigns of Britain don’t observe the laws of the Catholic Church in their marital undertakings; why should we be surprised, then, when scions of the Protestant Succession in Britain do things that deviate from what we as Catholics know to be the commands of Christ?

    As we say in corporate America: “It is what it is.”

    I am no fan of our current President; however, Mr. Obama is the POTUS (President of the United States) and Mrs. Obama is our First Lady. Whether I like those facts or not, it is what it is.

    So, of course, we accept persons whose agendas or whose class or marital status we object to as our country’s leaders. Not much choice, is there? Other than to stick one’s head in an oven. And that’s not much of a plan.

    *if that is the regnal name that the present Prince of Wales in the Protestant Succession chooses upon his accession to the throne

  • alfresco

    King Charles II spent a lot of time with women, particularly Nell Gwyn, other than his wife.

    In comparison, Prince Charles’ marriage, after the death of his own wife and to a woman whose previous marriage is annulled, is postively normal.

    At the end of the day, it is all about love

  • renming328

  • Tonycoughlin26

    I think it’s about time we accept her as she is. I’m sorry about Diana ,I really am but she was no angle was she either and no ne is perfect. Camilla suits Charles better and you can see that. THIS IS NOT X FACTOR and nor should it be treated as though. The strength of the institution of the monarchy is the constancy and conntiuence of stability and that does not come from popularity votes, but steadfastness and carry on when all around you the world has gone mad.bthat god for the monarchy and the institutions it brings. God save the queen and the rest of the royal family, and for those that don’t like it, then pi@@ off somewhere else to boring Greece, Portugal or Germany where few people couldnt even name there head of state.