There are many column inches and social media posts devoted to the title HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will take when her husband HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) becomes King.
The facts of the matter are that on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales will become King and his wife will become Queen Consort.
So what’s the problem I hear you say? Good question and in this article I will explain my point of view.
The answer in my opinion lies in the marriage and divorce of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
On 29 July 1981, Prince Charles married the 20 year old Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul Cathedral and all was set fair for the handsome prince and his beautiful young bride to open up a new bright chapter in the history of the British monarchy.
Only a few people close to Charles and Diana, respectively knew that both parties were having serious doubts. Only a short time before the wedding Diana was expressing misgivings about the wedding with one of her friends quipping ‘its too late to pull out now Duch, your face is on the tea towels’.
Diana thought she was marrying a man who would love, support and shield her whilst she learned the ropes of royal duty. Charles had done his duty as heir to the throne by marrying a virginal aristocrat, from a family with well establish links to The Crown.
After the birth of their two sons, Prince William in 1982 and Prince Henry (Harry) in 1984, the marriage despite the very best efforts of both Charles and Diana broke down beyond repair. As the cracks in the relationship widened they were making each other completely miserable and both were deeply unhappy.
It was at this time that Charles started to turn back to the friends he had relied on before his marriage, and in particular his old girlfriend and confidant, Camilla Parker Bowles. Her own marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles was believed to be unhappy and inevitably Charles and Camilla rekindled their romance. At the time Diana blamed Camilla for the failure of her own marriage, famously saying later ‘there were three people in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded’
However, Diana had also turned to male friends and found some solace and comfort in James Hewitt and others.
The breakdown of the marriage is well documented, with the Wales’ marriage finally ending in 1996 leaving the couple free to follow their own hearts.
Sadly, just as Diana was starting to spread her wings she lost her life at the hands of a drunk driver and seriously inadequate security measures. The security team were over ruled when they advised to leave through the front door of the Ritz Paris. Instead they went out the back door to circumvent the paparazzi. This back-fired and the paparazzi engaged the black Mercedes in a high-speed chase with fatal consequences
Here lies the difficulty. Charles went on to marry Camilla and the two are clearly in love and happy in each other’s company. Perhaps for some who loved Diana they cannot forgive Camilla for her part in the infidelities and feel that if she is named Queen Consort that will usurp the position that Diana would have had, had the Wales marriage been happy.
My opinion is that the palace establishment made a major mistake when they would not allow Prince Charles to marry Camilla in the first place. They bullied him into marrying the ‘right girl’, who clearly was not mature or wordly wise enough at 19 to become a senior member of the most famous royal family in the world.
If you find someone in the world who makes you happy and you wish to spend your life with them, celebrate and be glad for others who are lucky enough to find the same companionship. The sadness is that Diana never had the chance to find the same personal happiness, not that Camilla will support her husband in the enormous task he will take on as King.