In a message to mark Accession Day and her 70 years on the throne, The Queen has penned a letter thanking the people for their loyalty and affection, and has expressed she wants Camilla to be Queen Consort when the time comes.
The Monarch acknowledged that for her, 6th February is a sad day: “It is the day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign.”
In a rare message from Elizabeth II to her people, The Queen renewed her promise that her life would be devoted to their service, even after 70 years. She made this promise first at the age of 21, when still just a Princess: “It gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service.”
She also signed the letter, ‘Your servant Elizabeth’.
Her letter also references how she is looking forward to the year and the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which include a pageant, service of thanksgiving and an extra bank holiday.
“As I look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism to the year of my Platinum Jubilee,” she writes, “I am reminded of how much we can be thankful for. These last seven decades have seen extraordinary progress socially, technologically and culturally, that have benefited us all; and I’m confident that the future will offer similar opportunities to us and especially to the younger generations in the United Kingdom and throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.”
Moving to the affection she feels, she comments on the support from her family first. “I’m fortunate to have had the steadfast and loving support of my family. I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role vessel my own mother performed during my father’s reign,” she observes.
“I would like to express my thanks for all your support,” The Queen adds, before going on to say she is ‘eternally grateful’ and ‘humbled’ by the continued loyalty and affection she receives.
In a surprise move, The Queen made a comment about Camilla’s role in the future.
“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincerest wish, that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
It has long been expected that Camilla would become Princess Consort when Charles was King, after a statement made by Clarence House in the early years of their marriage stating this. This was partly to assuage those who disliked The Duchess of Cornwall but also to honour the late Princess of Wales is memory, however many will agree – much as The Queen herself does – that she has performed her role admirably.
Clarence House also spoke of a law change, if necessary, to ensure Camilla would not be Queen Consort, but by 2018, the inclusion of these were no longer on the official royal websites.
Legally, the Duchess will automatically become Queen Consort when her husband succeeds, but it was thought – much like with her current title – she would be known as Princess Consort. Polls over the years have shown mixed reactions to the idea, but it has generally not been popular.