That’s the belief of author Sally Bedell Smith, who says that debate about whether Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will be given a different, lesser title is moot: It is Charles’s call and he will want her to be his queen.
When she got married, Camilla was given the Duchess of Cornwall title, as Charles is the Duke of Cornwall, among other titles. This enabled her and courtiers to side-step her being known as Princess of Wales. In most peoples’ eyes, there is only one Princess of Wales – Charles’s late former wife, Diana. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of her death at age 36.
In a similar way, palace chiefs have played down her title as Queen alongside a King Charles because of sensitivities among the Diana-supporting population who see her as blame for the couple’s marriage woes.
But Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbably Life says, “Most of the constitutional experts agree that by common law and tradition she is entitled to be Queen.”
“It was obviously fudged when they got married. Diana was so uppermost in many peoples’ minds. So they concocted the notion of a Princess Consort which is made up. They obviously have worked very hard to have her accepted and she has been accepted,” Bedell Smith tells PEOPLE.
“If she were anything less than Queen Consort it would imply inferiority on her part.”
For her part, Queen Elizabeth has brought her fully into the royal fold.
“She is genuinely fond of her, she loves horses and dogs like the Queen does and is a countrywomen like herself,” Bedell Smith says.
The Queen has also given her specific honors and named her to Privy Council last year so Camilla will be among the small number of people who will observe as Charles is proclaimed King.
Bedell Smith says she got a “much better sense of Charles’s relationship with Camilla.”
“She can bring him back to earth and jolly him along,” Bedell Smith says, sharing a story from 1998when Charles had to leave his country home Highgrove to pick up a million-pound check for his Princes Trust foundation.
“He was griping about going and Camilla said, ‘Come on. Who else can go in a helicopter, collect a check and come back for tea? She said, ‘I wish I could work for that daily rate.’ ”
She adds, “She was trying that he was being spoiled – do what you’re supposed to do! She was setting him straight.”