WHEN Camilla is crowned Queen alongside Charles III amid the splendour of Westminster Abbey on May 6, it will mark the end of an extraordinary journey.
Over five decades she has gone from being his mistress to his wife and then Queen Consort.
Now the ornate Coronation invitation makes it clear.
She will officially be titled Queen Camilla.
It’s the culmination of a heart-warming love story.
For Camilla hasn’t schemed to be Queen all her life.
Now aged 75, she is not someone who basks in the limelight.
But she came to realise that if she wanted to be with Charles then she must accept her role as his Queen.
Watching on, Prince William will be delighted.
He has now warmly accepted that Camilla and his father make a good match.
While Prince Harry has been cruel and brutal about both Charles and William in his book Spare, they have remained silent and dignified.
William has lent a hand organising the Coronation and is well aware how happy Camilla makes the King.
Once a strained relationship, Camilla and William now get along very well.
The Princess of Wales also teamed up with Camilla, adding children’s books to her online book club The Reading Room.
William appreciates that Camilla has not tried to be a grandmother to George, Charlotte and Louis, just as she wasn’t a stepmother to him and Harry.
When William and Harry were growing up, Camilla adopted the role of a friendly grown-up they saw occasionally at royal gatherings.
On May 6 Camilla’s grandsons, Gus, Louis and Freddy, will appear alongside Prince George as the King and Queen’s pages of honour.
It will cement the fact that two families are coming together at the Coronation. It’s not just the Windsors.
I’m sure Camilla will have butterflies as she arrives at the abbey.
She will be very nervous of someone shouting something unpleasant or her putting a foot wrong.
But she will know the important thing is for Charles to know she is at his side. She doesn’t think of the job as a 50/50 split.
She knows her main role is to support Charles.
Charles listens to her.
She lived a pretty ordinary life until her mid-50s but Charles has always been inside the royal bubble.
It helps to make them a great double act.
When they are attending an engagement together you only have to look at them to know they have something very special.
They seem to be able to communicate without talking.
They look into each other’s eyes and give a little look so each knows how the other is feeling.
It’s very moving, actually. You think, “Are these teenagers who have just met?”.
She can make him laugh and she can make him relax.
Camilla has had an apprenticeship for her role.
In the last two or three years she and Charles took on a lot more of the Queen’s engagements when she couldn’t manage them.
When the Queen died Camilla probably thought, “It’s a very hard act to follow”.
When she and Charles returned to London from Scotland following his mother’s death they were worried about the reception they might receive as King and Queen.
Would people shout nasty remarks or would large crowds even turn up?
But they were overwhelmed when thousands gathered at Buckingham Palace to wish them well.
Camilla led the way as they exited their limousine to greet the crowds.
The walkabout was a way of telling us they want to be easy to talk to, not aloof, and that they don’t want to be fuddy-duddy.
Camilla — who really listens to the people she meets — has been a big part in that.
What is she like in person?
She is one of those people who the more you meet her, the more you like her.
She is very good at putting people at ease. She cracks great jokes, she is very self-deprecating.
When she held a reception for actors she invited Emerald Fennell, who played her in The Crown.
Camilla made a little speech and said it was “reassuring to know that if I should fall off my perch at any moment, my fictional alter ego is here to take over”.
Her depiction in The Crown was not exactly flattering, so Camilla — who was charming to Emerald — made a nonsense of that.
Afterwards Emerald said: “She’s been in the spotlight for a long time and has always weathered it with a lot of grace and good humour.”
Now, as she prepares for life as Queen, expect things to be very much business as usual.
- Angela Levin is author of Camilla: From Outcast To Queen Consort.
LONG MAY SHE RAIN
CAMILLA put on a brolly nice smile to wellwishers in rainy Malton, North Yorks, during a walkabout with Charles yesterday.
Despite the weather, hundreds lined the streets to greet the royal visitors, who shook hands with locals, and Camilla asked some of the children if they were enjoying their holiday.
The King and the Queen Consort also sampled gin, macarons, gelato and banana bread at the town’s Talbot Yard Food Court.
At the Rare Bird Distillery, Charles joked: “Nothing more fun than a gin distillery,” and tried its award-winning London dry gin, but declined a vanilla version, saying: “It’s not quite the right time of day.”