Prince Charles celebrated his 70th birthday today with a private birthday dinner at Buckingham Palace, and needless to say, things got a little wild. I mean, as wild as a royal engagement can get, which one can only imagine is pretty exciting. In a family not known for their intimate public moments, one stood out as a particularly heartwarming moment.
Charles is the oldest and longest-serving heir in British history, and this is a big deal for the monarchy. Queen Elizabeth took to the stage to commemorate her son, and even better, to commemorate his relationship with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Her Majesty herself said about Camilla's relationship with Charles: "Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative."
These are big words coming from the Queen, whose history with Camilla has been fraught with controversy. Camilla was initially the popular debutante-turned-girlfriend of Prince Charles, before she went onto marry Andrew Parker-Bowles before they separated after 32 years of marriage. She's been married to Prince Charles for 12 years, after a long and sordid affair while Charles was still married to Princess Diana.
The Queen is said to believe the pair had been irresponsible in their infidelities, and had Camilla banned from the palace. Charles and Diana divorced in 1992, and the Prince and Camilla continued on with their affair, this time with more discretion than before. With encouragement from the Queen this time, they were set to go public with their relationship in 1997 when Diana passed away in a tragic car accident.
They quietly continued their romance, and went public as a couple when they attended Camilla's sister's 50th birthday party in 1999 together. The Queen gave Charles permission to marry Camilla in 2005. At their wedding reception, the Queen's speech included the fond testament "My son is home and dry with the woman he loves." Aw.
The relationship between the Queen and Camilla has continued to warm since then, with Camilla being invited to sit alongside her in her carriage at the Diamond Jubilee and Camilla being gifted two honors: The Royal Family Order and the Grand Cross of the Victorian Order, both serving as personal seals of approval from Her Majesty.
Like I said: it's a Big Deal that the Queen did this. Happy Birthday, Charles, your mom likes your wife!