One look at the Coronation invitation was all it took to know that it is Buckingham Palace’s intention for Camilla to be known as Queen Camilla—not Princess Consort, as it was said she would one day be known upon her marriage to the then Prince Charles in 2005, and not Queen Consort, as Her late Majesty expressed her wish for Camilla to be known in a statement in February 2022. On May 6, Camilla will be crowned Queen side-by-side her husband at Westminster Abbey, and it is a point that is raising many complicated feelings amongst the public. But how do Prince William and Prince Harry—Camilla’s stepsons and the sons of Princess Diana, who saw Camilla as an unwelcome third party in her marriage—feel about Camilla becoming Queen?
People reports the two “may have complicated feelings”—and who could blame them? After all, we can’t forget that Diana’s funeral was at Westminster Abbey, the exact same location where, in just three weeks’ time, both William and Harry will watch as a crown is placed on the head of the woman who was once their father’s mistress.
“They are likely feeling a little wobbly about it,” royal author Ingrid Seward tells People. “I think a lot of people will feel the same.”
Palace sources always insisted that William and Harry—who grew up with the knowledge of their father’s affair with Camilla—were welcoming to their stepmother, People reports. A family friend says “there wasn’t any animosity,” and Harry himself said of Camilla in 2005 (the same year Charles and Camilla were married) that he and William “love her to bits” and that she was “not the wicked stepmother.”
Of course, Harry’s tune has changed substantially since then, or maybe the truth is finally winning out—in Spare, his tell-all released this past January, Harry wrote that he and William were glad Charles found happiness but didn’t want Charles to marry Camilla. Harry also accused Camilla of leaking details of private conversations to the press.
“He was justified in his complaint that he and William were used in the early days to legitimize the partnership of Charles and [Camilla],” royal biographer Christopher Wilson tells People. “Over time, she’s learned to roll with the punches. Harry’s feelings have been well-known to her over many years. Her reaction to Harry’s comments would be limited to a sad shake of the head.”
Despite William and Harry’s—and the public’s—feelings on the matter, “She has done a lot to show she is prepared for it and has a right to be in the modern world,” biographer Sally Bedell Smith tells People. “And there has never been any doubt that Charles wants her there as Queen.” Adds Seward, “William is quite calm about it. But it will stick in Harry’s throat a bit.”
Queen Camilla may not have been a title even Camilla herself even one day imagined holding, but “Considering that for most of her life she’d never contemplated the idea of becoming Queen, she’s doing incredibly well,” Wilson says. “It’s a hell of a challenge being permanently in the spotlight at this age, but she’s tough and can take it.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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