How Queen's Tribute to Camilla Affected Public Opinion on Titles and Diana

Queen Elizabeth II's call for Camilla to be named queen when Charles is king appears to have shifted public opinion 17 years after the royal couple married.

The palace originally said the Duchess of Cornwall was destined for the title "Princess Consort," rather than "Queen Consort," at the time of their 2005 wedding.

The policy was at the time said to be a mark of respect to Princess Diana whose death eight years earlier triggered an outpouring of public mourning not seen in Britain before that point.

However, Elizabeth released a February 5 public message expressing her desire for Camilla to be queen at the point Charles becomes King.

Now, polling appears to show British people endorsing the move, overturning years of opposition, though the situation may be slightly more complicated.

A survey of 1,054 U.K. adults by JL Partners for The Daily Mail on February 8 showed 55 percent of people wanted Camilla to be known as queen consort compared to 28 percent who felt she should not and 17 percent who said they did not know.

Separate polling by YouGov as recent as November, 2021, gave a starkly different response, though the question was phrased differently.

That survey suggested 42 percent wanted Camilla to be known as princess consort compared to 14 percent who wanted her to be queen consort and 26 percent who said no title at all.

It may be that part of the reason for the dramatic shift is down to the fact The Daily Mail's poll did not give respondents the option to pick princess consort.

The number of respondents who said that she should not be queen in the newspaper's survey (28 percent) is similar to the number who told YouGov she should get no title at all (26 percent).

And the 55 percent who told the Mail's poll she should be queen is close to YouGov's combined total for both queen consort and princess consort (56 percent).

However, the new data does suggest that when given a binary choice the public would rather Camilla be queen than have no title at all, indicating Brits are not about to overthrow the monarchy over the issue.

YouGov does regular polling on the question so it may not be long before there is more data on the princess consort question.

In the Mail's poll, 44 percent said their opinion of Camilla had become more positive in the last 10 years compared to 46 percent who said there had been no difference and 6 percent who said they felt less positive about her.

And 35 percent said they felt more positive about the duchess since Diana died compared to 43 percent who said no difference and 16 percent who said less positive.

The queen's message read: "I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.

"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 sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service."

Prince Harry and Prince William, Diana and Charles' children, have yet to publicly comment though William and Kate Middleton's official Twitter account did retweet the queen's statement.

Charles released his own statement on Accession Day, February 6: "We are deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother's wish.

"As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.

"The year of this unprecedented Platinum Jubilee brings an opportunity for us all to come together in celebrating the service of The Queen, by whose example we will continue to be led in the years to come."

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla
Queen Elizabeth II (L) seen celebrating the start of her Platinum Jubilee year at Sandringham House on February 5, 2022, says she wants Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to be queen. Camilla (R) hosts a reception for the British Equestrian teams from 2020 Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games at Clarence House on February 8, 2022. Joe Giddens - by WPA Pool/Getty Images and Steve Reigate - WPA Pool / Getty Images

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts