Queen Elizabeth II is partly responsible for the public acceptance of Camilla as queen. At the time of her Platinum Jubilee last year, she cleared a path for her daughter-in-law with a public letter expressing her wish that Camilla would become queen consort when Charles ascended to the throne, putting to rest years of uncertainty.
“With the royal family, especially if you think of it as a brand, there are so many recent examples of tainted-ness,” Professor Otnes said, pointing to Prince Harry’s very public airing of the family’s dirty laundry and Prince Andrew’s settling of a sexual assault lawsuit. “Camilla is not one of those examples anymore. She is now on the value-adding side.”
Still, the seven months since the death of Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, haven’t been entirely trouble free for the soon-to-be-crowned queen. In his widely publicized memoir, “Spare,” and the series of interviews promoting it, Prince Harry singled out Camilla for some of his most cutting comments, accusing her of planting negative stories about him in the press to boost her own image.
He also criticized his stepmother and father in a recent legal filing as part of a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers. Harry accused the tabloids of intercepting his calls for many years, and later reneging on an agreement with the royal family to apologize, but also laid out a secret agreement between the family and the publisher.
He expressed frustration over that agreement and said the staff of his father and Camilla “had a specific long-term strategy” to keep the news media on their side, “to smooth the way” for Camilla’s acceptance.
Arianne Chernock, a professor of history at Boston University who is an expert in the modern British monarchy, said that despite the most recent vitriol, Camilla had already shown an ability to draw on her own complex past to forge a new identity.
“It’s surmountable,” Professor Chernock said, “but that’s more baggage that Camilla carries with her into this role as she tried to cement her position as queen, establish herself and set this tone for what their kingship and queenship are going to look like.”