Britain's Prince Charles hints at 'Queen Camilla'

20th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prince Charles has said for the first time that his wife Camilla could be crowned queen, reopening a debate over the status of the woman he married eight years after the death of Princess Diana.

His comments in an interview with the US network NBC, broadcast late Friday, come days after Britain's royals were back in the spotlight with the announcement that Charles's son Prince William is to marry Kate Middleton.

Charles's comments, recorded in August at Castle Mey in Scotland, are apparently at odds with the official position after the couple wed in 2005 that Camilla would have the title Princess Consort.

In extracts carried in British media, Charles hesitated after he was asked whether Camilla, whose current title is the Duchess of Cornwall, would become queen if and when he accedes the throne after Queen Elizabeth II.

"Well I mean, that's, that's, well, we'll see won't we? But, that could be," Charles told NBC.

Polls have previously indicated that a majority of Britons do not wish to see "Queen Camilla," partly out of sympathy for Charles's first wife Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

Camilla was Charles's long-standing mistress through much of his marriage to Diana. Diana at one point commented in a famous television interview: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

Prince William -- Charles and Diana's eldest son -- revealed on Tuesday that he had given his mother's engagement ring to Middleton, saying it was "very special to me."

Charles also discussed the effects of intensive media coverage on his sons, and of his fears when his youngest son Harry, 26, was sent to Afghanistan with the British military, saying candidly: "When Harry was out there, I worried the whole damn time."

Asked if he had any advice to give his son William as the media spotlight descends on him and his future wife with a possible negative outcome, a contemplative Charles turned to humor.

"It's very intrusive indeed and very difficult. I feel for him deeply because in my day it was difficult enough," Charles said, before adding: "Well, don't take the advice of the media is my advice."

He also said he preferred not to think about becoming king as it would mean his mother would have to die first.

But he gave some insight into the difficulties of preparing for the role, saying wryly: "The trouble is, there isn't a job description so you have to rather make it up as you go along, which doesn't always appeal to everybody else.

"You pick it up as you go along, from a very young age, and it gradually dawns on you what it's actually all about."

© 2010 AFP

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