Camilla assumed the role of Queen Consort to her husband, King Charles III, with minimal fanfare after gradually overcoming public opposition.
King Charles III, in his first address to the nation on September 9, thanked his “beloved wife” Camilla for her support.
The couple finally married in 2005 after a long-running, sometimes adulterous love affair.
“I know she (Camilla) will bring to the demands of her new role the unwavering dedication to the duty on which I have come to rely so much,” Charles said in a televised tribute the day after his mother’s death.
Camilla, 75, was by Charles’ side on September 8 when he rushed to the Queen’s residence in Scottish Balmoral, where she died that day.
Since then, she’s been traveling around the UK with the new king, and showing herself as a rock of stability in the royal family: taking part in a short tour outside Buckingham Palace, the proclamation of the new king, and trips to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
While Camilla does not top the polls on the most famous members of the royal family, her popularity rating has improved dramatically.
Last year, less than half of Britain’s population wanted to become queen.
A poll published by YouGov on Tuesday showed that 53 percent now think Camila would do a good job as a companion, while 18 percent thought she wouldn’t.
And on Friday, those lining up in London to watch the Queen’s coffin told AFP they respect Camilla’s support for Charles and appreciated her role.
“I’ve changed my mind (about Camilla) in the past five or 10 years,” said one of the men, Peter Finlayson, who works in risk management.
“If you look back in history, Camilla has always been there for Charles; she is very supportive of him and she has earned the right to be there.
“They provide the continuity we all thought we lost with the Queen.”
For Deborah Tolson, the 57-year-old math teacher, “This week in particular, (Camilla) has been amazing.” She said she noticed Camilla subtly instructing Charles on what to do in the last public appearance.
However, Camilla faced long-standing hatred from many Britons, who see her as morally guilty of being Charles’s mistress during his failed marriage to Diana.
She slowly gained her stripes and won around the Queen, who personally recommended that she be known as the Queen Consort of Charles.
When Charles came to Westminster Hall last week to receive condolences from Parliament, Camilla came with him in a black and pearl gown and seated on matching golden thrones.
When the new king and his two brothers and sister made a silent vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, and stood around the Queen’s coffin, Camilla sat nearby.
The tabloids tactfully welcomed the new Queen, who chose to wear a thorn-shaped diamond brooch, Scotland’s national emblem, which was a gift from Queen Elizabeth.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Camilla performed her duties while recovering from a broken toe, an injury believed to have occurred before the Queen’s death.
“She is in a lot of pain but is just starting to deal with it,” a source told the newspaper. “It’s an unfortunate timing to say the least but it was an absolute concern.”
At a signing party in Northern Ireland, when Charles was caught on camera losing his temper due to a leaking fountain pen, Camilla stood there stoically and picked up the offending pen while Charles walked out.
Another woman waiting in the queue, Anne-Marie Watts, is from London in her early forties and works for Camilla IT.
Camilla biographer Angela Levine wrote in The Telegraph that Camilla had a better understanding than Charles of what the public was thinking because she “had a relatively normal life until her fifties”.
What remains is whether Camila is allowed to express herself: for the past week, we have hardly heard her speak… AFP