Camilla cancels royal appearances after testing positive for Covid
The Coronation marks Camilla’s ultimate transformation from royal villain and homewrecker to beloved Queen, as the historic occasion marked the “culmination” of everything she has worked so hard to achieve: Charles, social status and the support of the British public. Camilla has worked tirelessly to repair her public image, having started royal life shouldering much of the blame for the breakdown of Charles’s marriage to Diana – the “people’s princess”. When news of their affair came to light she faced an avalanche of hostility and intense disapproval from the public, something that only worsened in the aftermath of Diana’s death in 1997.
But experts have branded her a “triumph” and “one of the greatest personal PR success stories of all time”, having successfully won the hearts and minds of the British public despite starting royal life as one of the most reviled women in the UK.
By diligently carrying out her work as a senior member of the Royal Family, supporting Charles and showing the world that she is consistent and reliable, Camilla has slowly elevated her standing and won the public onside.
Her true “crowning glory” came on Saturday at the Coronation, when she shared the spotlight with her husband, King Charles.
Though the main focus was on Charles, his wife was also anointed and crowned during the ceremony on May 6, 2023 and Ms Hagan claims this moment marked the “pinnacle” of Camilla’s transformation from royal mistress to top of the British throne.
“It’s her crowning glory too… it’s the culmination of everything,” she said. “It’s almost like her life’s work which is there for all to see. She has got everything she wanted, she got the marriage she wanted, she got the social status she wanted. This is the pinnacle of it and it’s played out before her very eyes.”
Charles and Camilla married in 2005
Longstanding royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams agreed that the Coronation was “a defining moment for her and her image”, something he claims has been hard fought.
He highlights how Camilla’s public exoneration didn’t seem possible after Diana’s death, adding: “It’s been extraordinarily difficult, the whole world was watching.”
Mr Fitzwilliams said she has been able to slowly change her image by showing the world that she is consistent and reliable and is committed to carrying out her royal duties. Her success in elevating a number of causes, notably domestic abuse and rape charities, has helped show her dedication to life as a senior working royal.
Other factors at play include the “efficient, yet ruthless” campaign by Charles to rehabilitate Camilla’s image and prove to the public that she was here to stay, he said. “There’s absolutely no doubt that the whole thing has been very well handled from the beginning.”
The masterstroke came last February, when the late Queen Elizabeth II announced that Camilla would become Queen Consort – as opposed to Princess Consort – when Charles acceded the throne.
Camilla became close with Queen Elizabeth II over the years
Camilla has had to work hard to win the public on side
The late Queen’s intervention was “tremendously significant”, says Mr Fitzwilliams as it “cleared the path” for her, while another commentator said the move left no one in any doubt of Camilla’s role going forward.
Lee Cohen said: “She made it clear it was her wish for Camilla to be King Charles’s Queen Consort, and as a result, who could argue?”
Ms Hagan added that the move provided her with the ultimate “seal of approval” which “definitely helped the public accept Camilla as their Queen”.
But the media strategy can’t take all the credit, with Camilla’s confidence, easy-going nature and wicked sense of humour have undoubtedly helped her rehabilitate her image.
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Camilla has proved she is a safe pair of hands over the years
Camilla has proved to be a hard working member of the Royal Family
“She’s triumphed”, says Mr Cohen, who said Camilla has “seemingly effortlessly” won over the hearts and minds of the public.
“Owing to her personal qualities and behaviour, she has won over the British people,” he said. “Her down-to-earth charms, relatability, and sincere interest in others enable her to triumph.”
The US-based commentator added: “Camilla’s personal style and understanding of what it means to be a royal consort have enabled her transformation from one of Britain’s least embraced public figures to one of its most endearing.”
PR expert Shannon Peerless notes that Camilla has been determined to shift the label of “the other woman”.
She’s kept her head down and simply got on with royal duties to avoid attracting any negative attention, she said, noting that “every move will always be cleverly calculated”.
Charles and Camilla, a romantic timeline
Ms Peerless added: “She has her own image to protect and knows what she has to do. It could be argued that she has one of the greatest personal PR success stories of all time.”
There is no doubt that Camilla has undergone a miraculous transformation over the past few decades, something that once appeared impossible.
But her ability to play the long game and become synonymous as Charles’s strength and stay has allowed her to elevate public opinion on her.
Polling over the last decade also highlights the shift in public opinion regarding Camilla, from negative to positive ratings.
Camilla has proved to be a vital support to Charles over the years
When YouGov launched its Royal Family favourability tracker in June 2011, she stood at -15 but this has steadily risen over time – peaking at +22 in September 2023, following the Queen’s death.
A poll published in February found that a third of the public view Camilla favourably, compared to 30 per cent who hold an unfavourable view.
Most significantly, the survey by the People Polling for GB News, found that she carried more sway among the over 65s (+18) – an age bracket more likely to harbour resentment over her affair with Charles – than 18-24s (-20).
This is only set to improve over the coming months as she takes centre stage in the lead up to the Coronation and as Mr Cohen remarks: “Camilla will go from strength to strength, inspiring the nation in her quiet, and unassuming way, bolstering her husband, and ably playing her part in the continuity of the institution that is so synonymous with the British identity and nation.