Camilla granted Queen's highest seal of approval with a very personal wedding anniversary honour
05:43 GMT, 9 April 2012
The Queen has finally given her daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cornwall the seal of approval by awarding the royal her highest personal honour.
Camilla is to become a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the seventh anniversary of her wedding to Prince Charles today.
The couple married on April 9, 2005, in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor after a controversial relationship spanning several decades.
Seal of approval: Camilla is to become a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the seventh anniversary of her wedding to Prince Charles today
Once seen as the other woman in Charles’s marriage to Princess Diana, Camilla has become an integral member of the Royal Family since she married Charles.
Awards under the Royal Victorian Order are in the Queen’s personal gift and unlike others are bestowed independently of Downing Street.
They are given by the head of state to those who have served her or the monarchy in a personal way.
The order was founded in April 1896 by Queen Victoria as a way of rewarding individual service to her.
In becoming a Grand Dame, Camilla – who will now have the letters GCVO after her name – will join other senior female royals including Princess Anne, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester.
Some royal observers say they would have expected Camilla to receive the honour before now. Sophie Wessex, Prince Edward’s wife, was appointed to the order in 2010.
Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leave St Georges' Chapel, Windsor England, following a blessing of their marriage in 2005
But Palace sources stressed there was no snub and said the award recognises the 64-year-old duchess’s hard work as a member of the monarchy during the past seven years.
At a time when most women her age would be looking forward to a slower pace of life, she now carries out hundreds of royal engagements each year.
The duchess has also taken on a wide range of patronages and travels extensively overseas with the prince on official visits.
The honour suggests Charles’s wife is now fully accepted in the royal family despite the pair breaking royal convention with their marriage.
Bonding: The Queen and the Duchess attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show
As a divorcee, previously married to Andrew Parker Bowles, Camilla was disliked by the public as the woman suspected of diverting Charles’s affections from Diana.
But after his divorce, Charles made it clear that his relationship with Camilla was ‘non-negotiable’ and slowly brought her into the royal circle through a series of carefully organised public appearances.
This eventually led to her sitting in the royal box behind the Queen for one of the Golden Jubilee concerts at Buckingham Palace in 2002.
Recently, she has provided valuable support to the new Duchess of Cambridge, who has turned to her for advice on entering royal life.
Camilla was spotted at a London hotel last year advising the then Kate Middleton on her upcoming wedding to Prince William.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Camilla will be invested with the insignia of her rank, which she will wear at official functions, at a later date.