The Huntsman is a monarchist through and through, though by no means starry-eyed: if an unsuitable heir turns up along the way we have a duty to be utterly ruthless and put them aside as we did with the deeply-flawed Edward VIII in 1936. He, you will recall, wanted to marry an unsavoury twice-married, twice divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson and make her his Queen. The list of reasons why she was unsuitable was long and Edward was duly hustled off the throne in short order. Thereafter he showed marked enthusiasm for Nazism and Fascism and undoubtedly, whilst Britain was temporarily on her knees in the summer of 1940, engaged in an indelicate pas de deux with German agents whilst holed up in Spain and Portugal pending his departure for the Bahamas where he spent the war as Governor.

Attempts were made to propose schemes whereby she could marry The King but not become Queen. Legal Opinion then was quite clear: if Mrs. Simpson married the King, she became at that moment Queen as a matter of law. Only legislation can possibly alter that state of affairs.

The matter has resurfaced in recent days as a certain amount of kite-flying goes on at the time of HRH Duchess of Cornwall’s 60th. Birthday. It is being suggested that she really does not want to be Queen and that the title “Princess Consort” will do nicely when the time comes.

The law remains that Camilla will, upon the demise of Queen Elizabeth II, immediately become Queen. Though it is earnestly to be hoped that that will not happen for years yet, it could happen tomorrow. Someone need to address that issue at some stage because if the plan for her to no more than ‘Princess Consort’ is to become reality, then it requires legislation, not just in the United Kingdom but in seventeen other countries where our Queen remains the Head of State.

One suspects that actually nothing will happen. It is difficult to believe that HRH The Prince of Wales does not in fact want his wife to become his Queen: he must hope that the tide will turn sufficiently for Camilla to be acceptable as Queen to a majority of his subjects and so will not want to close off that avenue just yet. But with each day the inevitable draws nearer and it will be most unseemly if, with Her Majesty the Queen on her deathbed, there is a scramble to ram legislation through Parliament at the last minute.

The Huntsman does have this view of the matter though. It would, all things considered, be most unsatisfactory, both in terms of our own history and tradition and it terms of how it will look to the outside world, for us to have a King sitting on his throne without a Queen by his side and something lesser in her place. It will forever be a reminder of the sad (and, to some people, tawdry) story that brought all this about and it will diminish the Monarchy. Therefore,having earlier suggested that legislation might be needed at an early stage, it might be best if nothing be done and the business of making Camilla acceptable enough to the people of this country and those other nations across the globe to whom she would be Queen goes on awhile yet.

We have put up with a some pretty rum Monarchs and their Queens before now and Camilla would, but for some pretty poor misjudgements of the past, be an uncontroversial choice and will surely make the future King a better and happier incumbent, so let’s get on with it.

Meanwhile The Queen sails serenely on. As she gets older, so is she likely to become ever more popular, occupying the space left by her late mother as the Nation’s Granny. Were she to live to a similar age, all sorts of things may come to pass before then

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