Camilla wins the Grand prize from Queen
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit Fortnum & Mason store on March 1, 2012 in London. Camilla is now a Grand Dame, with the Queen rewarding her for service to the monarchy. (Getty Images)
Prince Charles' wife and Duchess of Cornwall has long been living under the shadow of Princess Diana, who once called her a "Rottweiler." For some, she will always be the other woman who kept the Charles-Diana marriage from being a fairytale, even 20 years after scandal had its heyday. The thought that she will one day be Queen is a bitter pill.
In the eyes of the current Queen, however -- and many others who have seen her work in recent years -- she is a solid citizen of the Royal Family.
The monarch made that perfectly clear on Monday by bestowing on her the highest female rank of the Royal Victorian Order. Unlike other honours, this one is given out personally by the Queen as a reward for those who have served the monarchy.
Henceforth, Camilla is to be known as a Dame Grand Cross -- a nice present for Camilla on the day of her seventh wedding anniversary. Other royals currently in the club included are Princess Anne, Sophie the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester.
At 64, Camilla maintains a rigourous schedule for the Queen between royal engagements and patronages, as well as keeping Charles in check.
Like it or not, this Charles-Camilla match has clicked. After the divorce from Diana, it was a long, long road for Camilla to become an accepted part of the royal inner circle. At least some of that credit lately might go to her daughter-in-law, Kate. As a mother-in-law and an outsider, Camilla has counselled the Duchess of Cambridge well in the art of being royal.
Kate, of course, has had the benefit of youth, good looks and Prince William, all of which made her an instant hit among commoners. But it would be unwise to underestimate be Camilla's contritbution, to Kate or to the Royal Family.