There have been comments about how we need a good site nickname for Queen Consort Camilla. I don’t think we can do any better than the nickname Princess Diana gave her: the Rottweiler. It’s particularly mean though, so I probably won’t use it that much. I also sometimes called her “the boozehound” when she was Duchess of Cornwall, which I still think is an issue here. My pet theory is that her mysterious trip to India last month was to dry out. I’m also somewhat surprised by how lowkey Camilla has been since she became queen – there’s been no promotional blitz, nor has she done many solo events. Probably because when she does solo events, her interactions are awkward as hell, like when she held a small child’s arm up by the sleeve. Anyway, Camilla has taken this long to put together her list of royal ladies-in-waiting. It’s an actual position within the royal court, lady helpers to the queen. Only Camilla doesn’t want them to be called ladies in waiting.
The new Queen has appointed six of her closest friends as “Queen’s companions”, replacing the traditional role of royal ladies-in-waiting. In a move marking a significant departure in style from the late Queen, whose ladies-in-waiting were in constant attendance wherever she went, Camilla’s “companions” will have far lighter duties, accompanying her to only a few key events each year.
The six longstanding confidantes from the King and Queen’s inner circle will provide her with “personal support” for some official and state duties. They are the Marchioness of Lansdowne, the Hon Lady (Katharine) Brooke, Jane von Westenholz, Sarah Troughton, Lady Sarah Keswick and Baroness “Carlyn” Chisholm.
Several of them are expected to join the Queen in their new roles for the first time at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, when Camilla will host a high-profile reception raising awareness of violence against women and girls. They will also accompany her to the coronation on May 6 at Westminster Abbey and at the next state opening of parliament.
The Queen’s companions will have less formal roles than the late Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, who had been involved in every aspect of her life, moving with the monarch wherever she was in residence and handling her correspondence. Instead, Camilla’s gang of six will occasionally assist with hosting events and engagements, where they will chat to guests, accept flowers on her behalf and help boost the Queen’s humour and energy levels. On occasion, they will join Camilla on an engagement instead of a private secretary. But much of the more official work that ladies-in-waiting used to do will now be carried out by Camilla’s private secretaries and other aides in her private office.
A senior royal source said: “The Queen Consort did not want or need ladies-in-waiting and the Queen’s companions will have a different role. They are there to provide Her Majesty with support and company. At the end of a very busy day, it is nice to have a longstanding friend beside you.”
Like the late Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, Camilla’s companions will not be paid a salary but will receive a nominal amount to cover expenses.
“Camilla’s companions will not be paid a salary but will receive a nominal amount to cover expenses…” Eh. I get that this is supposed to be a streamlined monarchy and all of that, but it’s ridiculous to “appoint” companions and not pay them properly? It does sound like Camilla is doing more of a phase-out of the traditional ladies-in-waiting duties. Her companions won’t be tasked the same way QEII’s ladies were. Camilla will have paid staffers answer her correspondence or organize her events, which is how it should be in a professional office. That being said, is Camilla making them into “companions” so it can be more gender-neutral? As in, it might be possible (in theory) to appoint a dear old male friend as the Queen’s companion? Andrew Parker Bowles, your time is now.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.