Prince Charles has led tributes to his mother, Queen Elizabeth, on the 70-year anniversary of her accession to the throne on Sunday, saying it was an opportunity for the country to unite and celebrate her service to the nation.
Charles also thanked the queen for her statement on Saturday that she hoped the heir to the throne’s wife, Camilla, would become Queen Consort when he becomes King.
“We are deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother’s wish,” he said in a statement. “As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.
“The year of this unprecedented Platinum Jubilee brings an opportunity for us all to come together in celebrating the service of The Queen, by whose example we will continue to be led in the years to come.”
In her Platinum Jubilee message, signed Elizabeth R, Her Majesty said it was her “sincerest wish” that the Duchess of Cornwall be bestowed her rightful title in a historic message as she reaches her 70th year on the throne.
She said: “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
It means Camilla, 74, will be crowned alongside Charles, 73, at his coronation.
Clarence House has for years fudged the issue by claiming that Camilla would take the title “Princess Consort” when he ascended the throne.
But the Queen, who also said she will continue as monarch, has now ruled on the issue.
In the message released on Saturday night, she said: “Tomorrow, 6th February, marks the 70th anniversary of my Accession in 1952.
“It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of Her Majesty’s father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign.
“As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service.
“As I look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism to the year of my Platinum Jubilee, I am reminded of how much we can be thankful for.
“These last seven decades have seen extraordinary progress socially, technologically and culturally that have benefitted us all; and I am confident that the future will offer similar opportunities to us and especially to the younger generations in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth.
“I am fortunate to have had the steadfast and loving support of my family.
“I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign.
“This anniversary also affords me a time to reflect on the goodwill shown to me by people of all nationalities, faiths, and ages in this country and around the world over these years.
“I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.
“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.
“And so as I look forward to continuing to serve you with all my heart, I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours, and communities — after some difficult times for so many of us — to enjoy the celebrations and to reflect on the positive developments in our day-to-day lives that have so happily coincided with my reign.”
Charles and Camilla were “touched and honoured” by the Queen’s gesture, Clarence House said.
In his statement, Charles added: “On this historic day, my wife and I join you all in congratulating Her Majesty The Queen on the remarkable achievement of serving this nation, the Realms and Commonwealth for seventy year.
“The Queen’s devotion to the welfare of all her people inspires still greater admiration with each passing year.”
The Queen, who came to the throne when she was just 25, is spending her Accession Day privately on the Sandringham estate in remembrance of her father, whose death marked the start of her reign.
This Jubilee is poignantly her first without her beloved husband of 73 years the Duke of Edinburgh, who died only 10 months ago.
He said: “Today marks a truly historic moment as Her Majesty The Queen becomes the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.
“Throughout her seven-decade reign, she has shown an inspirational sense of duty and unwavering dedication to this nation.
“I pay tribute to her many years of service and look forward to the summer when we will be able to come together as a country to celebrate her historic reign.”
National celebrations marking the Queen’s record-breaking service on the throne will be staged during a special four-day bank holiday weekend from June 2-5.