Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has been given the highest honour by the Queen for her services to the monarchy.
The wife of Prince Charles has been made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which is the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry, announced Buckingham Palace.
Camilla’s elevation to the nation’s most prestigious order of chivalry is in recognition of her loyalty and discretion towards the monarchy.
The duchess married the Prince of Wales in 2005 and since that year has officially supported the Queen through her own public works and engagements.
Camilla is patron or supporter of a number of literacy charities, speaks out in support of victims of domestic violence and champions several animal welfare organisations.
The honour will fuel speculation that the Queen may yet back Camilla to be Queen when Charles replaces her as monarch.
It is reported that Clarence House’s “intention” has been for Camilla to be Princess Consort following the break-up of Charles’ marriage with Diana.
But Charles has never made any secret of his desire for Camilla to become queen by his side.
The appointment of Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter is in the gift of the Queen who acts independently of Number 10 and recognises those who have served the sovereign personally.
Kate Middleton was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victoria Order as a wedding anniversary present from the Queen in 2019.
The Queen has also made Tony Blair a Knight Companion of the order.
The former prime minister will be Sir Tony from New Year’s Day ending years of speculation about whether the ex-Labour leader would become a member of the Order of the Garter.
Baroness Valerie Amos, a former leader of the House of Lords and a current member, has been made a Lady Companion – believed to be the first black person to be appointed to the chivalric order.