For the first time, Prince Charles has said publicly that his wife Camilla could be crowned Queen.
During a revealing television interview, earlier today, the Prince of Wales was asked outright whether the Duchess of Cornwall will be made Queen if and when he comes to the throne, rather than Princess Consort.
In an uncomfortable moment, he stammered: ‘That’s, that’s, we’ll see, won’t we? That could be.’
His words will set alarm bells ringing at Buckingham Palace, where from the moment the couple married in April 2005 senior courtiers have always been at great pains to insist Camilla would become Charles’s consort.
They are acutely sensitive to the public affection that still exists for Princess Diana, and to Camilla’s role in the break-up of her marriage to the prince.
But they are bound by convention, and by virtue of being married to the King she is entitled to call herself Queen if she wants.
Their fear is that if the public believe that Camilla is to be crowned Queen, it will damage the Royal Family.