Queen Elizabeth II grants Camilla new honor

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has appointed the Duchess of Cornwall to the highest female rank in the Royal Victorian Order, Buckingham Palace said Monday.

The announcement that Camilla has been made a Dame Grand Cross comes on the day of her seventh wedding anniversary with Prince Charles, the queen's son.

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Awards under the Royal Victorian Order, which was founded in 1896 by Queen Victoria, are given by the queen to people who have served her or the monarchy in a personal way. They are bestowed independently of the prime minister's office.

Once vilified as a the old flame who poisoned Charles' first marriage to Princess Diana, Camilla has become an integral member of the royal family since she married the prince on April 9, 2005 — eight years after Diana's death.

Since the couple's civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor, the British public has warmed to Camilla and the 64-year-old has carried out hundreds of royal engagements and taken on a wide range of patronages.

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She also has traveled extensively with the prince on official visits, including a recent tour of Scandinavia with stops in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo.

Lately, Camilla was seen stepping out with the queen and the former Kate Middleton — who married Prince William — for an appearance in London.

Buckingham Palace said Camilla will be invested with the insignia of her rank at a later date.

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