British polls back `king William` amid Camilla queen debate

Most Britons want Prince William and his new fiancee Kate Middleton to be their next king and queen, leapfrogging Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to the throne, three new polls showed on Sunday.

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Most Britons want Prince William and his new fiancee Kate Middleton to be their next king and queen, leapfrogging Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to the throne, three new polls showed on Sunday.

The surveys were conducted amid a wave of public support for the eldest son of Charles and his late ex-wife Diana, princess of Wales, after William announced Tuesday that he and Middleton, both 28, would marry next year.

They also come after Charles, 62, suggested in an interview that Camilla might become queen when he accedes to the throne.

It was announced when they married in 2005 that rather than queen Camilla, it was intended that she would use the title Princess Consort when Charles becomes king.

Prime Minister David Cameron waded into the debate today, saying it was too early for such decisions while suggesting there would be further discussion on the issue.

Camilla was gradually introduced to the British public as Charles` companion, in small and sensitive steps after the hugely popular Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997.

Since their wedding, she has played a low-profile but supportive role alongside Charles.

Some experts insist that whether she uses the title or not, as the wife of a king, Camilla would be de facto queen, just as she currently holds the title princess of Wales, though chooses not to use the style, preferring duchess of Cornwall -- one of Charles`s lesser titles -- instead.

Asked whether he was "up for Queen Camilla", Cameron
told Sky News television it was "too early for decisions".

"I think the country is getting to know her and
getting to see that she is a very warm-hearted person with a
big sense of humour and a big heart," he said.

"But it`s too early to talk about these things and I`m
sure that it will all be discussed and debated.

"It`s too early for decisions about the question you
ask, but am I a big royal fan? Yes. And I`m a big Camilla fan
too."

Diana`s death unleashed a tide of public mourning, and
she retains a popularity in death which has largely been
passed on to her sons William and Harry.

In Britain`s mainly symbolic monarchy, the succession
passes through the eldest male heir where possible, which is
Charles.

Queen Elizabeth II, aged 84, is the world`s second
longest-reigning living monarch after Thailand`s King Bhumibol
Adulyadej.

Bureau Report