LONDON (CBS/AP) In the same week that his son sent British spirits soaring with the announcement of an upcoming royal wedding, Prince Charles has touched a sore spot for some Britons.
In an interview with NBC, the heir to the British throne suggested that his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, may take the title of queen when he becomes monarch.
Excerpts from the interview, recorded in August and due to be broadcast Friday night, have aired on British television and received much attention.
Camilla legally will be queen if Charles takes the throne, but when the couple married in 2005, officials said she planned to adopt the title Princess Consort rather than the more traditional Queen Consort.
NBC's Brian Williams asked the 62-year-old son of Queen Elizabeth II if Camilla would become "Queen of England, if and when you become the monarch." Charles hesitated as he replied "That's, well ... We'll see, won't we? That could be."
The difference is purely semantic -- the role of consort carries no constitutional power. But polls have suggested there is hostility to Charles' divorced second wife, whom he married eight years after the death of Princess Diana, being called Queen Camilla.
Charles' current title is Prince of Wales, but Camilla is known as Duchess of Cornwall rather than Princess of Wales -- Diana's title.
Camilla has for years been was reviled by Diana-lovers as the old flame who poisoned Charles' first marriage. "There were three of us in that marriage," Diana said in a famous TV interview.
Although Diana acknowledged affairs of her own, many Britons vilified Camilla as a royal home-wrecker.
But since her marriage to Charles, the British public has warmed to Camilla, who is perceived as down-to-earth and funny. Those qualities were on display this week when she greeted news of Prince William's engagement with the words: "It's wicked."
Charles' eldest son, 28-year-old Prince William set off a frenzy in Britain Tuesday when he announced that he and his girlfriend of eight years, would be married next year.
At a press conference he held with fiancee Kate Middleton later that day, she showed off her engagement ring, the same sapphire and diamond ring that Prince Charles gave Princess Diana.
The young prince said he chose that ring because he wanted to make his late mother part of his special day.