'My dear mother-in-law': Camilla's warm tribute in first speech as Queen Consort

The Queen Consort has used her first speech in her new role to warmly talk about how much her "dear mother-in-law" Queen Elizabeth II is "greatly missed".

Speaking at a reception inside Buckingham Palace for winners of the Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2022, Camilla said: "I cannot begin without paying tribute to my dear mother-in-law, her late Majesty, who is much in our thoughts today and who is so greatly missed by us all."

Reflecting on the impact the Queen's death has had on the Royal Family, she went on to say: "Over the past few months, my husband and I have drawn immense comfort from the messages of condolence that we have received, and continue to receive, from the four corners of the world.

"They have reminded us that the written word has a unique ability to connect, to heal, to reassure and to offer hope, even in the midst of grief."

Camilla also used the opportunity to remind the audience of the Queen's unwavering dedication to the Commonwealth.

She reminded the crowd the late monarch had been patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1952, and described how "its vision to improve the lives and prospects of all Commonwealth citizens remained, as you know, very close to her heart".

Alluding to a quote from the first Queen Elizabeth, she added: "It was on this date, 17th November, that Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne, in 1558.

"She once said of herself that, while she was aware of the merits of the monarchs who had preceded her, 'you never had any that will love you better'.

"A description that might just as well apply to Queen Elizabeth II and her enduring love for the Commonwealth."

The reception at Buckingham Palace was attended by 2022 Commonwealth Essay competition winners and their families, and other literary figures.

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The winners, aged between 13-17 years, had written about the theme of leadership, travelling from New Zealand, Australia, India and parts of the UK, to be given their certificates by the Queen Consort.

Queen Elizabeth II, during her Accession Day message in February, had written that she wanted Camilla to be given the title of Queen Consort when Prince Charles became King.

Her unexpected announcement, and public praise for Camilla, were seen as the Queen attempting to pave the way for a smooth succession, following suggestions Camilla would instead have been known as Princess Consort.