The Duchess of Cornwall being given the "highest honour" by the Queen may be a hint that she will take the monarch's title.

Camilla has been made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which is the oldest and most senior of the Orders of Chivalry, announced Buckingham Palace.

The wife of Prince Charles's elevation to the nation's most prestigious order of chivalry is in recognition of her loyalty and discretion towards the monarchy – but could also be a hint that she is a future Queen.

Royal author, Robert Hardman wrote in the Daily Mail: "The Queen is making a clear statement. She has been deeply impressed by the good-natured way in which the duchess has supported the Prince of Wales as he has shouldered more duties on the Queen's behalf.

"The Queen knows how important it is to have a dependable soulmate. She said as much in her Christmas Day tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. The only person more proud of this award than the duchess will be Prince Charles himself.

"It also points to a decision that will need to be made sooner or later."

The duchess married the Prince of Wales in 2005 and since that year has officially supported the Queen through her own public works and engagements.

Camilla is a patron or supporter of a number of literacy charities, speaks out in support of victims of domestic violence and champions several animal welfare organisations.

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It is reported that Clarence House's "intention" has been for Camilla to be Princess Consort following the break-up of Charles' marriage with Princess Diana.

But Charles has never made any secret of his desire for Camilla to become queen by his side.

However, a YouGov poll quoted by Newsweek showed only 13% of Brits would want Camilla to be Queen consort, compared to 41% wanting her to be Princess consort.

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