After years of controversial relationship, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain has finally given her royal approval to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Camilla has been made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) which is the highest female rank under the Order. The announcement was made by Buckingham Palace as the Duchess and the Prince of Wales celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way. The honour may be given to members of the Royal Family and British ambassadors who have helped organise a State Visit to a particular country.

Founded in the year 1896 by Queen Victoria, the Order was a way of rewarding personal service to her, on her own initiative rather than by ministerial recommendation. Awards under the Royal Victorian Order are in the Queen's personal gift and unlike others are bestowed independently of Downing Street.

Apart from the Royal Family, the Order is conferred on foreigners, and it is often awarded by the Sovereign during official tours overseas.

The first foreigners to receive the Order were the Prefect of Alpes Maritimes and the Mayor of Nice, during Queen Victoria's visit to the south of France in 1896.

In the last few months, the Duchess has made extensive travel with the prince on official visits and has also become patron of a number of organisations.

"As Charles's second wife, the duchess's involvement in royal engagements was gradual. But now, she's often seen at the Queen's side. It's likely that Camilla's award is in recognition of her many royal engagements at home and abroad over the past seven years and is an indication of her importance within the Royal family," said BBC correspondent Fiona Trott.

According to speculation, Camilla who was once regarded as the cause behind the dissolution of Charles's marriage to Princess Diana, has finally become an important member of the Royal Family since her marriage to Charles.

With this honour, Camilla will join other senior female royals including Princess Anne, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Gloucester.