This Will Be Camilla Parker Bowles’ Title When Prince Charles Becomes King
When Prince Charles becomes king, his wife Camilla will acquire a new title as well. The question is, what will it be?
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles married in 2005, yet it’s only now, 17 years later, that we have a clear answer to the often asked question, will Camilla become queen?
For years, it was expected that Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall, would be named princess consort when Prince Charles becomes king upon the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. However on February 5—the day before Queen Elizabeth celebrated the 70th anniversary of her Accession Day, the day she ascended to the throne in 1952—the Queen made an important announcement about Camilla’s future title, solidifying her daughter-in-law’s position in the royal family tree.
What the queen wants for Camilla and Charles when Charles becomes king
Queen Elizabeth used the occasion of her Accession Day message to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future—both the immediate future and a future in which she will no longer be present, and Prince Charles will be the king of the United Kingdom. She began with a brief but pointed elegy on how important it is for a British monarch to have the “unselfish” support of a loving consort, and for the monarch and consort, as a couple, to have the unwavering support of the people of Britain.
The role of consort “is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign,” Elizabeth reminded her people. “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King,” the queen stated, “I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me.” Further, “it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as queen consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
Camilla’s future title had been in question
The question of whether Camilla will become queen when Prince Charles ascends to the throne has been on the minds of royal watchers since the prince and Camilla Parker Bowles resumed their on-again, off-again romantic relationship in the wake of Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997. At the time, public opinion regarding Camilla—whom the much-loved Princess Diana had once famously outed as the third person in her “crowded marriage” to Charles—ran icy cold, with many Brits bristling over the notion of there one day being a Queen Camilla.
The royal family always maintained that Camilla would be princess consort
When Charles and Camilla married in 2005, the royal family assured the British public that Camilla would not become queen, but rather princess consort. This seemed to appease the public, which held lingering resentment toward Camilla’s role in the demise of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles.
Ever since then, whenever the question of Camilla’s future title resurfaced, the royal family maintained that nothing had changed. That’s why it was a noteworthy occasion when, in early February, the queen stated publicly and quite clearly that she wants Camilla to have the title of queen consort when Prince Charles becomes king.
What is a consort?
The consort’s role is to provide companionship and support to the British monarch, both “moral and practical,” according to the website of the royal family. Although the royal website is silent as to whether—to be the consort—the companion must also be the monarch’s spouse, in reality, no British monarch has ever had a consort to whom they were not married. Further, no British monarch’s spouse has ever not been a consort.
What is the difference between a queen and a queen consort?
Even with the word “queen” modifying “consort,” the queen consort has none of the powers of a hereditary monarch; whereas a queen is Britain’s head of state, the queen consort is merely an honorific title. For example, unlike a queen, a queen consort has no formal role in the British government and is not privy to state matters. That means she doesn’t hold audiences with the prime minister, and her relationships with world leaders are solely social and diplomatic. One similarity in the two roles: a queen consort is also addressed as a queen. When Charles becomes king, Camilla will be known as Queen Camilla.
Will Prince Charles heed the queen’s wishes?
It seems likely that Prince Charles will follow the queen’s preference that when he becomes king, Camilla will become queen consort. In fact, a source close to Prince Charles reportedly told Fox News that the future king “couldn’t be happier” with the wishes expressed by the queen during her February 5 Accession Day speech.
- Fox News: “Prince Charles ‘is over the moon’ that Queen Elizabeth supports Camilla as Queen Consort”