What does the ‘Queen Consort’ mean and what is Camilla’s new title?

The royal has taken on a new title following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Saman Javed
Thursday 15 September 2022 10:12 BST
Official statement confirming Queen's death displayed outside Buckingham Palace

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her eldest child, formerly the Prince of Wales, has ascended the throne to become King Charles III of the United Kingdom.

So, with Charles as King, what does this mean for the Duchess of Cornwall’s title? Here’s how Camilla Parker Bowles’ title has changed.

Will Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall become Queen?

The Duchess of Cornwall, who has been married to King Charles since 2005, has not become Queen because the throne can only be inherited and cannot be taken by members who married into the royal family.

However, earlier this year Queen Elizabeth II announced that it was her “sincere wish” that the Duchess of Cornwall will be known as Queen Consort when the Prince of Wales becomes king.

Clarence House said that Charles and Camilla were “touched and honoured” by the gesture.

It marked a significant U-turn from an earlier statement at the time of Charles and Camilla’s wedding, which said Camilla would take the lesser title Princess Consort. This is because it was perceived that the public was too hostile towards Camilla following the death of Charles’ first wife, Princess Diana, in 1997.

The 2005 statement, posted to the Prince of Wales’ official website, announced that he would marry Camilla in April that year.

It also detailed changes to Camilla’s name once the pair were wed, including the title she will take when Charles becomes King: the Princess Consort.

“Mrs Parker Bowles will use the title HRH The Duchess of Cornwall after marriage. It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne,” the statement said.

However the new title of Queen Consort was confirmed by Buckingham Palace in a statement announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday (8 September).

The palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

What title does the wife or husband of the King or Queen take?

Traditionally, the wife of a reigning king is given the title of the Queen consort. She is crowned and anointed at the coronation ceremony.

“Unless decided otherwise, a Queen consort is crowned with the King, in a similar but simpler ceremony. If the new Sovereign is a Queen, her consort is not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony,” the royal website reads.

The Queen consort’s primary role is to “provide companionship and moral and practical support” to the reigning monarch, Buckingham Palace said.

While the monarch plays a constitutional role in approving bills before they become law, the Queen consort does not hold a formal position in the structure of the government. She also does not see official state papers or hold official audiences.

The most recent consort to a reigning monarch was Prince Philip, who held the position for 60 years from Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952 until his death in 2021.

Unlike a Queen consort, the husband of a reigning Queen is not crowned at the coronation ceremony.

However, the Duke of Edinburgh was the first consort to take part in the “act of homage” to the Queen after the Archbishops and Bishops during the ceremony. The Queen also granted him “place, pre-eminence and precedence” next to herself shortly after her accession to the throne.

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