Queen Camilla: Will King Charles III’s wife ever be reigning monarch as Queen?

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned together during coronation ceremony

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Saturday 06 May 2023 13:13 BST

Related: A history of royal coronations in the UK

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla will be officially crowned during a historic coronation ceremony on Saturday 6 May.

The coronation, which will be held at Westminster Abbey, London, and be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will take place in front of an estimated 2,000 guests, including members of the royal family, foreign dignitaries and celebrities.

During the ceremony, Charles’ wife Camilla, who has used the title Queen Consort since Queen Elizabeth II’s death last year, will also receive a new title. She is set to become Queen Camilla when she is crowned with Queen Mary’s crown.

Camilla’s forthcoming title change was confirmed, and first used, on the official invites for the coronation, which invited guests to the “coronation of their majesties, King Charles III and Queen Camilla”.

The confirmation that the King’s wife will drop the “consort” from her title came after Queen Elizabeth II said in February last year that it was her “sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort”.

A senior royal aide told the DailyMail last month that it “made sense to refer to her Majesty as The Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty’s reign” as a way of distinguishing her from the late monarch, but that the coronation is “an appropriate time to start using ‘Queen Camilla’ in an official capacity”.

“All former Queen consorts have been known as Queen plus their first name,” the royal aide added.

If King Charles dies, will Camilla be Queen?

Although Camilla will drop the “consort” from her title, her official role will remain that of the Queen Consort, or the reigning monarch’s wife, which means she will never be the reigning Queen.

The key difference between Camilla’s role, which sees her become Queen through marriage, and the title “Queen Regnant,” which refers to a woman who has ascended the throne and has sovereign power, is the line of succession. Only members of the royal family born in the direct line of succession can become monarchs.

When Queen Elizabeth II’s father King George VI ascended the throne unexpectedly following the abdication of his brother in December 1936, his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became Queen Elizabeth.

Following King George VI’s death in 1952, the couple’s eldest daughter and successor Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, at which point Queen Elizabeth became known as the Queen Mother.

The same line of succession will be followed if King Charles III, 74, is to die, with the monarch’s eldest son Prince William next in line to the throne. At that point, Camilla may use the title Queen Mother.

Princess Charlotte, who is third in line to the throne, is currently the next possibility for a Queen Regnant. However, if her older brother Prince George, who is second in line to the throne, has children, they will overtake his siblings in the line of succession.

What will Camilla’s role as Queen entail?

Unlike her husband, who plays a constitutional role in approving bills before they become law, the wife of the King does not hold a formal position in the structure of the government nor does she see official state papers or hold official audiences.

According to Buckingham Palace, Queen Camilla’s role will include supporting the King as he carries out “his work and duties,” and “undertaking public engagements on behalf of the charities that she supports”.

As noted by the Palace, the King’s wife of 18 years has become Patron or President of more than 90 charities.

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