Is Camilla Queen or Queen Consort? King Charles’ wife’s Royal title explained - is it same as being Queen

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King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla will be coronated on 6 May

Queen Camilla has completed her transformation from Queen Consort to Queen.

The former Mrs Parker Bowles will be anointed and crowned in Westminster Abbey during a historic ceremony steeped in history and celebrated with great pageantry. The official invitation to the day, the order of service, the Church of England’s prayers and Royal Collection souvenirs all hailed Camilla as the Queen or Queen Camilla.

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Buckingham Palace tweeted late on the eve of the coronation, using “Queen Camilla” for the first time on the monarchy’s official account. Sharing footage of the floral splendour and scene set in the coronation theatre, the post read: “Westminster Abbey is ready for the #Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla”.

Here is all you need to know:

Will Camilla become Queen?

On 5 February last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II gave her endorsment for Camilla to become Queen Consort in future.

The Queen shared her “sincere wish” for the Duchess of Cornwall to one day be known as Queen Consort, and called on the nation to support both Camilla as Queen and the Prince of Wales as King.

Elizabeth II said in the written message: “I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.

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“And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

A spokesman for Prince Charles and Camilla said: “He and the Duchess of Cornwall are touched and honoured by Her Majesty’s words.”

Queen Camilla is crowned with Queen Mary's Crown during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, LondonQueen Camilla is crowned with Queen Mary's Crown during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London
Queen Camilla is crowned with Queen Mary's Crown during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London

What is does Queen Consort mean?

The term royal consort is used to refer to the spouse of the reigning monarch.

Camilla will carry the title Queen Consort when Charles becomes King.

It means that she will be known as Queen Camilla.

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Why has there been controversy about her future title?

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, married Prince Charles in 2005.

It is her second marriage, having divorced Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she has two children, in 1995.

There was fierce debate and controversy in the run up to Charles and Camilla’s wedding 17 years ago over whether the then-Mrs Parker Bowles would one day be Queen.

The wife of a king automatically becomes a queen consort and only a change in legislation will prevent her from doing so.

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Royal aides insisted, when she married Charles, that Camilla did not want to be queen and said originally that she “intended” to be known instead as Princess Consort – the first in British history – when Charles acceded to the throne.

But the careful use of the verb “to intend” left this open to change in the future.

Any mention of “Princess Consort” was removed from Charles’s website during a revamp in 2018.

At the time of the couple’s royal wedding, the prince’s advisers argued that Camilla would simply choose not to call herself queen and be known as Princess Consort.

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But the Government and other experts said that unless there was a change in the law, Camilla would still legally become queen when Charles became king, no matter what she chose to call herself.

Much has changed in the years since Charles – whom aides once said had no intention of remarrying – wed his former mistress.

Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of the prince’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales – and when news of their affair first came to light, she faced vitriolic criticism.

But in the decades after the Waleses’ divorce, the untimely death of Diana in 1997 and Camilla’s acceptance into The Firm, the public mood towards the former Mrs Parker Bowles has softened.

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Camilla has gradually taken on a more prominent position within the royal family, from riding next to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee carriage procession to attending the State Opening of Parliament.

She was made a Privy Counsellor in 2016 ahead of the Queen’s official 90th birthday, meaning she will be beside Charles when he is formally proclaimed monarch at the Accession Council.

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