What does Queen Consort mean? Title meaning, why Elizabeth II wants Camilla to take role and will she be queen

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Camilla will take on a new royal title when her husband Prince Charles is crowned King

The Queen has used her momentous platinum jubilee to issue her royal seal of approval for the Duchess of Cornwall to become Queen Camilla.

The Queen expressed her “sincere wish” that Camilla will be known as Queen Consort when Charles becomes King - and called on the public to support them both.

So, what is the difference between Queen and Queen Consort?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Camilla will become Queen Consort when her husband Prince Charles is crowned as King (image: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)Camilla will become Queen Consort when her husband Prince Charles is crowned as King (image: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)
Camilla will become Queen Consort when her husband Prince Charles is crowned as King (image: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg) | (image: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg)

Will Camilla ever become queen?

In the Queen’s twilight years of her reign, she is setting her affairs in order by paving the way for her daughter-in-law, once a royal mistress, to be called Queen.

It means she will be crowned at Charles’s side on his Coronation Day - though she will not ever become an official Queen herself.

This is because the throne can only be inherited and members who are married into the royal family cannot take the throne.

The Queen’s platinum jubilee announcement has been seen as an intervention that will significantly shape the future of the monarchy.

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The prince, in a written message marking the Queen’s Accession Day anniversary, said he and Camilla were “deeply conscious” of the honour.

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.

At the time, Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of the prince’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.

What is the difference between Queen and Queen Consort?

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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So, one of the changes that will happen when the Queen dies and Prince Charles becomes King is Camilla will be known as “Queen Camilla”.

She will be crowned and anointed alongside Prince Charles at his coronation but she won’t share the same political or military powers as her husband when he’s King - but her social rank and status will be similar.

Before his death, Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history.

He held his title because of his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II for more than seven decades - though he was never allowed to be called King.

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The title King Consort is rarely used because most monarchies do not have formal rules over what the husband of a female monarch should be called.

The title of King is therefore only given to a royal who inherits the throne and can reign - including Prince Charles, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George.

It is expected that the Duchess of Cambridge will also be known as Queen Consort when Prince William becomes King.

Images of Queen Elizabeth II displayed on the lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus to mark her Platinum Jubilee (image: PA)Images of Queen Elizabeth II displayed on the lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus to mark her Platinum Jubilee (image: PA)
Images of Queen Elizabeth II displayed on the lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus to mark her Platinum Jubilee (image: PA) | PA

What’s public opinion of Camilla like today?

Royal aides insisted, when Camilla married Charles in 2005, that she did not want to be queen.

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They said originally that the former Mrs Parker Bowles “intended” to be known instead as Princess Consort – the first in British history – instead.

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

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

She has gradually taken on a more prominent position within the royal family, and was made a Privy Counsellor in 2016.

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Through charity work championing literacy, and highlighting the problem of domestic abuse and sexual violence, the duchess has carved out her own royal role.

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