This Is What Will Happen When Camilla Becomes Queen, Experts Say
Find out what will change when the Duchess of Cornwall takes on her new role.
On Feb. 5, royal watchers were surprised by the news that Queen Elizabeth supports Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall becoming queen consort when her son Prince Charles becomes king. The monarch announced that it is her "sincere wish" that Camilla receive the new title when Charles is king in an open letter marking the 70th anniversary of her reign. Previously, when Camilla and Charles got married in 2005, the royal family had shared that Camilla would receive the title princess consort instead. This is said to have been because of Camilla and Charles' relationship beginning as an affair, their marriage occurring after they were both divorced, and the public's love for Charles's first wife, Princess Diana.
But, now that we know Camilla will be the queen consort when Charles takes the throne, there's the question of what it all means. After all, it has been 70 years since there has been a queen consort in the U.K. Read on to find out what will happen when Camilla takes on her new title.
The queen consort is not the same as the queen.
Firstly, a queen consort has a different role than a queen. A king or queen is the person who becomes monarch due to being in line for the throne as the member of a royal family. The queen consort is the wife of the king. There is no such thing as a king consort, because, historically, a king outranks a queen, but the husband of the reigning monarch cannot outrank her. For that reason, Queen Elizabeth's late husband, Prince Philip, could have been known as prince consort, but instead chose to be known by the title the Duke of Edinburgh.
Camilla will be officially crowned.
When Prince Charles is coronated as king, Camilla will be crowned queen consort. According to the royal family's website, "The husband of a reigning Queen, unlike a Queen Consort, is not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony."
In fact, there has already been talk about which crown Camilla will wear during the coronation. The Daily Mail reported on Feb. 6 that Camilla will wear a platinum and diamond crown that belonged to the Queen Mother. The crown was made for her husband King George VI's coronation in 1937.
RELATED: For more royals news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
She will continue to support her own causes.
Members of the royal family become patrons of various causes and organizations. According to the Princes of Wales' website, Camilla is currently the patron or president of 90 charities. These include The Royal Society of Literature, The National Theatre, and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. As queen consort, Camilla will continue to travel, attend events, and support various causes on behalf of the royal family.
The royal family website explains of previous consort Philip, "Prince Philip established a significant role for himself in his own right, creating an extensive and important portfolio, based on his personal interests, all of which he carried out in support of Her Majesty's duties."
A royal source told the Daily Mail of Camilla's work with the family, "She's never once tried to overshadow her husband, she's always played a supportive role to the Prince of Wales. He is her top priority. But she has also carved a role out for herself, has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles on thousands of engagements, taken on some really powerful causes such as violence against women, but is still cheerfully willing to go to the back-end of beyond to cut ribbons and shake hands."
She'll be a companion for the king.
Of course, Camilla and Charles are already each other's companions as spouses, but the consort is considered the official companion of the monarch. "The role of The Queen's consort is primarily to provide companionship and moral and practical support to the Monarch," the royal family site explains. "The consort does not hold a formal position in the structure of government and The Duke did not see State papers or hold official audiences."
Speaking about what will happen when Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge becomes queen consort, royal expert Marlene Koenig told the Mirror, "There is no real constitutional role for a consort, just by tradition. She will be the first lady of the land, in terms of precedence."
She could eventually take on a different title.
If Charles were to die before Camilla during his reign, then Camilla would no longer be the queen consort. At that point, Prince William would become king and the Duchess of Cambridge would become queen consort. Camilla could then become known the queen dowager as the widow of the former king. Queen consorts can also take on the title queen regent if the heir to the throne is a child, but this will not be the case with Camilla since the next heir is Prince William.