What is a Queen Consort as Camilla lands prestigious royal title

The Queen's announcement that Duchess Camilla will be called Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King has left some royal fans confused

What is a Queen Consort as Camilla lands new royal title
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The Queen has officially confirmed that Duchess Camilla will be called Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King—but what exactly does this new title mean? 


The Royal Family's new matriarch has officially been decided—and no, it's not Kate Middleton. 

The Queen has said that Camilla Parker Bowles will be Queen when Prince Charles is crowned, expressing her desire for the Duchess of Cornwall to inherit the title in a heartfelt message on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee 2022

Her Majesty wrote that, when the Prince of Wales ascends the throne, it is her "sincerest wish" for her daughter-in-law to take on the regal prefix as she "continues her royal service". This news, which was delivered on Sandringham House trademarked stationery, has brought a merciful end to years of speculation over what Camilla would be called once Charles became King.

At the Duchess of Cornwall's wedding to the Prince of Wales in 2005, it was announced that she would go by Princess Consort rather than Queen when her husband succeeded his mother. 

Charles and Camilla on their wedding day

Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, eight years after the death of his ex-wife, Princess Diana 

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)

Camilla had essentially replaced the late Princess Diana's position in the Royal Family when she tied the knot with Prince Charles and was unsurprisingly fairly disliked by the public during the early stages of their marriage. The decision to guarantee her the name Princess Consort was largely influenced by fears that the public would refuse to accept a future in which she was Queen. 

In fact, the nation's approval towards her was so low that she couldn't even use her rightful title of the Princess of Wales—which had been famously held by Lady Diana —when she married Charles. It didn't help that she had been involved in a longstanding affair with the Prince of Wales during his first nuptials—a scandal that deeply tainted her reputation in the public's eye. 

Camilla and Charles in 2002

(Image credit: Getty)

However, with Camilla continuing to prove her loyalty to the Crown over the past sixteen years, royal fans' attitudes towards the East Sussex native have largely improved. Her Majesty, who initially believed Camilla was an unsuitable bride for her eldest child, has also changed her mind on her daughter-in-law and the pair are reportedly now on excellent terms with each other. 

Camilla and The Queen

Camilla and the Queen are reportedly on good terms nowadays 

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

"This is the Queen's wish," royal author Penny Junor told the BBC. "This is not about Charles being headstrong and wanting this for the woman he loves. It is a proper endorsement from the top and it's right and well-deserved, and just as it should be."

As the public prepares to see Camilla take on this next chapter of her royal service, many fans have been left wondering—what on earth does the double-barrelled title of Queen Consort actually mean? 

Queen Consort vs Queen—what's the difference? 

There's been a lot of confusion over the difference between a Queen and a Queen Consort, with many non-British royal fans completely unfamiliar with the latter title. 

Simply put, a Queen Consort is the title given to the wife of the reigning monarch. She'll hold the female equivalent of the King's titles and enjoy many of the same privileges, but she will not have the same political or military powers. 

A Queen, on the other hand, is the title assigned to female royals who have ascended the throne when the reigning monarch dies. An easy example of this is our current Queen, who inherited the Crown in 1952 after her father, King George VI, passed away suddenly from lung cancer. 

Was the Queen Mother a Queen Consort? 

Yes, the Queen Mother was indeed a Queen Consort. She was initially called the Duchess of York when she married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, but became a monarch's wife automatically when her husband's brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936. After King George VI died in 1952 and her daughter became Queen Elizabeth II, she became known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother to avoid confusion. 

Queen Mother celebrates her 90th birthday in London

The Queen Mother was a Queen Consort 

(Image credit: Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Will Kate Middleton be Queen Consort?

Yes, Kate Middleton should be Queen Consort in the future—if everything goes according to plan. Prince William is second in line to the throne, meaning he will succeed his father, Prince Charles, when the time comes. Like Camilla, Kate has also proven herself as a hardworking member of the Royal Family over the past decade and will likely be rewarded with the prestigious title someday. 

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.