Camilla is now Queen Consort – but what does that actually mean?

·3-min read
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, her son King Charles III has formally been confirmed as head of state.

This also means that the King’s wife of seventeen years, Camilla (previously known as the Duchess of Cornwall), will now become Queen Consort. Before she died, Queen Elizabeth II announced in February 2022 that it was her "sincere wish" that Camilla would receive the title of Queen Consort when Charles became King – and that the public would support that decision.

In a public statement, Her Majesty said, "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. It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service."

But what does Queen Consort actually mean? And what will Camilla’s duties be in her new role?

What is Queen Consort?

The title essentially means the wife of a reigning King. The spouse of a King doesn’t become Queen, as the title of Queen is only used for a reigning female monarch. Instead, the wife of a monarch is given the official title of Queen Consort.

Similarly, the husband of a reigning Queen does not become King. They are offered the title of Prince Consort. However, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, rejected that moniker.

When Charles and Camilla married in 2005, it was stated that Camilla would take the title of Princess Consort when the time came, due to the public holding a somewhat negative perception of Camilla (due to her alleged affair with King Charles during his marriage to Princess) Diana. However, that changed when Queen Elizabeth II gave her blessing for Camilla to become Queen Consort earlier this year.

The former Duchess of Cornwall will be crowned Queen Consort at the coronation of King Charles III. A date has not been set for the coronation yet, but it is likely to happen in 2023.

She will be known as 'Queen Camilla' and referred to as 'Her Majesty'.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

What are the duties of a Queen Consort?

While the reigning King or Queen has official responsibilities relating to the government, the Queen Consort does not.

As Queen Consort, Camilla’s role will be to support Charles as King, including appearing at public engagements and attending charity events.

As the wife of a monarch, Camilla will also become a Counsellor of State. These are senior members of the Royal Family who can carry out duties on behalf of the King if he is unwell or overseas.

What did King Charles say about Camilla in his speech?

In his first address to the nation as King, the new monarch said that during this “time of change” he would “count on the loving help” of his “darling wife”.

He explained that she would become his Queen Consort, “In recognition of her own loyal public service” since they married 17 years ago.

He added: “I know she will bring to the demands of her new role the steadfast devotion to duty on which I have come to rely so much.”

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