Upon crowning at King Charles III’s coronation, his wife Camilla, formerly the Duchess of Cornwall, will now be known as Queen Camilla. Following Charles’ ascension to the throne after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla was known as Queen Consort.
A senior royal aide confirmed to the Daily Mail: “It made sense to refer to her Majesty as The Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty’s reign, to distinguish from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“Queen Camilla is the appropriate title to set against King Charles on the invitation. The Coronation is an appropriate time to start using ‘Queen Camilla’ in an official capacity. All former Queen Consorts have been known as Queen plus their first name.”
Previous royal tradition dictated that the title would be given to the king’s wife, but Charles’ divorce from Princess Diana in 1996 complicated the matter. At the time of their separation, the Church of England strongly opposed divorce. Public admiration for Diana was (and remains) strong, causing many to feel that Camilla should not have taken the title out of respect for Diana.
But, Queen Elizabeth II put questions about Camilla’s title to rest in February, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of her reign. In a statement, the Queen announced that it was her “most sincere wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.” It was the first time the Queen had acknowledged Camilla’s role in the monarchy in this way.
“We are deeply conscious of the honor represented by my mother’s wish,” Charles said, in response to his mother’s statement in February. “As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.”
Royal experts agree that this decision was coordinated to ease Charles’ transition to the throne, especially amid a complicated reputation in the public. “It seems increasingly clear to me that as much as he can claim to be working in the tradition of his mother, carrying out her vision, the better for him,” Arianne Chernock, a Boston University professor, previously told the New York Times.
Camilla and Charles faced criticism for years after their affair was confirmed in the press. Diana, who died in 1997, was globally loved and she blamed Camilla for her failed marriage. Some believed this would prevent Camilla from ever marrying Charles—let alone being called Queen. Following their 2005 marriage, Camilla did not take Diana’s title of Princess of Wales, instead opting for Duchess of Cornwall.
And despite a much improved public opinion of Camilla in the 25 years since Diana’s death, there is still much debate as to whether she deserves to take the title. A May 2022 poll found that just 20% of the British public believed that Camilla should take on the title of queen consort, with nearly 40% believing that she should be called the Princess Consort.
Charles also has big shoes to fill now that he is king. YouGov poll results list Charles as the seventh-most-popular royal family member, with nearly a quarter of Brits saying they disapprove of him. By contrast, Queen Elizabeth II’s approval rating on the day of her passing was at a high of 75%.
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