Why Camilla will be Queen Consort and what that means

Wellafter King Charles III’s accession to the throne after his mother’s death Queen Elizabeth IIhis wife Camilla, formerly Duchess of Cornwall, will now be known as Queen Consort.

Previous royal tradition dictated that the title be given to the king’s wife, but Charles’s divorce from Princess Dayana in 1996 compounded the issue. At the time of their separation, the Church of England strongly opposed the divorce. Public admiration for Diana was (and remains) strong, leading many to believe that Camilla should not have taken the title out of respect for Diana.

Read more: How the world reacted to the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death

But the Queen left questions about Camilla’s title open in February, ahead of the 70th anniversary of her reign. IN statement, Queen Elizabeth II announced that her “most sincere wish is that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort while she continues her loyal service.” It was the first time the Queen had acknowledged Camilla’s role in the monarchy in this way.

“We are deeply aware of the honor represented by my mother’s wish,” Charles said in response to his mother’s statement in February. “As we sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my dear wife was my unwavering support throughout.”

Camilla will take the title of Queen Consort, indicating that she is the wife of a king, rather than the title of Queen, as members who marry into the royal family cannot inherit the throne. The Queen’s last husband was the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, who became known as the Queen Mother after King George VI died and her daughter ascended the throne.

Royal experts agree that this decision was coordinated to facilitate Charles’ transition to the throne, especially amid a complicated public reputation. “It seems increasingly clear to me that the more he can claim to be working in the tradition of his mother, carrying out her vision, the better for him,” Ariane Chernock, a professor at Boston University, previously said to New York Times.

Camilla and Charles faced criticism for years after their affair was confirmed in the press. Diana, who died in 1997, was loved around the world and blamed Camilla for her failed marriage. Some believed that this would prevent Camilla from marrying Charles, let alone being called Queen. After their marriage in 2005, Camilla did not take the title of Diana Princess of Wales, opting instead for Duchess of Cornwall.

Read more: The death of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral has major implications for Scotland

And despite the vastly improved public opinion of Camilla in the 25 years since Diana’s death, there is still much debate over whether she deserves to take the title. A May 2022 survey found that only 20% of the British public believed Camilla should accept the title Queen Consort, with nearly 40% believing she should be called Princess Consort.

Now that he’s king, Charles also has big shoes to fill. YouGov poll results list Charles as the seventh most popular member of the royal family, with almost a quarter of Britons saying they disapprove. In contrast, Queen Elizabeth II’s approval rating on the day of her death was 75%.

Camilla’s new title expands her role at his coronation, which is unlikely to take place for several months, according to standard royal tradition.

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