Camilla Becomes Queen Consort After Queen Elizabeth II's Death

Camilla Becomes Queen Consort After Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in Royal heirloom diamond tiara, necklace and earrings and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales attend a banquet in Buckingham Palace. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

King Charles is the oldest heir to accede to the British throne following Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept. 8, which means that his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, will now transition into the role of queen. But what is her official title?

When she wed Charles in 2005, Camilla was officially given an HRH and earned the title Duchess of Cornwall. While she was legally also the Princess of Wales, she never formally used the distinction out of respect for its previous holder, Princess Diana; after Charles and Diana divorced, Diana became known as Diana, Princess of Wales, and the title is so strongly associated with her that Camilla instead chose to take the feminine form of her husband’s Duke of Cornwall.

When Charles’s coronation takes place, he will continue to go by the regnal name King Charles III. The wife of a king normally gets the title of queen, but there was an exception — Clarence House announced after their wedding that Camilla would instead be known as princess consort. “It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne,” the statement read. This was similar to the queen and Prince Philip; Philip, who died at age 99 in April 2021, was technically a prince consort to the reigning monarch.

However, on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February, Elizabeth said it was her “sincere wish” for Camilla to receive the queen consort title when Charles became king. “Queen consort” refers to the spouse of a ruling king, and the official Buckingham Palace website confirmed Camilla’s new title when it announced Elizabeth’s death on Sept. 8. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the statement read, referring to Charles and Camilla’s new titles.