Camilla is now Her Majesty the Queen at Charles’s side

·5-min read

Camilla is now the Queen, serving as a Queen Consort at Charles’s side.

The wife of a king automatically becomes a queen consort and only a change in legislation would prevent her from doing so, but there had been much controversy over whether Camilla would use the title.

Elizabeth II delivered a masterstroke on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022 when she endorsed the Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen when the time came.

The Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla would take the title and called on the public to back both her daughter-in-law and Charles when he became King.

Platinum Jubilee
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen (Danny Lawson/PA)

It was a shrewd move from the monarch, in her twilight years, setting her affairs in order and ensuring as smooth a transition as possible.

Camilla later said she felt “very honoured and very touched” by the public seal of approval.

It ended years of debate over what the duchess – Charles’s former mistress – would eventually be called.

Royal aides insisted, when she married Charles, that Camilla did not want to be queen and said originally that she “intended” to be known instead as Princess Consort – the first in British history – when Charles acceded to the throne.

Platinum Jubilee
Front pages of the Sunday national papers on February 6 2022 after the Queen backed Camilla as Queen (Ian West/PA)

But the careful use of the word “intended” left this open to change in the future.

Any mention of “Princess Consort” was removed from Charles’s website during a revamp in 2018.

There was fierce debate ahead of the royal wedding in 2005.

The prince’s advisers argued that Camilla would simply choose not to call herself queen and be known as Princess Consort.

Charles and Camilla's wedding day
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after their church blessing on their wedding day (Reuters/PA)

But the Government and other experts said that unless there was a change in the law, Camilla would still legally become queen when Charles became king, no matter what she chose to call herself.

Much has changed in the years since Charles – whom aides once said had no intention of remarrying – wed his long-term love.

Camilla was blamed for the breakdown of the prince’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and, when news of their affair first came to light, she faced vitriolic criticism.

Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor, in 1992 – when Charles was still married to Diana (PA)

But in the decades after the Waleses’ divorce, the untimely death of Diana in 1997 and Camilla’s acceptance into The Firm, the public mood towards the former Mrs Parker Bowles has softened.

Camilla has gradually taken on a more prominent position within the royal family, including riding next to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee carriage procession.

She also began to attend the State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen and Camilla
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cornwall riding side by side in a carriage to Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations (David Jones/PA)

She was made a Privy Counsellor in 2016 ahead of the Queen’s official 90th birthday, meaning she will be beside Charles when he is formally proclaimed monarch at the Accession Council.

Through charity work championing literacy, and highlighting the problem of domestic abuse and sexual violence, Camilla has carved out her own royal role.

Royal author Penny Junor said of the Queen’s backing of Camilla: “This is the Queen’s wish. 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.”

Camilla campaigns against sexual violence
The Duchess of Cornwall talks to rape survivor Mia James, who helped inspire her personal crusade against sexual violence (John Stillwell/PA)

The Queen paid tribute to Camilla’s “loyal service” in her Jubilee message.

In 2010, when Charles was put on the spot and asked if Camilla would be his queen in an interview, he replied: “That’s, that’s, we’ll see, won’t we? That could be.”

Charles’s official biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, suggested as far back as 2005 to BBC’s Panorama programme that people might one day want Camilla to be queen.

In 2011, when the duchess visited a children’s centre in Chippenham, Wiltshire, she was asked by an eight-year-old: “Are you going to be queen one day?”

Looking a little shocked, she replied with the quip: “You never know.”

Dressed for a state banquet
Charles and Camilla arrive at Buckingham Palace to attend a state banquet in 2005 (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Camilla will be crowned at Charles’s side at his coronation, just as the last Queen Consort, the Queen Mother, was.

She is expected to wear the Queen Mother’s 1937 coronation crown.

The royal website used to declare: “A Queen consort is crowned with the King, in a similar but simpler ceremony.”

But, following Charles’s marriage to Camilla, it added the get-out clause “unless decided otherwise”.

The Queen Mother
Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) was crowned at her husband George VI’s coronation (PA)

– Camilla is no longer the Duchess of Cornwall. This title now belongs to Kate after William inherited the title the Duke of Cornwall and became the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.

Camilla’s title is Her Majesty The Queen.