Camilla as ‘The Queen’ is a question for the future, King’s spokesman says

·3-min read
Camilla is being referred to as Queen Consort (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Camilla is being referred to as Queen Consort (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

The question of whether the Royal Households will ever refer to Camilla as “The Queen” rather than “Queen Consort” is one for the future, the King’s spokesman has said.

As the wife of the King, Camilla is technically Her Majesty The Queen, but in their briefings and statements Buckingham Palace has kept to Queen Consort.

A spokesman for the King did not rule out a shift when asked whether Camilla would forever more be known as Queen Consort, but said Charles and Camilla were concentrating instead on the events of the next week and a half.

“The King and Queen Consort are focused on getting through those next 10 days,” the spokesman said.

“I think those who saw the Queen Consort yesterday movingly meeting people outside Buckingham Palace know how moved she is at the moment and that’s her focus so that will be a question for the future.”

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

Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said royal officials were being cautious.

“Despite all of the progress so far, royal officials – perhaps mindful of the Diana legacy – continue to be cautious about the precise nature of Camilla’s new status,” he said.

“They prefer to focus on the fact she’s the consort of a king.

“The reality is that Camilla is a Queen and Queen Camilla will be crowned at her husband’s coronation.”

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.

No date has been set for the coronation, but Elizabeth II’s ceremony was 16 months after her accession.

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”.

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

“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; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” she said.

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

It was a shrewd move from the monarch, setting her affairs in her twilight years 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, which followed years of debate.

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.

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.

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.

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)
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)

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.

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.

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