Duke of Edinburgh rejected Prince Consort offer

·2-min read
The Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Imperial State Crown, and the Duke of Edinburgh, dressed in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet on Coronation Day (PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Imperial State Crown, and the Duke of Edinburgh, dressed in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet on Coronation Day (PA) (PA Wire)

Camilla is known so far as Queen Consort, but the Duke of Edinburgh rejected the offer of becoming Prince Consort in the early years of Elizabeth II’s reign.

Philip, the longest-serving consort in British history, died in April 2021, after being married to the Queen for more than 73 years.

The husband of a reigning Queen does not become a King and, unlike a Queen Consort, is not crowned or anointed at a coronation.

The Duke of Edinburgh during a ceremony for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles from Philip to the Duchess of Cornwall (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Archive)
The Duke of Edinburgh during a ceremony for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles from Philip to the Duchess of Cornwall (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Archive)

No-nonsense Philip turned down the chance to use the title Prince Consort – which was given to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert – according to correspondence by then-prime minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1954.

Sir Winston engaged in a series of secret letters with his Lord Chancellor about the prospect of Philip becoming Prince Consort.

Other titles suggested included Prince of the Commonwealth and Prince of the Realm.

But the discussion was brought to an abrupt end.

Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (centre) and King George VI after his coronation (PA) (PA Wire)
Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (centre) and King George VI after his coronation (PA) (PA Wire)

Sir Winston wrote that the Queen had made the suggestion to the duke, but that he “refused even to consider accepting any new title at present”.

He added: “Her Majesty asked that the matter should be allowed to rest indefinitely.”

Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh by Princess Elizabeth’s father, George VI, just before his 1947 wedding.

The Queen later made him a prince of the UK in 1957.

Camilla is expected to 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.

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.