The Secret Deal That Gave Camilla Her Queen Consort Title

Trigger warning: The following article contains language regarding sexual assault.

After the passing of the late Queen Elizabeth II, her son Charles officially became King Charles III, making his wife Camilla the Queen of the nation. But her title, as many were quick to notice, was not simply "Queen Camilla," but rather, "Queen Consort Camilla." This title makes sense when you understand that Queen Consort technically means the wife of a reigning king, which is what Charles is, rather than simply Queen, as Queen Elizabeth II was, because she was herself the reigning, ruling sovereign in her own right (via Cosmopolitan). 

But it wasn't always the plan for Camilla to have this title. In fact, at the time that Charles married Camilla and for many years afterwards, the plan was for her to receive the title of Princess Consort when Charles eventually ascended to the throne, not Queen Consort. So what changed? When did the late Queen Elizabeth, who had been staunchly against Camilla taking a queenly title, agree to allow Camilla to take on the title of Queen Consort Camilla, as we all know her now? 

The surprising deal

Actually, the story is a sticky one. 

Christopher Andersen, royal expert and author of the new book The Life of King Charles, says the Queen's decision to allow Camilla to take the title of Queen Consort actually has to do with Prince Andrew and the scandal that ensued when he was linked to child trafficker Jeffery Epstein (via US Weekly). When Virginia Giuffre brought a lawsuit against Prince Andrew, accusing him of of sexually assaulting her when she was an underage child and a victim of Epstein, the Prince chose to settle for an undisclosed amount of money (via CNN)

In order to pay the settlement, Andersen says that Queen Elizabeth II dipped "into her own personal pocket" in order to see the scandal ended and the case settled. The thing of it was, he says, that that money would eventually have belonged to Charles, and Charles did not feel good about the decision to help bail out his brother. Rather than protest, as it would have been unseemly to do so around the same time as The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, Charles accepted the decision. But Andersen alleges the now-King did use this opportunity to pursue something he had long wanted from his mother: a different title for Camilla.  

How Charles reportedly got The Queen to change her mind

Charles took this disagreement with his mother as an opportunity to ask Queen Elizabeth II to reconsider allowing Camilla to take the title of Queen Consort when he eventually ascended the throne, rather than the long-agreed-upon title of Princess Consort (via US Weekly). "And so in a kind of an unspoken implicit deal, this was the tradeoff," Andersen says. "And that announcement was made ... it was very abrupt, you may recall, it was something [that took] everybody by surprise, ... she was so against Camilla ever becoming queen for decades and decades, that it, it was a complete about-face, [and] that I think [it] shocked a lot of people."

The statement to which Andersen is referring is one that Queen Elizabeth II put out at the time, in which she stated plainly: "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." She went on to say, "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."

And now, Queen Consort Camilla, she is.