Camilla Will Reportedly Be Known As Queen After Coronation As Consort Is Axed From Title

Camilla Parker Bowles, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom, has officially been part of the royal family since she married King Charles in April 2005. Back then, she was known as the Duchess of Cornwall. Although she was also technically the Princess of Wales at the time, Camilla never used that title. It was deemed too controversial since it was closely linked with the late Princess Diana.

Over the years, further debate developed around Camilla's title once Charles became king. In 2005, the official announcement stated Camilla would be known as Princess consort. However, by 2018, times had changed, and The Telegraph reported that info about Camilla's future title was removed from the Q&A portion of the royal website. The public viewed Camilla more favorably after over a decade of royal service and 90 patronages. At the time Constitutional Affairs Minister Christopher Leslie said, "This is absolutely unequivocal that she automatically becomes queen when he becomes king," per Town & Country.

Then, in February 2022, the matter was officially decided by Queen Elizabeth, when she marked her 70th anniversary as monarch. In a royal message reflecting on her service, Elizabeth declared that when Charles succeeded her, "it is my sincerest wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort," per the Royal Family's Twitter account. In accordance with those wishes, Camilla has been styled as queen consort since Elizabeth's death in September 2022. But now reports indicate that title is ready for an update.

Camilla's streamlined title reflects royal precedent

As reported by The Telegraph, Buckingham Palace is getting ready to modify the queen consort's official title to simply "Queen Camilla." While no timetable is set, the change is reportedly going to take place after King Charles' coronation. This revision was foreshadowed on February 23 when Camilla's book club was declared an official charity under the name "The Queen's Reading Room." Previously, the club was called the "Duchess of Cornwall's Reading Room."

"There's a view in the Palace that Queen Consort is cumbersome and it might be simpler for Camilla to be known just as the Queen when the time is right," a source told the Daily Mail. "The Reading Room was a sign of that. Her Majesty is the Queen after all."

Even with the shorter title, Camilla will technically be queen consort since her title is by marriage. However, this update is consistent with royal precedent. "Historically, the wives of kings have always technically been queen consort, which is different from reigning queen, but they've still been known as queen. So the way that Camilla has been styled from the beginning as queen consort—there is a difference there," notes Victoria Murphy, ABC News royal contributor. Before Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, her mother was known as Queen Elizabeth. The elder Elizabeth took on the title Queen Mother once her daughter was on the throne. Going further back, when Queen Victoria's son became king, her daughter-in-law took the title Queen Alexandra. 

News organizations have already been using a shorter title

Even though the queen consort's title hasn't been officially shortened by the palace, some media outlets are already referring to her as "Queen Camilla." Rose Wild, archivist for The Times, spoke out in favor of this change in October 2022. Originally, the decision to refer to Camilla as queen consort helped avoid confusion. Queen Elizabeth's milestone reign of just over 70 years was the 2nd longest in history, so whenever anyone saw a reference to the queen, they immediately thought of Elizabeth. But now that some time has passed, Wild thinks the title "queen consort" is unnecessarily long. "Consort' is a description, not a title," she writes.

However, not everyone is eager to embrace this update. In a January poll by Express, 16,834 respondents weighed in on the question of Camilla's title change. Of those polled, 59% want to continue referring to Camilla as queen consort, while 40% are in favor of queen alone.

In the end, it's really a technicality. Whether Camilla's title is shortened or not doesn't change her role or status. "Prince Philip was Prince Consort officially, but he wasn't known as Prince Consort," a source told the Daily Mail. "The Queen would of course still be Queen Consort so the Palace of course wouldn't stop anyone calling Her Majesty that if they so chose."