Here's Why Queen Camilla Will Not Take The Throne If King Charles Dies Of Cancer

King Charles III's heartbreaking cancer diagnosis raises many questions about the potential fate of the British monarchy. At this time, the king's situation does not appear to be dire, with Buckingham Palace's February 5 statement explaining that he's stepping back from his public-facing duties while undergoing "a schedule of regular treatments."

However, if King Charles' diagnosis proves fatal, his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, will not assume the position of reigning monarch. The difference between queen consort and queen is a key detail here, as queen consorts are not eligible for the throne. Instead, Queen Camilla would become the Queen Dowager, a title denoting her widowhood, while the monarchy would pass to the next blood relative.

This means that William, Prince of Wales would be crowned king in the case of King Charles' death. This succession of power has existed in some form since England was conquered in the 11th century, but was codified in the Bill of Rights (1689), Act of Settlement (1701), and Succession to the Crown Act (2013). Throughout this time, the spouses of the reigning monarch have remained ineligible for the throne.

Having no children makes a difference in title

If the unthinkable were to happen to King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla would be referred to as the Queen Dowager, but not the Queen Mother, as other widowed Queen Consorts are sometimes known. The difference is that those with the Queen Mother title are mothers to the next reigning monarch. As Camilla is stepmother to the next in line to reign, William, Prince of Wales, she would not receive that title.

As the assumed Queen Dowager, Camilla would follow in a long line of widowers who assumed the same title. In 1837, after her husband King William IV died, Queen Adelaide received the title. Like Camilla and Charles, Adelaide and William had no children, and thus the throne was passed to William's niece, the renowned Queen Victoria. Another example of a queen dowager who was not a queen mother is Joan of Navarre, the widow of King Henry IV who was also stepmother to King Henry V.

Just because Camilla would not be Queen Consort anymore in the case of the king's death, doesn't mean that she won't still be a working member of the royal family, though.

This is what being the Queen Dowager means

Even though Queen Consort Camilla isn't anywhere on the list when it comes to succession to the throne, that doesn't mean she would stop playing a role in the lives of the royal family altogether if King Charles were to pass away. As the Queen Dowager, the king's wife would still very much be a part of the glamorous and important daily activities that the royal participates in, including attending the host of events and charity functions where the royals are usually spotted. She would also remain respected within the public sphere and would not lose any of her status. 

Camilla would, however, not hold any outstanding authority in the political realm. She would also no longer be referred to as the Queen of Great Britain. Instead, she would be addressed as simply Queen Camilla, with an emphasis on her being the former reigning queen. The title of "the Queen" would be passed on to the wife of the next monarch. In this case, that would be Prince William's wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, who would henceforth be known to the British people as Queen Catherine.

According to the official website of the royal family, the next in line to the throne after Prince William are his three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, followed by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.