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When Kate Middleton and Prince William got married, she instantly became known as England’s “future queen.” This is because Prince William is in the direct line of succession.

After the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, or when she steps down, Prince Charles will take over as Britain’s new king. When Prince Charles passes away or steps down, Prince William himself will take the throne.

Although all of the British royal family members have a place in line to be the ruling monarch, it is unlikely that most of them will ever have the opportunity to do so. But, barring the unexpected, Prince William is pretty much guaranteed a spot. 

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Since April of 2011, former commoner Duchess Kate has been known as the Duchess of Cambridge. This is quite an honor to have, especially since she never had a title prior to her marriage to Prince William.

Millions of people may assume that when Prince William becomes king, that automatically makes Duchess Kate a queen. Yet it isn’t exactly that simple. Here is the surprising reason why Middleton won’t be queen when her husband assumes the throne.

What is Camilla Parker-Bowles’ title?

As the wife of the person who is first in line to become king, what title does Camilla Parker-Bowles hold? According to Harper’s Bazaar, it is pretty confusing.

Right now, Duchess Camilla is known as the Duchess of Cornwall. Upon marrying Prince Charles, she didn’t take over the late Princess Diana’s title as the Princess of Wales.

Why was Princess Diana technically a princess but Parker-Bowles is not? Reader’s Digest reports the reason is that Duchess Camilla felt that it was disrespectful to the late Princess Diana to take that title, even though she was entitled to do so. What many people don’t realize is that a duchess is actually a higher rank than a princess, and that is what Parker-Bowles chose. 

Why won’t Kate Middleton technically be the queen?

When Prince William becomes king, won’t Duchess Kate be a queen? The answer is not what most people would expect.

Duchess Kate will actually be a queen consort, which is the wife of the ruling monarch. Given that she is not a direct descendant of Queen Elizabeth, The Sun reports that Duchess Kate won’t have the title of “The Queen of England.” Being married to a sovereign does not make her an official queen.

Why isn’t Prince Philip a king consort?

Since Prince Philip is married to Queen Elizabeth, why isn’t he known as the king consort? This is where many royal fans become a bit baffled.

According to PopSugar, the reason Prince Philip is not a king is that, as per a royal rule, anyone who is a husband of a ruling monarch must be known simply as a prince or a prince consort. Only wives can take the higher ranking title upon marriage to a sovereign.

One of the most surprising facts about the royal family is that Prince Philip is actually not a prince consort. Queen Elizabeth waited until five years had passed after her marriage before making her husband a Prince of the United Kingdom, and he does not hold the title of consort.

What will Kate Middleton’s role as queen consort be?

Will Duchess Kate have the same role as her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth? No, she won’t.

Duchess Kate won’t be the ruling monarch, and according to The Vintage News, will not have the same privileges that the current queen has. Although she will still carry out royal duties, she will simply be the wife of the King of England.

Duchess Kate won’t have a coronation as her husband will — and her title will be purely symbolic. Either way, Duchess Kate is living a life that the rest of us couldn’t begin to imagine, and we have to say that we are pretty envious of her future role of queen consort.