Will Camilla Parker Bowles Become Queen When Prince Charles Becomes King?

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles arrive at Lacock Cyraiax Church

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles | Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

When the queen announced that Prince Charles would officially succeed her as the head of the British throne in early 2018, many began to speculate if she planned to abdicate or step down soon. Queen Elizabeth has already relaxed her activity on some of her royal duties and Prince Charles is ready to step up as the oldest king to ever take the British throne.

Most outsiders likely believe that Prince Charles as king equates to his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as queen. However, in unique instances like theirs, the wife of the king isn’t always named queen.

Princess Diana’s legacy plays a role

“Will the Duchess become Queen when The Prince becomes King?” read the frequently asked questions section of the Prince of Wale’s website, according to the Telegraph. The answer is complicated and relies a bit on Princess Diana’s legacy.

When Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 she assumed the title Princess Diana of Wales. The two had two children together, Prince William and Prince Harry, and appeared happy for a bit … until their extramarital affairs went public.

Leading up to Charles and Camilla’s 2005 wedding, Clarence House announced that Camilla would assume the title of “Princess Consort” rather than “queen” should Charles ever ascend the throne.

“As was explained at the time of their wedding in April 2005, it is intended that The Duchess will be known as HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales Accedes to The Throne,” Charles’ website stated.

Recent speculation indicates she may become a queen after all

Clarence House removed the question “Will the Duchess become Queen when The Prince becomes King?” as well as its answer from their FAQs page, sparking rumors that perhaps Camilla might assume the queen title. A spokesperson told The Telegraph that they update the FAQs regularly. “This is one question that Clarence House has not been asked by the public for some time, which is why it no longer features.”

So while fewer people are wondering if Camilla could be queen, it seems more are OK with the idea of it happening. While most royal experts believe the Duchess of Cornwall’s popularity is on the rise, as of August 2017, two-thirds of the British public still didn’t think she should be queen, the Sunday Times reported.

Regardless of Clarence House or the public’s opinions, Prince Charles hasn’t totally ruled out the title of queen. Brian Williams asked Prince Charles in 2010 if Camilla would become Queen of England when he eventually takes the throne. “That’s, well … We’ll see won’t we? That could be,” Charles replied, indicating the decision may not be final.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles arrive for the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the ballroom at Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles arrive for the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace. | Jonathan Brady/ AFP/ Getty Images

Prince Charles could appoint Camilla queen if he wanted to

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams shared the surprising news: regardless of what title the monarch decided on, once Prince Charles takes the throne, the decision is his alone. “Although the official line still is that the Duchess of Cornwall will be Princess Consort when Prince Charles ascends the throne, the choice is Charles’s and he will make it within a day of the Queen’s passing,” he told the Sunday Express.

Fitzwilliams believes Prince Charles will give Camilla the queen title because “every king has had a queen” and he won’t want to break tradition. He also believes that she’ll be worthy of the title.

Still, Charles will likely need the approval of two very important people: his sons, William and Harry. Courtiers believe that he’ll need their backing to appoint Camilla queen rather than “Princess Consort.”

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