After Queen Elizabeth II passed, the British empire had a new leader in King Charles III. His accession to the throne means that his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, assumed the new title of “Queen Consort”. However, at the coronation on Saturday May 6, Camilla was officially crowned Queen Camilla. That morning, Buckingham Palace immediately updated Camilla’s biography page to reflect her Queen title.
The Coronation Service of Their Majesties The King Charles III and The Queen Consort was attended by a congregation of more than 2,200 guests, including Members of the Royal Family, international representatives from over 200 countries, and approximately 100 Heads of State. The hand painted invitation, which was shared via the Royal’s Instagram, was sent to all guests. Notably absent among the guests were US President Joe Biden, though his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, attended, and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who stayed in America with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
In the official announcement for the King’s coronation made back in October 2022, Buckingham Palace promised that the coronation would “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.” The Archbishop of Canterbury performed the official crowning of Charles with St Edward’s Crown and the crowning of Camila with Queen Mary’s Crown at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 6, 2023
So, what exactly is the Queen Consort and how is it different than being The Queen? And why is the change being made? HollywoodLife has all your answers here.
Who is Camilla, the new Queen Consort?
Camilla was born Camilla Rosemary Shand in 1947 and grew up between London and the English countryside. She met King Charles in 1970 and they briefly dated until he departed for naval service in 1971. She went on to wed Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973 while Charles married Princess Diana Spencer in 1981.
The pair remained very close over the years, and the relationship eventually developed into an affair. After King Charles and Diana separated in 1992, intimate voice messages between the King and Camilla were released by the British tabloid The Mirror, all but confirming the infidelity.
Asked about the marriage in a 1995 interview with BBC, the late Princess of Wales said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage. So it was a bit crowded.”
Though both divorced by 1996, they would not make their relationship public until after Diana’s death in 1997. Camilla and King Charles wed in 2005, after which she was made the Duchess Of Cornwall. Out of respect for Diana, she did not take on the title of Princess of Wales.
How is Queen Consort different from The Queen?
The monarchy has two different types of queens, one title for rulers and one for the monarch’s spouse. Queen Elizabeth II was “queen regnant”, a leader who has claim to the throne through her bloodline and who rules the empire independently.
“Queen consort” is the title given to the wife of a king. While they have no ruling rights, the Queen consort is an important part of the monarchy, as the King’s partner and the most prominent woman at Buckingham Palace. Previous queen consorts include Queen Mary (wife of King George V) and Queen Charlotte (wife of King George III.)
What will Camilla go by?
Though Camilla won’t be The Queen, she will be known as “Queen Camilla”, per royal naming conventions. She originally planned to take on the title of Princess Consort, but Queen Elizabeth II overturned that idea in Feb. 2022, when she announced that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla take the title of Queen Consort when it was Charles’ time for the throne.
Does Camilla get her own coronation?
As tradition, Queen Camilla will be crowned alongside her husband King Charles II during his forthcoming coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. No public plans have been made yet, and royal insiders say it will take “some months” to happen.
The coronation ceremony is, according to the Royal Family’s website, “an occasion for pageantry and celebration, but it is also a solemn religious ceremony, has remained essentially the same over a thousand years. For the last 900 years, the ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey, London. The service is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose task this has almost always been since the Norman Conquest in 1066.” Queen Elizabeth’s coronation didn’t take place until over a year after she ascended to the throne, following her father’s death.
What crown will Camilla wear?
What jewels you wear definitely matters when you’re a royal. Camilla will likely don the late Queen Mother’s crown, a smaller and more delicate variation of the king’s Imperial State Crown, for the coronation ceremony.
While past Queen consorts have each had new crowns made for their coronations, it’s unlikely Camilla will make any updates to the Queen Mum’s iconic coronet. The piece was crafted in 1937 for King George IV’s coronation and features four diamond arches set in platinum upon a diamond-encrusted base of crosses pattée and fleur-de-lys.