Her Majesty the Queen, King Charles III of the United Kingdom, King Felipe II of Spain, Queen Camilla, Queen Consort, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Regnant
With accession of HM King Charles III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland there is some confusion as to the title of his wife, the former Duchess of Cornwall.
The late Queen, Elizabeth II, in a statement marking her platinum jubilee, said she wants Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, to be known as the “Queen Consort” when he takes the throne.
Previously, when Charles, as Prince of Wales, married Camilla in 2005 she took the title Duchess of Cornwall (Duke of Cornwall being one of her husband’s secondary titles) instead of Princess of Wales, which she legally had but did not use out of respect for the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
It was also stated at the time that when Charles became King his wife would adopt the title Princess Consort instead of Queen. So the late Queen Elizabeth II stating her wish that the Duchess of Cornwall should be Queen Consort did pave the way for accepting Camilla as Queen.
However, now that Camilla is Queen there seems to be mass confusion about her title. Both British and American Press are calling her “Queen Consort.” Heck, even the website for the British Monarchy is calling Camilla, Queen Consort.
It really is unnecessary.
Simply, A Queen Consort is the wife of a reigning king. Let me state further, all wives of reigning Kings in British history have been a Queen Consort.
A Queen Consort usually shares her spouse’s social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king’s monarchical titles and may be crowned and anointed, but historically she does not formally share the regnant’s political and military powers, unless on occasion acting as regent.
There is another type Queen. This type of Queen is called a Queen Regnant. A Queen Regnant is a female monarch who rules in her own right and usually becomes queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.
Some examples of Queen Regnants are: Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022), Queen Victoria (1837 – 1991) and Queen Mary II (1689 – 1694).
A Queen Dowager is the widow of a king, and a queen mother is a former Queen Consort who is the mother of the current monarch. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was a former Queen Consort who didn’t care for the title Queen Dowager and instead took the title of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Let me state again that Camilla is a Queen Consort as opposed to a Queen Regnant. That is not part of the debate or question.
But what is at issue is how to address her or how to reference her...
The truth is that when it comes to addressing either a Queen Consort or a Queen Regnant there is absolutely no difference, no distinction, whatsoever and both are simply refered to as “Her Majesty the Queen” despite the differences.
I’m going to repeat this for emphasis: The truth is that when it comes to addressing either a Queen Consort or a Queen Regnant there is absolutely no difference, no distinction, whatsoever and both are simply refered to as “Her Majesty the Queen” despite the differences.
Many online seem to believe that the title “Queen Consort” has been created specially for Camilla and that this is something new. It is not. Camilla is one of a long line of Queen Consorts as the wife of British Kings.
These include: Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, Queen Mary, wife of King George V, just to name a few.
I believe however, calling Camilla “Queen Consort” may serve two purposes. The first is to differentiate her from Queen Elizabeth II and not to confuse people. Second, using the title Queen Consort may help people get used to her having this new title.
Incidentally there are also King Regnants and King Consorts. However, England has had only one King Consort. King Felipe II of Spain who was a King Consort during his marriage to Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII.
In Scotland there have been two King Consorts. Both were husband’s of Queen Mary I of Scotland. Her first husband was King François II of France and the second was Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.