Camilla’s new title, explained: What’s the difference between queen and ‘Queen Consort’?

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Queen Consort

The current head of the British monarchy is King Charles III. Alongside him was Queen Camilla.

Hold on a second. The better half of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday, was HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, not King Philip. It’s tricky, much like many other royal matters.

The Duchess of Cornwall should be referred to as “Queen Consort” rather than “Princess Consort” when Charles succeeded to the throne, Queen Elizabeth ordered in February of last year at celebrations marking her seven decades in power.

Since 1952, when King George VI passed away and his widow, Queen Elizabeth, took the title of Queen Mother, the United Kingdom has not had a ruling queen, referred to as a “Queen Consort.”

All of the six women of Henry VIII, at least while they were his spouses, were queen consorts, as were all prior wives of British or English kings. Queen Mary, consort of King George V, and Queen Alexandra, consort of King Edward VII (Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother and great-grandmother, respectively), were the two monarchs of the 20th century.

Here’s a handy tip for telling the two Elizabeths apart: The queen who recently passed away, Elizabeth II, had a Roman numeral following her name, designating her as the second sovereign of that name, not a consort.

For the record, there have only been six British or English kings who have reigned since 1066: Mary I, Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne, Victoria, and Elizabeth II. This makes it simpler to distinguish between them.

Queen Consort

What does a queen consort do?

There is no job description, no list of formal responsibilities, and no remuneration, just like with the first lady of the United States. But the public, whose taxes support the monarchy, exerts great visibility, pressure, and expectations.

A queen consort’s primary responsibility is to assist the king in whatever manner she can.

Job No. 1 is to produce heirs, but Charles, 73, and Camilla, 75, don’t have a problem with this since they both have kids from prior marriages. The next three generations of the royal family will follow Charles: Prince George, age 9, Prince William, age 40, and then Queen Elizabeth II.

Since she has been the Prince of Wales’ wife for the past 17 years, Camilla has already been carrying out the duties of a queen consort. She supports numerous charities and worthwhile causes, travels with her husband on official duties, interacts with countless numbers of people each year, and is gracious and endearing to all.

Who could be a model for Queen Camilla?

After her brother-in-law King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, took on the role of queen consort. By supporting her nervous, stuttering husband who was nearly brought to his knees by the demands of being an unexpected king, particularly during World War II, she helped save the British monarchy.

She travelled everywhere with him, visiting bombed-out Londoners in the East End and dispersing her special brand of royal charm that people still talked about with affection today. She expressed her gratitude for the bombing of Buckingham Palace in 1940, which almost missed the king and queen, saying it “makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”

She passed away in 2002 at the age of 101, and over the course of three days, an estimated 200,000 people poured past her coffin at the Palace of Westminster. The line extended more than a mile along the River Thames.

 

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