Despite what you may have heard, Queen Elizabeth II will not reign forever. Her son, Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales), will eventually become king, which means his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will have to be called something else. But it turns out, her new title won’t be “Queen Camilla.”
The duchess has had a lot of names and titles. She was born Camilla Shand until she married Andrew Parker Bowles, becoming Camilla Parker Bowles. Then, when she married Prince Charles in 2005, she took on the title the Duchess of Cornwall. The reason she was not known as the Princess of Wales was out of respect for the late Princess Diana.
So when Charles becomes king, what are we supposed to call Camilla?
Apparently, there’s been some confusion about her future title throughout the years. According to The Daily Star (per The Sunday Times), it’s rumored that Prince Charles would like his wife to be called the “queen consort,” which is the title usually bestowed upon the wife of the reigning king. Alas, he will be disappointed.
“The intention is for the duchess to be known as princess consort when the prince accedes to the throne,” a spokesperson for the royal couple recently told The Times. “This was announced at the time of the marriage and there has been absolutely no change at all.”
That’s true. Before the couple wed in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, Clarence House announced the creation of this new title. “It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne,” the statement said. At the time, Slate described “princess consort” as a title created to avoid a PR crisis.
“It’s a new title created just for Camilla, because crowning her as queen would create PR problems for the royals,” columnist Daniel Engber wrote in February 2005. “A marriage between divorcees like Charles and Camilla remains taboo for some members of the Church of England, and Camilla is already unpopular for breaking up the prince’s marriage to Diana.”
Honestly, all this title-hopping is getting confusing. It’s reported that Princess Beatrice will also become a countess when she marries Italian “property tycoon” Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. That’s not even a part of the same royal succession. At this point, can’t we just call them all by their first names? It works for Harry.