The weekend was marked by The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee- that is, seventy years on the throne, making her the first of our many monarchs to celebrate this milestone. And in amongst the celebrations, the biggest piece of news to come out of the event was that Camilla Duchess of Cornwall will one day hold the title of Queen.

What’s going on- will England be singing God Save the Queen about Camilla at future World Cups?

No- this does mean that she’ll become what we think of as “Queen”, as many headlines have indicated in a clickbait way- she will just take up the title of Queen when Charles becomes King. Charles will still be head of state, still be “on the throne” and still be our monarch, but Camilla will also be crowned as his Queen Consort. Phillip was known as “Prince Phillip” when he was consort of the Queen, but traditionally a female spouse gets the title of Queen, and male spouses don’t get the title of King. Confusing, isn’t it?

Why is the Queen announcing this?

A bit of background: regardless of whether the male female title differences make sense, this is what the Queen has chosen: after years of speculation and controversy, Camilla will take up the title when Charles ascends to the throne. It’s not been an easy road for Camilla: being the second wife of Charles following Princess Diana meant she’s been looked at with dislike in the past. While you probably shouldn’t get your history lessons from bingeing The Crown on Netflix, the later seasons do give a fairly good idea of the whole Charles and Diana saga and how the public reacted.

How did Camilla get to this position?

Camilla was in a brief relationship with Charles in the 70s. This was reignited in the 80s, while Charles was married to Diana. This, of course, became a scandal when it all came to public knowledge in the 1990s. After the scandal cleared up, Camilla eventually married Charles in 2005, some eight years after Diana’s tragic death, and it was a considerably more muted affair than Diana and Charles’ 1981 elopement. Diana had gone through the breakdown of her relationship with Charles, intense media scrutiny and was The People’s Princess- as former PM Tony Blair named her upon her death. Camilla meanwhile was seen as part of the problem, was nowhere near as popular as Diana, and vilified in the media.

What happened next?

Over the years however, dislike of Camilla has faded, not least because the Queen herself seemed to approve of her and Charles’ relationship, and Charles was adamant that it was “non-negotiable”. They made their first official appearance as a couple in 1999, and increased their public appearances. They then married in 2005, and most people indicated support.

It was seen as likely that Camilla would instead be known as “Princess Consort” upon Charles being crowned, but after two decades of their public relationship, The Queen has decided that Camilla is fit to hold the title of Queen Consort. This is probably due to her feeling that her reign is close to an end, particularly after Phillip’s death last year- so she wants things to be as orderly and smooth as possible. It also gives extra approval to Charles taking the throne- shooting down suggestions William should take over instead.

The Queen has decided that Camilla is fit to hold the title of Queen Consort...

So, in summary…?

The Queen believes that Camilla has proved worthy and fitting enough to hold the title of Queen Consort- despite her long time detractors and suggestions she should only be known as Princess Consort. She’s been someone in the Royal Family who can carry out duties, understands her position within the family, and handle press and audiences well, all of which the Queen approves of. Further, she’s been thought of as a good and helpful companion to Charles, helping him in his duties, as Phillip did to the Queen. The Queen’s word isn’t legally binding, but it’s pretty much impossible to imagine that the royals would ignore her word after she dies. So yes, Camilla will be Queen Consort when the time eventually comes for Charles to accede.

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