Camilla will become Queen
• Government says Camilla would be Queen on Prince Charles's accession
• Constitutional confusion will require legislation in UK and abroad
• MP accuses Prince Charles of being less than frank with the British public
"The renewal of the Civil List Act, which is required at every accession, would provide the opportunity to clarify the legal position" - Spokesman for Prince Charles
Story in full CAMILLA Parker Bowles will become Queen on Prince Charles’s accession to the throne, the government said last night, flatly contradicting assurances from the Royal Family that she will not.
The Department for Constitutional Affairs last night said that unless parliament passes dedicated legislation dictating her status, Mrs Parker Bowles will become Queen Camilla upon her husband’s succession.
The wishes of the Royal Family did not affect the process, a spokeswoman said. Asked if Camilla will be Queen in the absence of new legislation, the spokeswoman said: "That is probably the case because in all similar circumstances in past Royal marriages, that is what has happened."
Last night Clarence House said that its viewpoint had not changed, and that Camilla and the Prince were entirely happy that she be known as Princess Consort when he becomes King. A spokesman said: "It is Mrs Parker Bowles’s wish and the Prince’s that she be known as Princess Consort when he accedes to the throne.
"We have always believed that if the government of the day felt that legislation was required to clarify the situation, that would be the appropriate action."
The constitutional confusion is becoming the latest and potentially most serious upset in the heir to the throne’s agonising progress towards his second marriage next month.
The revelation may turn public opinion against the prince. Polls say most people do not think Mrs Parker Bowles should have a title many had hoped would one day be held by Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Charles has already faced the humiliation of being forced to change his chosen venue from Windsor Castle to a register office, amid a rash of reports that his mother disapproves of his plans.
When the engagement was announced last month, Royal authorities said that after the marriage, Mrs Parker Bowles will be known as the Duchess of Cornwall in England and the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland. And when Charles becomes King, courtiers announced, she would not be known as Queen Camilla, instead taking the unprecedented title Princess Consort.
Earlier yesterday, a spokesman for the prince insisted, on the basis of advice from the government and independent lawyers, that was still the case. "The advice we have been given is that the wife of the King is known as Queen only by convention and not by legal statute," the spokesman said.
"Therefore it is possible for the Duchess of Cornwall to choose to be known as the Princess Consort rather than Queen."
But that position was called into doubt by the government after the intervention of a Labour MP. Andrew Mackinlay tabled parliamentary questions asking government law officers if the Royal marriage will be "morganatic".
A morganatic marriage is based on German law in which the wife of an aristocrat is denied the privileges and titles that accompany her husband’s position.
Chris Leslie, a minister at the Department of Constitutional Affairs, replied to Mr Mackinlay saying simply: "No."
"This confirms that there is absolutely no doubt that when he becomes King, she becomes Queen," Mr Mackinlay said.
The MP dismissed Royal promises that once on the throne, King Charles would simply exercise his authority to deny his wife the status of Queen.
There is "no validity whatsoever" in those assurances, Mr Mackinlay said last night. "Prince Charles has been less than frank with the country."
The prince’s spokesman conceded it was possible that the government might have to formalise Mrs Parker Bowles’ status at the time of the succession.
"The renewal of the Civil List Act, which is required at every accession, would provide the opportunity to clarify the legal position," he said.
Downing Street would not be drawn on the question of future legislation, saying: "Let us see what events arise."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west