Queen Consort Camilla: What is a Queen Consort? How is a Queen different from a Queen Consort? Camilla’s new title explained

In February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II expressed her “sincere wish” that Camilla would adopt the title Queen Consort when her son became king. But what is the meaning of Queen Consort, and what is the difference between a Queen and a Queen consort?

Following Queen Elizabeth II’s death at Balmoral Castle on 8 September at age 96, her eldest son has been decreed the head of state as King Charles III, marking the end of the Elizabethan era.

This means that Camilla (the Duchess of Cornwall), as the King’s wife of 17 years, will be crowned Queen Consort.

Her Majesty announced her hope that Camilla would assume this title and that the public would support it, saying: "When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me.

King Charles III and the Queen Consort speak to well wishers as they leave the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

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“It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service."

So what does the title Queen Consort mean, how does it differ from being the Queen, and what are Camilla’s duties in this role?

What is a Queen Consort?

According to the Royal Family website, the Queen Consort is the title of the woman who is the wife of the reigning king.

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King Charles III and the Queen Consort leaving a Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Therefore, Camilla (formerly the ‘Duchess of Cornwall’) is now the Queen Consort as she is the wife of the former Prince of Wales, now King Charles III.

What is the difference between the Queen and the Queen Consort?

The Queen (or officially the ‘Queen Regnant’) refers to a woman who has ascended to the throne by way of sovereign powers and a familial line of succession.

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This applies to Queen Elizabeth II as she rose to power after her father (King George VI) died in 1952.

The Queen Consort is simply the reigning king’s wife, their role is defined by marriage and is more symbolic as they offer the monarch support, unlike the Queen who is officially the UK’s ruler.

What are the duties of a Queen Consort?

Unlike a reigning Queen or King who has official government-related duties, a Queen Consort does not.

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Their role is to offer moral support to their monarch and attend public engagements or charity events.

As King Charles III’s wife, Queen Consort Camilla will also become a Counsellor of State.

According to the Royal Family website, these are senior members of the Royal Family who carry out duties or other royal functions on his Majesty’s behalf if he is unavailable.

Was the Queen Mother a Queen Consort?

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth or the ‘Queen Mother’ was the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and the widow of King George VI.

Queen Elizabeth became Queen Consort after her brother-in-law King Edward VIII abdicated from the role in 1936, seeing King George VI ascend to the throne.

This makes Camilla the first Queen Consort that the United Kingdom has had since 1952, when King George VI died leaving his widow, Queen Elizabeth, to become the Queen Mother i.e., a widow of the king and mother of a sovereign.

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