LONDON (AP) — After seven decades, the United Kingdom has a new woman to call queen.
Charles’s wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be known as Queen Consort, a title that came with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth II after years of uncertainty dating back to the days before her marriage to Prince Charles.RELATED
It wasn’t always a given that Camila, 75, would take the title, even though it doesn’t give her any of the sovereign’s powers.
Although the wife of a king is traditionally crowned queen, the question of what title Camilla would hold when Charles became king has been a complicated one for many years. This is due to the sensitivity of her second wife status, and the wave of grief that washed over Britain after the death of her previous wife, Princess Diana, in a car accident in 1997.
Carlos and the Royal House have moved cautiously in this matter, aware of the persistent public perception of Camila as the “third person” who ruined the marriage between Carlos and the beloved princess.
But over the decades, Camila has won over much of the British public with her discretion, down-to-earth personality and loyalty to her husband.
When Camilla and Charles married in a low-key civil ceremony in 2005, she was in fact the new Princess of Wales, Diana’s title, but she styled herself the Duchess of Cornwall.
Palace officials have said for years that Camila “intended” to be known as the “princess consort” rather than the traditional “queen consort” when Charles acceded to the throne.
There is no precedent for the title of princess consort, which was apparently suggested by royal officials. The similar title of prince consort has only been used once: for Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901.
In a 2010 interview with NBC, Carlos was asked if Camilla would become “queen of England, if and when you become monarch.” After hesitating, he replied, “Well… We’ll see, right? Could be”.
The matter was settled when Elizabeth declared that she wanted Camilla to be known as queen consort after her son became king. It was an endorsement that formally signified the royal family’s acceptance of Camila as a respected member and was widely seen as a move by Elizabeth to smooth a smooth transition to Charles’ reign.
“When the time comes and my son Carlos becomes king, I know that they will give him and his wife, Camila, the same support that they have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as queen consort while she continues her own loyal service,” Elizabeth said in February 2022, as she marked the 70th anniversary of her reign.
Carlos said that he and Camila were “deeply aware of honor”.
“As we have tried to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities together, my dear wife has been my own strong support at all times,” he said.
The most recent queen consort in British history was George VI’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, known in later years as the queen mother after her daughter became monarch in 1952.
As per custom, Camila will be anointed at Carlos’s coronation, although that could be omitted.
Born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947, she comes from an aristocratic family with long and close ties to the British royal family. Her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, was a romantic partner of King Edward VII.
She met Carlos at a polo match in 1970 when she was 23 and he was considered Britain’s most eligible bachelor. The two immediately became friends, and by the end of 1972, Carlos was in love. But the romance was interrupted by his eight months of naval service.
In his absence, Camila married her longtime boyfriend, Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, in 1973. The couple divorced in 1995, shortly after Carlos gave an explosive television interview in which he admitted to having an affair with Camila. . Carlos and Diana divorced the following year.
Carlos and Camila waited another nine years, marrying in 2005 in a private ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor.
Since then, Camila has taken on dozens of royal roles. She is a patron or president of more than 90 charities, and has shown special interest in the protection of animals, the promotion of literacy and the empowerment of women. She has also found her voice as a public speaker, earning respect by campaigning on tough issues like sexual violence against women and domestic abuse.
In 2021, she delivered what many called her landmark speech, urging “the men in our lives” to get involved in women’s rights and expressing sympathy for the families of the women who have been murdered.
In the same year, Buckingham Palace highlighted Camilla’s role as a high-ranking royal by appointing her a Royal Dame of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Britain’s highest ranking order of chivalry.