Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland on Thursday, the United Kingdom is swiftly readjusting to the accession of her eldest son, Charles. According to Buckingham Palace, he will take the sovereign title King Charles III, and his wife, Camilla, will be known as the queen consort.
British monarchs in the past have selected new names upon taking the throne. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.
Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth issued a letter that was seen as a major moment of recognition for a long beleaguered member of the royal family, intended to smooth the path for her ascent when the inevitable finally came.
In a statement marking her 70 years on the throne, the queen laid out how her daughter-in-law Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, should become the queen consort when Charles, “in the fullness of time,” ascended the throne. Elizabeth also asked the nation to pass on the good will it had long shown her to the woman who would bear the title of queen.
So when Elizabeth died on Thursday at 96, there was no question that as her eldest son became King Charles III, his wife would become queen consort — a title indicating she is the spouse of the reigning king.
In everyday contexts she will be known simply as Queen Camilla, though as the queen consort she would not be
On Friday, some of that public approval was on display as the new king and queen greeted the crowds that had gathered outside Buckingham Palace as the royal couple made their first public appearance with their new titles.
Charles was born to Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, on Nov. 14, 1948.
He was born in Buckingham Palace in London at 9:14 p.m. Just over a month later, he was christened Charles Philip Arthur George by England’s archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior member of the Church of England. The young prince attended a school rather than undergo tutoring at the palace; like his father, he attended Gordonstoun, a boarding school in eastern Scotland. He later attended Cambridge University in 1967 to study history.
Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. He divorced his first wife, Princess Diana, in 1996, and she died a year later in a car crash in Paris that stunned the world.
When Charles and Camilla married, it was announced that Camilla would not be known as queen when he became monarch, but as “princess consort” — at a time when British public sentiment toward her was more frosty.
But in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne during her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, Elizabeth announced that she wanted Camilla to be known as “queen consort” when Charles became king.
Camilla, previously known as the Duchess of Cornwall, was referred to as the queen consort by Buckingham Palace in a statement following Elizabeth’s death on Thursday.