So, What’s a Queen Consort?

Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

As you’ve probably heard by now, Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign ended on Thursday, Sept. 8. In addition to a sensational day on the Internet, his death also set in motion a complex series of royal protocol related to his succession, which unfortunately does not involve any of his corpses. Instead, his eldest son, Charles, would assume the throne, and his wife, Camilla, would become queen consort.

Camilla’s involvement in the royal family is not without controversy. Charles’s first wife was, of course, Princess Diana, who famously said that there were “three of us” in their marriage, referring to Charles and Camilla’s infamous affair, which eventually led to Charles and Diana (of course). Already unhappy) annulled the marriage. Camilla and Charles married in 2005, and she has largely won over the love of the British public, but her promotion to Queen consort was still a surprise. Here’s what to know.

Charles and Camilla were friends for a long time and dated each other before marrying Diana in 1981. According to many royal biographers and Crown, Charles wanted to marry Camilla, but she was turned away by the royal family, who did not think she would be a suitable wife, due to the fact that he had few ex-boyfriends and therefore was probably not a virgin. Furthermore, Camilla may not have been interested in marrying Charles: In 1973, she married a lieutenant named Andrew Parker Bowles, whom historians say she truly loved. But at some point, Charles and Camilla rekindled their relationship, an affair that eventually became a public scandal and led to Charles and Diana’s divorce.

Charles and Diana finalized their divorce in 1996, almost a year after Camilla signed their divorce papers. Over the next decade, he gradually incorporated her into his public life, even hiring a royal PR specialist to woo the public on his side. After all, Diana was the People’s Princess, and the embarrassing details of Charles and Camilla’s affair—particularly the leaked transcript of a horny phone call where Charles told Camilla she’d love to have a tampon so she could walk around in her underwear— Absolutely don’t make them an attractive option.

There was also a more official matter of legal approval. Given the monarchy’s close ties with the Church of England, divorce and remarriage are not viewed with kindness in the royal family: Elizabeth’s uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne to his father because the British government would not allow him to marry a divorced woman. . And be king. When Charles and Camilla finally married in 2005, the Queen did not attend the wedding because the Church of England had not officially changed its stance on post-divorce remarriage.

Still, Elizabeth, the British Parliament, and the Church of England was All consented to the marriage, which helped reduce public backlash. Another thing that may have helped: because the title of Princess of Wales was so strongly associated with Diana, Camilla opted not to use it, and instead went by the Duchess of Cornwall, who was Charles’ supreme The adjudicatory title corresponds to that of the Duke of Cornwall.

Since then, England seems to have warmed to Camilla. So is Elizabeth, who was reportedly not a fan of his throughout the affair and subsequent relationship, but has been pictured hanging out amicably with him over the past decade.

well he is One Queen. Wives of British monarchs are generally understood to be “wives” and it appears that Camilla will be no exception. In February, Elizabeth confirmed in a special announcement that Charles would be heir to the throne after her death, adding that it was her “sincere wish that, when that time came, Camilla would be known as Queen Consort because She continues her faithful service.” This was a change from the previous plan, which was for Camilla to become the inferior princess consort rather than the queen consort, given the controversy over their marriage. Some royal biographers recently claimed that both William and Harry objected to the idea of ​​Camilla becoming queen consort, with one saying they were “blinded” by the February announcement.

As a slightly more respected queen consort, according to official custom, Camilla would be anointed at Charles’s coronation with a simple, short ceremony – although again, the status of Camilla’s second wife raised her question. has gone. Once she officially takes office, she will have no formal duties, but is expected to make public appearances alongside Charles. To MirrorThe main function of the wife is to “provide support and cooperation” to the emperor. In the past, associations have apparently served as a kind of glorified tributary, hosting events and going to charitable feasts to represent the monarchy. Camilla is apparently a patron of over 90 charities, so she has a lot of practice out there.

The line of succession follows Philip’s blood descendants, so Camilla would never become the de facto queen, even if she died before that. Her successor is Prince William, which could complicate Camilla’s title if she outlived her husband – if William were her biological son, she would probably have become Queen Mother (the role of Elizabeth’s mother for many years), But being a stepmother makes things a little more complicated. He also has two children of his own from his first marriage, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles, who will not receive any royal titles.

For the foreseeable future, however, Camilla will likely be making a lot of public appearances at King Charles’s side. For me, her best moment is this video of her blinking during her 2019 visit with Donald and Melania Trump:

I look forward to seeing more of this energy at all royal events to come.

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