The Queen Released a Statement Saying Camilla Will Become Queen

It’s a historic, modern step for the monarchy.

queen elizabeth camilla
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the even of her Accession Day, the Queen released a statement saying that it was her wish that Duchess Camilla, second wife of Prince Charles, be called ‘Queen’ when Charles takes the throne. The gesture is seen as a modernization gesture for the monarchy, and a recognition of the Queen’s respect for Camilla, despite a rocky beginning to her marriage with Charles.

So why is this such a big deal that the Queen felt the need to announce it? Historically, the wife of the king is known as “Queen consort,” a title that the Duchess of Cornwall was fully allowed to use when she and Charles married in 2005. But, per CNN, Prince Charles and Camilla were cognizant of the public adoration for Princess Diana, and so Camilla adopted the “Princess Consort” title to make sure she wasn’t accidentally stepping on Diana’s legacy. It was, until yesterday, likely the title she would use even after Charles became king. 

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Prince Charles and Camilla on their low-key wedding day in 2005.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Queen’s statement has been called a “bombshell,” getting a 10pm release the night before Accession Day. “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,” her statement said. “And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

Dr. Andrew Lownie, royal author of the book The Traitor King, was quoted by the Mirror saying, “Camilla has earned her spurs. The Queen, who wouldn’t have Camilla in the room at one point, has become very fond of her.”

In some ways, it is the apex of the transition that Camilla made from the person Diana called in an interview the third person in her marriage, to a respected member of the royal family and future Queen.

In a heartfelt response, Prince Charles joined the rest of the nation in thanking the Queen for her service and wrote that he and his wife were “deeply conscious of the hono[r] represented by my mother’s wish.”

It may seem out-of-the-blue that the Queen would dash out such a message when all eyes were on her. After all, Camilla’s title when Charles becomes Queen seems like a housekeeping note. But the Queen’s statement, from the only person who can give out royal titles, shows that this anniversary has the Queen thinking about the future of the Firm. Mostly, it emphasizes that when Charles does become King, the family wants the transition to a new monarch to be as smooth as possible—and when better than a Platinum Jubilee to express that sentiment.