Royal Historians Think Camilla Parker-Bowles' Fancy New Title Means She Could Become Queen

Is Queen Elizabeth sending a message?

Camilla Parker Bowles greets crowd
(Image credit: Getty)

Digging into the ins and outs of royal rules and regulations is not for the faint of heart. Like—what does Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter even mean? But this is why we have royal experts to decode the various titles, honors, and ceremonies the British royal family always seems to be taking part in. According to these scholars of monarchy-behavior, Queen Elizabeth bestowing Camilla Parker Bowles with the Order of the Garter—the highest honor for services to the monarchy—is actually quite significant. It very possibly means that Camilla will become Queen when her husband, Prince Charles, becomes King.

If, like us, most of your knowledge about the rules of monarchy and inheritance comes from Disney or the CW’s Reign, you may have thought that this was obvious. Not so! It turns out that the wife of the King does not automatically become the Queen, just as Prince Philip didn’t get to be King just because he was married to the Queen. 

Due to negative public opinion at the time, it had previously been decided that Camilla would take the title of Princess Consort to Charles when he took the throne. But now royal historians think this whole Garter business changes the game. 

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles wave

(Image credit: Getty)

According to royal historian ​​Hugo Vickers, Queen Elizabeth giving Camilla the title of Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter is a signal of how much she respects her daughter-in-law, and is basically a green light for Camilla to become Queen Consort rather than Princess Consort. “It paves the way for the Duchess to become not only Queen by right when Prince Charles succeeds to the throne, but Queen by name,” Vickers told The Daily Mail. And Vickers isn’t the only royal historian who thinks the Duchess will get the title upgrade. Royal biographer Penny Junor has previously said, “My guess is she will be queen. I don’t think Charles would want her to be called anything else.”

If this is indeed the case, that would mean that Prince Charles has finally won his years-long campaign to get his wife the official title, even if neither Prince William, Prince Harry, nor the British public are thrilled about it. As royal biographer Robert Lacey told Newsweek, “Privately I discovered both brothers are absolutely sick to the back teeth of Charles trying to negotiate full Queen status for Camilla.” 

As for our thoughts? In the style of Lucille Bluth: Good for her.

Kathleen Walsh

Kathleen Walsh is a freelance writer and editor whose work focuses on culture, dating, and feminism and especially where all three intersect. Her writing can be found in the New York Times, InStyle, Teen Vogue, and more.