Is Camilla Queen or Queen Consort?

6 May 2023, 12:23 | Updated: 6 February 2024, 11:23

King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following the coronation.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla were coronated together in 2023. Picture: Alamy
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Is Camilla Queen or Queen consort? The royal's title explained as husband King Charles is diagnosed with cancer.

King Charles, who was coronated in 2023, has been diagnosed with cancer, confirmed Buckingham Palace.

As it stands, the monarch, who is "wholly positive" about the situation, has not confirmed which type of cancer he has but is set to undergo treatment as soon as possible.

Stepping down from royal duties, it will be his son Prince William and wife Camilla who step up to take on responsibilities leaving many loyal fans questioning her status within the royal family.

Read more: Prince Harry to visit King Charles after cancer diagnosis

Read more: Why Kate Middleton's kids George, Charlotte and Louis didn't visit her in hospital

Many are concerned over what happens to her should she outlive Charles and in particular, what her official royal title is - Queen or Queen Consort?

Queen Camilla leaving Westminster Abbey in central London following the coronation ceremony.
Queen Camilla has her own smaller crowning ceremony on Coronation day. Picture: Alamy

Is Camilla Queen or Queen Consort?

Camilla now officially goes by Queen, according to Buckingham Palace.

A royal source told the BBC that in the first few months of the new reign it made sense to use Queen so as to avoid confusion with the late Queen Elizabeth.

During the coronation, on 6th May, she was crowned alongside the King and after that is referred to as Queen.

While the wife of the King would usually be known as ‘Princess Consort’, the late Queen hoped that Camilla would take the Queen title and that the public would support it.

King Charles in a blue pinstripe suit
King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer at 75 years old. Picture: Getty

She said before she passed away: "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.

“It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service."

What is the difference between a Queen and a consort?

The Queen Consort is the reigning king's wife, their role is defined by marriage and is more symbolic.

Meanwhile, the Queen is usually the official ruler of the UK.

King Charles and Camilla standing together
Queen Camilla will be supporting her husband through his health condition. Picture: Alamy

What happens if Queen Camilla outlives Charles?

Since the throne can only be inherited, the spouse of a monarch can’t become a monarch themselves.

When Prince William becomes King, Princess Catherine will become Queen. Camilla would probably retain her title and will continue to support the new king and queen.

Meanwhile, at the King’s coronation, Camilla wore a modified version of Queen Mary’s crown from her 1911 coronation.

The headpiece was set with a different diamond to its original and it will be the first time a Queen Consort crown has been recycled.