Why Queen Elizabeth's decision to call Camilla 'Queen Consort' is considered controversial

·Lifestyle & Features Editor
·4 min read
Queen Elizabeth II has announced her
Queen Elizabeth II has announced her "sincere wish" that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall be given the title of Queen Consort one day. (Image via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her platinum jubilee by expressing her "sincere wish" that "when the time comes" her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will become Queen Consort.

On Saturday, the 95-year-old monarch released a statement ahead of the 70th anniversary of her ascension to the British throne.

"This anniversary also affords me a time to reflect on the goodwill shown to me by people of all nationalities, faiths and ages in this country and around the world over these years," Her Majesty said. "I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me. And 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; 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."

What is a Queen Consort?

A Queen Consort is a title given to the spouse of a reigning King which, although denotes title and rank, doesn't give them the same powers of the reigning monarch.

By comparison, Queen Elizabeth is known as the Queen Regnant, which means she possesses and can exercise sovereign powers.

Queen Elizabeth II has announced her
Queen Elizabeth II has announced her "sincere wish" that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, be called Queen Consort one day. (Image via Getty Images)

Although a King Regnant can give his wife the title of Queen Consort, the same cannot be said for a Queen Regnant. During her 64-year reign, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, was given the title of Prince Consort and not a King Consort, because technically a King holds higher rank than a Queen.

Although they were married for more than 73 years, Prince Philip was never referred to as a Prince Consort. In 1957, the Palace released a statement that the Queen's husband would be "Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Whitehall" and referred to as the Duke of Edinburgh.

Why is Camilla becoming Queen Consort so controversial?

The news of the Queen's endorsement of Camilla as a future Queen Consort may not have surprised royal insiders, but it certainly surprised royal watchers.

When Prince Charles married his second wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005, it was announced that when the Prince of Wales ascended the throne, Camilla would be known as Princess Regnant.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have been married since 2005. (Image via Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have been married since 2005. (Image via Getty Images)

At the time, the title of Princess Consort was meant as a sign of sensitivity and respect to Charles's first wife, the late Princess Diana, who was set to inherit the title of Queen Consort.

It was a clever move for the royals considering the public's feelings towards Camilla. Prince Charles's infidelity and long-standing affair with the now-Duchess of Cornwall created a love triangle that pinned Camilla against Diana, "the People's Princess."

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Although there were initially hostilities towards the Duchess of Cornwall, the 74-year-old has proven herself to be a dedicated servant of the Queen and the Royal family. Camilla has become a public champion of literacy, health, supporting victims of rape and domestic violence and like the Queen, the dog-lover is an advocate for animal welfare.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall champions literacy and supports survivors of domestic violence. (Image via Getty Images)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall champions literacy and supports survivors of domestic violence. (Image via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth has bestowed several prestigious honours to the Duchess, including the Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter, one of the highest honours available.

The change in title from Princess Consort to Queen Consort marks a change of heart for the Duchess of Cornwall, both publicly and privately.

While there will always be some royal watchers who opt not to forget the scandalous origins of Prince Charles and Camilla's relationship, the Queen has made her feelings known and her "wishes" will likely be fulfilled.

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