Camilla snub: Why title may not be decided for years after Charles becomes King

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CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL may become known as Princess, Princess Consort or Queen when Charles becomes King – but the issue may not not be solved for years after the accession, according to royal precedent. 

Camilla and Prince Charles married in their royal wedding in 2005, and the question of the Duchess of Cornwall’s titles was an important point for the Royal Family to determine. Camilla chose to become known as the Duchess of Cornwall, although she does have the right to be styled Princess of Wales, in deference to the late Princess Diana. However, the question of whether she will one day be known as Queen, Princess or Princess Consort when Charles becomes King is still under fierce scrutiny.

The debate has heightened recently as both Camilla and Charles have been notably moving into ever more prominent roles in support of the Queen in recent months.

However, the issue may not be solved immediately after Charles takes the throne. 

Constitutional historian Robert Blackburn, in his 2006 book “King and Country: Monarchy and the Future King Charles III”, takes a look at royal precedent, and argues that the example of Prince Philip in particular gives a blueprint for how the title question could be solved. 

The Duke of Edinburgh did not take the title of Prince Consort, and his status as prince was only confirmed years after the Queen had ascended the throne. 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles Image Getty

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles (Image Getty)

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla on Christmas Day at Sandringham (Image: Getty)

Prince Charles and Camilla on Christmas Day at Sandringham (Image: Getty)

Professor Blackburn writes: “Certainly it has been the conventional practice in the past for the wife of a King regnant to be called Queen, but it has also been customary over the past two centuries for the husband of a Queen regnant to be called Prince.

“The best precedent on the matter is the most recent, namely the manner and style of the title afforded to Elizabeth II’ spouse, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

“Prior to the Queen’s accession, Philip had already been given the titles ‘His Royal Highness’ and ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ by George VI.

“On his wife’s accession in 1952, he was simply granted by the Queen the right of ceremonial precedence after Elizabeth herself.

Camilla and Princess Anne
Camilla and Princess Anne together at the Christmas Day service (Image: Getty)

Camilla and Princess Anne together at the Christmas Day service (Image: Getty)

“The Duke of Edinburgh did not participate in the coronation, and he was not crowned King. 

“He was not even made Prince Consort, in the manner of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert.

“Only subsequently by royal act of letters patent on February 22, 1957, did Queen Elizabeth confer the title of ‘Prince of the United Kingdom’ upon her husband. 

“Today one can neither assume nor expect differential treatment according to the gender of the head of state.” 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
Prince Charles by the side of the Queen as she opens Parliament in December (Image: Getty)

Prince Charles by the side of the Queen as she opens Parliament in December (Image: Getty)

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Camilla
Camilla was at the State Opening of Parliament in October (Image: Getty)

Camilla was at the State Opening of Parliament in October (Image: Getty)

Camilla does legally hold the title of princess, as Princess of Wales, after her marriage to Charles.

Previously Clarence House has stated their intention that Camilla should become known as Princess Consort when Charles ascends the throne.

However, since 2018, the relevant part of the royal website has been deleted. 

Professor Blackburn points out, however, that any of the titles would be “purely titular and ceremonial”.

Prince Charles and Camilla timeline
Prince Charles and Camilla timeline (Image: DX)

Prince Charles and Camilla timeline (Image: DX)

Whether she becomes known as Princess, Princess Consort or Queen, Camilla’s duties and privileges will be the same as wife of the King. 

He concludes: “The Crown [can] confer and dictate whatever title it thinks fit upon the spouse of the head of state.

“It is consistent with customary practice as viewed in today’s context for the spouse of a reigning head of state to be known as Prince or Princess.”

Although Prince Philip eventually did take the title of prince, he did not want it, and even turned it down once.

Hugo Vickers, in his  2017 book “The Crown: Truth and Fiction” writes: “Prince Philip has never been interested in titles, least of all for himself. 

“The main reason to create him a Prince of the United Kingdom was that George VI had forgotten to do so, when he created him HRH and Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.” 

He continues: “Lord Mountbatten wanted it and so did Prince Philip’s aunt, Queen Louise of Sweden, who was disappointed that he had turned it down in 1955.”

Source: EXPRESS CO UK