Queen Camilla? Controversy around Duchess of Cornwall’s future title explained

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall marries Prince Charles in 2005

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 73, and Prince Charles, 72, were an item for years before they finally tied the knot in 2005. The tragic death of Charles’s first wife, Princess Diana, meant marriage between the future king and Camilla was deemed inappropriate for years. Public opinion around the couple was precarious due to their affair during Charles’s marriage to Diana.

When Camilla became Charles’s wife, the late Princess of Wales was still very much alive in Britons’ memories and out of respect for her it was announced Camilla would be known as Princess Consort and not Queen Consort when Charles becomes king.

However, despite the Clarence House statement about Camilla’s future title, there is still a debate around what she will be known as when she is consort.

One expert has claimed Camilla will automatically become Queen Consort, and not Princess Consort, when Charles takes the Crown.

Constitutional expert Iaian MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “Upon his accession, the Duchess of Cornwall will automatically become Queen Consort.”

Touching on the controversy around Camilla’s title, Mr MacMarthanne added: “There has been much speculation over this issue principally because of the sensitivities relating to Diana, Princess of Wales.

“This however does not change the fact that in law the duchess will become Queen Consort.

“Indeed, presently she is entitled to be known as Princess of Wales, but again mindful of Diana, Princess of Wales the decision was taken to use one of Prince Charles’ subsidiary titles.

“There has been much debate as to what title will be taken when Charles becomes King, Princess Consort being one.”

Mr MacMarthanne added: “There is no precedent for such a style, but that does not preclude its eventual use, nor would its use mitigate her legal right to be recognised as Queen Consort.”

University College London’s Constitution Unit also offers an explanation as to why Camilla might not take the Queen Consort title on its website.

In answer to the question, ‘Will Camilla become Queen Camilla?’ the website states: “Under common law the spouse of a King automatically becomes Queen.

“But there are two possible reasons why Camilla might not assume the title.”


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The answer continues:   “The first is the argument voiced by the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail Online, that Camilla cannot become Queen because her 2005 civil marriage to Prince Charles was not valid.”

“The argument runs as follows: because the Marriage Acts from 1753 have explicitly excepted royal marriages from their provisions, the only valid marriage which a member of the royal family could contract in England was a religious marriage in the Church of England.

“The Lord Chancellor in 2005 defended the validity of the Prince’s civil marriage, as did the Registrar General. But if Camilla became Queen, it might provoke further legal challenges.”

Experts at UCL also claim Camilla may not take the Queen Consort title because of public opinion.

They added: “The second possible reason is public opinion. In deference to public opinion, Camilla has not assumed the title Princess of Wales.

“Prince Charles will no doubt have regard to public opinion at the time of his accession, in deciding whether Camilla should become Queen; and he may also want to seek the advice of the government of the day.

“The fallback position is that Camilla would become Princess Consort as announced at the time of their marriage.”

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