There is historical precedent for when a Queen outlives a King—Queen Elizabeth’s mother, the Queen Mother, lived for another 50 years after her husband, King George VI, died in 1952—but what happens when the Queen is a stepmother to the future king? If Queen Camilla should outlive her husband, King Charles, what happens then?
Well, first of all, as The Mirror correctly points out, “she would not become the monarch, as that is passed down the bloodline, and so the Prince of Wales is the heir to the throne.” Okay, then what? Her new title would be Queen Dowager as the widow of the King, a title first used by Queen Adelaide in 1830.
Camilla’s title has been the fodder of much speculation since she married Charles in 2005. Back then, it was said she would only ever be Princess Consort when her husband ascended to the throne. She also never went publicly by the Princess of Wales title (even though she was married to the Prince of Wales) because of that title’s deep association with Charles’ ex-wife Princess Diana, who died in 1997. She instead went by the Duchess of Cornwall, a partner title to Charles’ secondary title of Duke of Cornwall.
Then, in 2022, Her late Majesty publicly requested that, when the time came that Camilla would be known as Queen Consort. After the late Queen died in September, Camilla was known as just that, but by the Coronation earlier this month Charles issued a royal warrant that Camilla be known simply as Queen Camilla.
“There’s a view in the Palace that Queen Consort is cumbersome, and it might be simpler for Camilla to be known just as the Queen when the time is right,” a royal insider said earlier this year, per The Mirror. Camilla has adopted the Queen title since her crowning on May 6.