Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch Britain ever had at the time of her death on Sept. 8, 2022. The 96-year-old royal had been a pillar in the country and as the world mourned her loss, her eldest son Charles, formerly the Prince of Wales, became the new king.
But does this mean that Charles' wife, Camilla, will become queen?
Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth weighed in on the matter, writing in her platinum jubilee message that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla would be known as queen consort. In this role, she'll "provide companionship and moral and practical support” to the reigning king, according to the royal family's website.
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Camilla is now queen consort
In February, during a message to mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth determined that Camilla would become queen consort when Charles takes the 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," the queen said in a statement at the time. "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."
In a statement released on Thursday after news of the queen's death, Charles mourned the death of his "beloved" mother.
"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," the statement read. "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."
"During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held."
Camilla wasn't always set to become a queen
Though Camilla is married to the now-King of England, she was not always guaranteed the title of queen.
Charles and Camilla married back in 2005 and at the time, the Prince of Wales' website said she would take the title of "princess consort," not queen, if and when Charles ascended to the throne.
Of course, this is both Charles and Camilla's second marriage. The new king was famously married to Diana, Princess of Wales, from 1981 to 1996 when they divorced. Diana died in a car crash in 1997.
Camilla was previously married as well, to British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles. They divorced in 1995, though the Charles and Camilla carried on a romance for years while they were married to other people.
History shows us that a princess consort title would've been unusual. According to Suzannah Lipscombe, emeritus professor of history at the University of Roehampton, who spoke to TODAY, there has never previously been a princess consort, mainly because “in common law, the wife of a king becomes a queen."
Over the years, Camilla has gained Queen Elizabeth's trust, something publicly acknowledged when she was appointed to the Order of the Garter in late 2021, the highest honor the monarchy can bestow, notes Kristin Contino, chief reporter at Royal Central and author of "A House Full of Windsor."
“Camilla certainly has come a long way in terms of public favor since the Diana days,” Contino told TODAY. “It’s also been said that Charles would prefer her to be known as his queen, which is understandable.”
Charles and Diana's offspring are well settled: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is next in line to the throne, followed by William’s children. William’s younger brother, Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is sixth in the line of succession to the throne.
Could Camilla's children from her first marriage receive royal titles?
Camilla and Charles have no children together, but she has two grown children from her first marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles: Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes. Will they be elevated in some way by being related to a princess consort/king's consort/queen?
Not likely, says Contino. "Tom, who is a well-known food critic and cookbook author, does help with Camilla’s Reading Room project, and Laura’s daughter Eliza was a bridesmaid in the (William and Catherine) wedding. But other than that, we don’t see the Parker Bowles family out too often at royal events. Aside from attending the coronation or possibly some other big royal celebrations, I can’t see them changing that or Charles giving them titles."
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: