The U.K. native, 75, immediately received the title after the queen’s death at age 96 on Thursday, September 8. When Buckingham Palace announced the late monarch’s passing, Camilla was referred to as the “Queen Consort” in the official statement, while her husband, Prince Charles, was called the “King.” The former Prince of Wales, 73, is now styled as King Charles III.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” read the palace’s statement. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The title “Queen Consort” is traditionally given to wives of reigning monarchs. Before Camilla, the most recent woman to hold the title was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who was the mother of Elizabeth II and married to Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. The Queen Mother died in 2002 at age 101.
While wives of kings are known as Queens Consort, husbands of queens are called Princes Consort, which is why Prince Philip was not called King Consort during his marriage to Elizabeth. Queens and Princes Consort also do not have Roman numerals after their names as sovereigns do.
As for what duties the role entails, there is no official job description, but the Queen Consort is expected to provide support for the monarch throughout his reign. Camilla has already been doing this for years, supporting charities and accompanying Charles on royal tours, so in that respect, her role won’t change very much.
Before she passed away, Elizabeth was the longest-reigning monarch in the U.K.’s history, celebrating with her Platinum Jubilee festivities in June. While marking her 70 years on the throne months prior, the queen announced her plans for the future of the monarchy — and her intention for Camilla’s future title.
“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,” the sovereign noted in a February statement. “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.”
Charles and Camilla thanked Elizabeth for her kind words at the time, writing in a statement of their own: “We are deeply conscious of the honor represented by my mother’s wish. As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.”
Several months later, Camilla opened up about learning to “rise above” the negative criticism she’s faced throughout her time as a member of the royal family. “Oh, I shall carry on as much as I can,” she told British Vogue in June. “You can’t desert things that you’re in the middle of. There’s a lot of things to be done still.”
Camilla was named Duchess of Cornwall when she and Charles tied the knot in 2005. The queen was initially “skeptical” of the newcomer, a source exclusively told Us Weekly in February, but the women improved their “challenging” relationship over time.
“Through her dedication and loyalty to The Firm, she has more than proved to her that she has what it takes,” the insider added. “Camilla has definitely grown on Elizabeth II, more so than ever during the [coronavirus] pandemic. She really upped her game and willingly took a hands-on approach with additional duties.”
A second source told Us at the time that Charles was “over the moon” that his spouse earned his mother’s approval. Camilla, for her part, told reporters during a royal engagement in February that she felt “very, very honored and very touched” to take on the role.
Soon after the ascension day, both Charles and Camilla tested positive for COVID-19. Us later confirmed that the queen was being monitored since she had been in close contact with her son. The palace announced on February 20 that the queen had a “mild” case of the virus and would be following the guidance of healthcare professionals throughout her recovery.
Elizabeth’s health continued to draw attention in May after she pulled out of the annual opening ceremony of British Parliament, which Charles and Camilla attended in her place. One month later, Her Royal Highness skipped the Service of Thanksgiving associated with her Platinum Jubilee celebrations after experiencing “discomfort” at the Trooping the Colour. However, she made a surprise appearance on the palace balcony for the Jubilee Pageant as the festivities came to an end.
Along with Charles, Elizabeth shared sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward with her late husband, Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99. The couple, who were married for more than 70 years, also shared daughter Princess Anne. Eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren complete the royal family tree.