Immediately following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away peacefully on Thursday, her firstborn son, Prince Charles, officially became the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms. But what will he and his wife, Duchess Camilla, be referred to from now on? And will things change for the Cambridges?
A spokesman for His Majesty confirms to BAZAAR.com that the monarch will be known as King Charles III. Meanwhile, Camilla, formerly known as the Duchess of Cornwall, will now be recognized as Queen Consort.
Ahead, we explain all the nuances behind their new titles.
King Charles III
Though it has since been confirmed that Charles will be known as King Charles III, not all British monarchs have stuck by their given names upon accession.
For instance, Charles's grandfather's baptized name was Albert Frederick Arthur George. But upon becoming king, he took on the regnal name George VI. Queen Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, also changed her name, having been baptized as Alexandrina Victoria.
The new monarch choosing to go by King Charles III has him following in the footsteps of his mother, who—upon ascending the throne 70 years ago—broke tradition by deciding to keep her given name.
Camilla, Queen Consort
After Camilla and Charles married in 2005, Buckingham Palace announced that Camilla would take on the title Princess Consort once Charles ascended the throne.
However, Queen Elizabeth later expressed her "sincere wish" for Camilla to have the title Queen Consort.
In a letter released the day before her 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the late monarch wrote, "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."
To mark the 70th anniversary of her accession, the Queen has shared a letter reflecting on her life of service and her gratitude for Prince Philip’s support as consort.
She also shares her "sincere wish" for Camilla to take on the title of Queen when Charles becomes King. pic.twitter.com/mBMReGxdG6
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) February 5, 2022
At the time, a Clarence House spokesperson told BAZAAR.com that the couple were both "touched and honored by Her Majesty's words."
What's the difference between Queen and Queen Consort?
The title of Consort is traditionally given to the spouse of a reigning monarch, while Queen is solely given to female rulers. Therefore, the late Queen Elizabeth II inherited her title after she ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, while Camilla was given her title due to her marriage to Charles.
Though there are subtleties between the titles, Camilla's name will still likely be styled as Queen Camilla.
Prince William and Duchess Kate
Prince William and Duchess Kate updated their titles on social media following the queen's death. In addition to being the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, they are now also Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. The two adopted the Cambridge title in 2011, following their marriage, and their new Cornwall title is one they have inherited from Charles and Camilla, who are now King and Queen Consort.
Their Twitter bio now reads, "The official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge and the Royal Foundation, based at Kensington Palace."
William will likely also inherit his father's former title of Prince of Wales—the title traditionally handed to the heir to the throne. And Kate will therefore likely become Princess of Wales—a title once held by Princess Diana.
It's unclear if these title changes will affect the Cambridges' three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
The Sussex Kids
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's children, son Archie and daughter Lilibet, are now technically Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The change in title is an automatic right with the ascension of a new monarch. In 1917, King George V established a rule that stated the children and grandchildren of a sovereign would automatically be entitled to the title His Royal Highness and prince or princess. (At the time of their births, Archie and Lilibet were the great-grandchildren of a sovereign, so they weren't given the titles.)
Still, King Charles could revoke the royal titles from his grandchildren by issuing a Letters Patent amending their rights, per The Guardian.
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