By: Hana Kotb
The British line of succession for the King is clear: Prince Charles will take over as king for Queen Elizabeth II, followed by Prince William, and eventually his son Prince George. What’s not so clear is who is the next queen?
Prince Charles, the heir apparent, updated his personal website and removed information about his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and her future title upon his ascension to the throne. When the couple married in 2005, they announced that the Duchess would become Her Royal Highness The Princess Consort, and not a queen, alluding to the fact that this was Prince Charles’s second marriage, and their affair during his first one made the Duchess extremely unpopular with the British public. The removal of the information announcing that the Duchess will not be Queen has the public wondering, did the Duchess intend to become a queen?
If Prince Charles gets his alleged preference, Camilla would technically become “queen consort” since she’s the wife of the sovereign. (Ruling royals like Queen Elizabeth are “queen regnant;” while Queens that earn their title for being married to a king are “queen consort”, and husbands of ruling queens like Prince Philip traditionally do not change their titles.)
Similarly, Kate Middleton would change from Duchess of Cambridge to Queen Catherine when Prince William becomes king, although officially she would also be a queen consort.
Once Prince Charles becomes King, Will and Kate might get another title upgrade. It’s technically up to him to decide, but he’ll likely make his son the new Prince of Wales, the title traditionally given to the heir apparent since the 14th century. That would in turn grant Kate Middleton the title Catherine, Princess of Wales… just like Diana, Princess of Wales. Camilla is entitled to this title as well, but she doesn’t use it out of respect for Princess Diana. Kate may also choose to not take the title of her late mother-in-law out of respect.
In case you are wondering, Meghan Markle will probably never become a princess or queen. Queen Elizabeth bestowed the titles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex upon Prince Harry and his new wife when they married in May. And since Prince Harry’s currently sixth in line for the throne after Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (maybe even seventh soon after Kate deliver her unborn child), it’s unlikely his wife will ever technically become a queen.
But Meghan’s already a queen in all of our hearts!