What Happens to the Queen Consort When a King Dies? U.K. Line of Succession

What happens to the Queen Consort when a king dies? Camilla, Queen Consort, isn't in line to reign as Queen. See how the royal rules work.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Sep. 9 2022, Published 12:37 p.m. ET

Queen Consort Camilla
Source: Getty

Camilla, Queen Consort, is the wife of King Charles III. She can also be called simply Queen Camilla.

For those who grew up in the U.K., figuring out the line of succession to the royal throne might be simple. But for Americans and others who are less familiar with a monarchy, the question of who the heirs to the throne might be can seem confusing. For instance, we know that Charles is now King Charles III, but what happens to the Queen Consort when a king dies?

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Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the former Prince Charles immediately became King Charles III. He is married to Camilla Parker Bowles, who was somewhat notorious in the 1990s and early 2000s for having been key in the breakup of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In February 2022, Queen Elizabeth gave her blessing for Camilla to be named Queen Consort.

Charles and Camilla
Source: Getty

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, on a trip in 2015.

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is now the Queen Consort.

Due to how beloved Princess Diana was by the public, it was decided that when then-Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, she would take the title of Duchess of Cornwall. Over the years, Camilla has faced a lot of public criticism, which she has learned to manage.

In June 2022, she told British Vogue, "I was scrutinized for such a long time that you just have to find a way to live with it."

The queen finally gave her approval of her eldest son’s wife in February by stating her wishes that upon her death, Camilla would have the title of “Queen Consort.”

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What is a Queen Consort?

As ABC News explained, Queen Consort is a title given to the spouse of a king. It’s an immediate title change, conferred now that Charles has been named the king. Camilla may be referred to as Queen Consort Camilla or simply “Queen Camilla.”

USA Today reported that Camilla will be crowned at the same ceremony as King Charles III. Her duty will chiefly be to support her husband in his royal duties, although she already supports numerous charities and social causes.

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Camilla will be crowned with a platinum-and-diamond tiara that belonged to the Queen Mother. It features thousands of diamonds, including the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond from India.

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camilla queen
Source: Getty Images
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Queen Camilla won't be the queen if King Charles dies before her.

Although Camilla has the title of Queen, she isn't the ruling queen, and won't assume sole reigning duties in the event that the king dies before her. Queen Consort is the title given to the spouse of the king. So, she would no longer hold that title after his death. All previous wives of kings held the title of Queen Consort.

Next in line for the throne is the king's oldest son Prince William. It has long been known that he would be king once his father dies or gives up the throne.

The rest of the line of succession consists of Prince William’s children in order of birth, followed by his brother Prince Harry and then his children in birth order. After that, eighth in line is Andrew, Duke of York, followed by Princess Beatrice, his oldest daughter.


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