With the recent news of King Charles III’s cancer diagnosis, many are curious about what would happen to his wife, Queen Camilla, if she outlives him and what her title would be.
In a similar historical scenario, when Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, passed away in 1952, his wife, Queen Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, became a widow. At that time, Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne, and her mother took on the title of “queen mother” to avoid any confusion with her daughter, the reigning monarch. However, if Queen Camilla were to outlive her husband, a different title would apply.
She Would Become The Queen Dowager
In all likelihood, Camilla would assume the title of “queen dowager,” which is defined quite simply as “the widow of a king” by Merriam-Webster. Technically, all widows of kings are queen dowagers, but some may choose to use the title “queen mother” if they are birth mothers to the current heir to the throne. Notably, Queen Camilla is not the birth mother of the future king, Prince William, as his mother was the late Princess Diana.
If King Charles were to pass away, his eldest son, William, would ascend to the throne. Currently, Prince William holds the title of Prince of Wales and is first in line for the British succession, followed by his eldest son, 10-year-old Prince George. If Prince William became the monarch of the United Kingdom, his wife, Princess Catherine, would take on the title of queen.
As reported by Town & Country, the last time the title “queen dowager” was used was when Queen Adelaide became a widow upon the death of her husband, King William IV, in 1837. Adelaide held the title of queen dowager until her passing in 1849. As Queen Adelaide and King William IV did not have any children, the throne passed to William’s niece, Queen Victoria.
Currently, Queen Camilla’s title is “queen consort,” signifying her role as the wife of a reigning king. It’s worth noting that the term “consort” was subtly removed from the royal family’s website a few weeks before her coronation alongside King Charles in May 2023.
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