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A Royal Invitation’s Reference To ‘Queen Camilla’ Is Causing Quite A Stir

King Charles' upcoming coronation is already off to a controversial start. A Royal Invitation’s Reference To ‘Queen Camilla’ Is Causing Quite A Stir Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

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While it might seem natural to refer to the married monarchs of a nation as “king and queen,” it’s not quite that simple when referring to King Charles III and his wife, Camilla.

Before her death, Queen Elizabeth II made it clear that she preferred the title “queen consort” for Camilla, which is why many Brits were upset when an invitation for the king’s upcoming coronation referred to her as “Queen Camilla.”

What’s the difference?

In the strictest sense, just calling someone “queen” doesn’t provide all the necessary information.

  • “Regnant” after a title means that the monarch is empowered to reign, so Elizabeth II qualified as a “queen regnant.”
  • Although “consort” still comes with the crown, it is used for the spouse of a reigning monarch, e.g., “Queen Consort Camilla.”
  • For the most part, these terms aren’t used for general references, so some folks weren’t surprised to see “consort” dropped from the invitation.

And if it weren’t for the nature of Charles and Camilla’s relationship, we’d probably not be talking about this controversy.

A national scandal

Years before then-Prince Charles met and married the late Princess Diana, he had a relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Diana was reportedly aware that her husband maintained contact with his former flame, at one point declaring “there were three of us in this marriage.”

Less than a decade after their divorce in 1996, Charles and Camilla were wed — and many critics blamed his new wife for ruining the previous marriage.

Of course, Diana’s tragic death in 1997 made the already popular princess a vaulted figure across the United Kingdom.

Some interpreted the late queen’s use of “consort” as a way for her to diminish Camilla’s legitimacy — and Charles’ effort to remove the word might be his attempt to exert his newfound power.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee April 7th, 2023
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