Will Camilla be reigning queen if King Charles III dies?
Last year, Camilla was crowned along with King Charles III at the coronation event and from then takes on the title ‘Queen Camilla’.
Prior to the celebrations in May 2023, then Prince Charles’ wife was known as Queen Consort Camilla. After Charles III’s coronation as the King of the United Kingdom, however, Camilla became known as ‘Queen Camilla’, with no ‘Consort’ in sight (she had held that title since her husband’s immediate accession to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022).
‘Queen’ Camilla just in name
To mark the change, her charity ‘The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room’ was renamed as the ‘The Queen’s Reading Room’, while official invitations issued to Charles III’s coronation read ‘The Coronation of Their Majesties, King Charles III and Queen Camilla’. As ‘official’ as ‘official’ can get.
Camilla was also crowed on that coronation day and presented with the crown of Queen Mary, the wife of King George V, who wore the headpiece for her own queen consort coronation in 1911. But despite the fancy new title and headwear, things haven’t changed all that much for Camilla. Her role has continued to be that of supporting her husband in his official duties and representing the monarch at events she attends alone.
Could Camilla become reigning queen if Charles dies?
Even more notably, there is no chance of Camilla ever becoming the reigning queen. Only members of the royal family who are born in the direct line of succession to the British throne (i.e. children of a reigning king or queen) can ever become monarch.
What is the order of succession to the British throne?
The order of succession is determined by descent and is inherited by a sovereign’s children. Once someone in line to the throne has had children, those children are next in the line of succession no matter whether their parent predeceases the monarch. For example, had Prince Charles died before Queen Elizabeth, Prince William would have been first in line to the throne rather than Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son. Given Andrew’s murky past, the British people may have struggled to see him take over anyway.
Similarly, if Prince William predeceases before King Charles, William’s son Prince George of Cambridge will be next in line to the throne, not Prince Harry, Charles’ second son and William’s brother. The current line of succession to the British throne will see Prince William succeed Charles III as King of the United Kingdom, with William’s son Prince George next in line.