In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, many people are wondering if Kate Middleton (a.k.a the Duchess of Cambridge) will be the next queen. Keep reading to see the succession to the throne explained with Prince Charles, Prince William and Camilla Bowles, known as the Duchess of Cornwall.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the official Twitter account of the royal family wrote on Thursday, September 8. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Next in line to inherit the throne is Prince Charles, the oldest of Elizabeth’s children with the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. However, that does not mean Camilla will be queen when her husband becomes king.
Elizabeth was a Queen Regnant, which means she reigned in her own right after taking over the throne following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952.
Technically, Camilla would be considered a Queen Consort, meaning she’s married to a king, since she is not in the royal family’s blood line. However, she and Charles decided against that title, and instead, the U.K. native has decided to take on the role as Princess Consort.
This decision was made long before Elizabeth’s death. The change was agreed upon at the time of Charles and Camilla’s 2005 marriage. Part of the reason for the change-up had to do with the controversy surrounding the royal couple’s long relationship, which included an affair while he was still married to the late Princess Diana.
“The intention is for the Duchess to be known as Princess Consort when the Prince accedes to the throne,” a statement from Clarence House read in 2005. “This was announced at the time of the marriage and there has been absolutely no change at all.”
Charles and Diana wed in 1981, and their divorce was finalized in 1996, one year before the philanthropist died tragically in a car accident.
In 1995, Diana even spoke about her tumultuous marriage during an interview when asked if Camilla was a factor in her split from Charles.
“Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” she quipped at the time.
As for Prince William, he will become king after his father dies, or if Charles ever decided to abdicate the throne. That means Kate will then become Queen Consort since she will be a royal by marriage.
That being said, Kate is in for a title change. When William becomes next in line to the throne, his title will automatically change to Prince of Wales. It’s been reported that his wife will take on the title of Princess of Wales, in honor of his late mother.