Camilla Parker Bowles: Here's why she can be Queen but Prince Philip could never be King

Buckingham Palace announced that the newly anointed King Charles III’s coronation will occur on 6th May 2023 at Westminster Abbey. On this day, Camilla will also officially be anointed as Queen Consort.

Camilla Parker Bowles: Here's why she can be Queen but Prince Philip could never be King
© Max Mumby/Indigo / Getty Images
Camilla Parker Bowles: Here's why she can be Queen but Prince Philip could never be King

The UK is slowly preparing to formerly crown Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles in ceremonies that will take place on 6th May 2023 at Westminster Abbey. It will be the first coronation of a reigning monarch in nearly 70 years and the first crowning of a Queen Consort since 1937.

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The Queen Consort’s ceremony

Camilla will be by King Charles’s side during his six-part coronation ceremony. After which, the Queen Consort will have a similar but simpler ceremony of her own, per the late Queen Elizabeth II’s wishes.

Her Majesty declared earlier this year:

When the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service

The last Queen Consort ceremony was in 1937, when Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother, was crowned alongside her husband, King George VI.

According to The Mirror, Camilla’s ceremony will start with the Archbishop of Canterbury anointing her head with holy oil, also a part of Charles’ ceremony. The Queen’s ring will be placed on her hand; then, a crown will be lowered onto her head. The Queen Consort will be presented with a sceptre and ivory rod.

At the end of her ceremony, the newly anointed Queen Consort will likely bow to her husband, King Charles, just as Elizabeth, Queen Mother, did during her ceremony in 1937.

Despite having the title of Queen Consort, King Charles is the only monarch, and he alone has the power to rule.

Why wasn’t Prince Philip crowned?

Prince Philip was only the fifth consort to a reigning Queen in British royal history. During Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, Prince Philiponly paid homage to his wife, the Queen, as opposed to being crowned.

During the coronation, the Duke of Edinburgh said:

I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and die, against all manner of folks. So, help me God.

Why didn’t Prince Philip become King Consort after Elizabeth’s coronation? Especially given the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh was born a Prince. Before marrying into the British Royal Family, Prince Philip was the Prince of Greece and Denmark. However, he gave up these titles to marry Elizabeth.

Insider's suggestion is that King Consort's title may have outranked the Queen. Traditionally, a Queen is considered lower in rank than a King. Per common law in the UK, the term King only refers to a reigning male monarch who inherited the throne. Thus, Prince Philip couldn’t have been crowned King because he was not a King in his own right.

On top of this, the royal website states that:

If the new Sovereign is a Queen, her consort is not crowned or anointed at the coronation ceremony.

Evening Standard highlights a royal rule that dictates that a man who marries a reigning Queen will be known as Prince Consort. Queen Elizabeth made the Duke of Edinburgh a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957, five years after her coronation. Queen Victoria name Prince Albert Prince Consort only 17 years after they wed.

Royal author Nigel Cawthorne speculates that Prince Philip was never King Consort because he was born outside of the UK. He suggests that the Duke of Edinburgh followed the precedent of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband. Per the author, he was also known as Prince Consort instead of King Consort because he wasn’t from the UK.

Sources used:

- The Mirror: 'Why Prince Philip wasn't king but Camilla will be crowned queen at Charles' coronation'

- Evening Standard: 'Why was Prince Philip not called King Consort? Royal title explained'

- Insider: 'Camilla's 'Queen' title breaks with tradition. Here's why Prince Philip was never 'King''

- 'Coronation'

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