During the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, Her Majesty expressed her desire for Camilla to be known as Queen Consort, but why is there a Queen and a Queen Consort? Are their roles really that different?
The difference between Queen and Queen Consort
The major difference between Queen and Queen Consort is heritage. Indeed, you can only be crowned Queen if you were born into the monarchy. Queen Consort is the title given to the King’s wife. The Queen Consort has no constitutional role, but the title does carry a significant prestige.
Queen Elizabeth is known as the Queen regnant as she inherited the throne from her father, King George IV, when he died in 1952.
There is also another Queen title that is once again different. The Queen Mother is the title held by the mother of the Queen, the clue is in the title! This title is bestowed upon Queen Consort when her husband, the King has died and the next in line takes the throne.
For example, when King George IV died, his wife, Queen Elizabeth, then became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
If Camilla lives longer than Prince Charles, when Prince William takes the throne, she could then become the Queen Mother. This is still up for debate as she isn’t Prince William and Prince Harry’s biological mother.
Why don’t Queen’s husbands become Kings?
The reason Queen’s husbands don’t become Kings is to do with a traditional value system. Indeed, a King is higher ranked than a Queen, so if her husband were to be named King, he would be higher than her.
Instead, Queen’s husbands become Prince Consort. Same as for the title Queen, the title King is only given to the men born into the monarchy. Thus, when Elizabeth II became Queen in 1952, her husband Philip became Prince in 1957.