Passing The Royal Torch

How Do The Royals' Titles Change Now That Queen Elizabeth II Has Died?

Prince Charles will be king. Here's how the rest of the royal family’s titles are changing.

Queen Elizabeth II's passing means Royal Family members' titles are changing. Here is how Prince Cha...
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On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96. She was the longest-serving British monarch, just having celebrated her Platinum Jubilee marking her 70 years as Queen back in June.

Now, as many mourn her passing, the royal family is also preparing for some title changes. Most know that Prince Charles is now the King of England following his mother’s death. And back in February, the Queen announced that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, would become Queen Consort once her husband, Prince Charles, was crowned king.

Here is how the royal family tree’s titles are changing in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s passing.

Prince Charles is now King Charles

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Royal protocol dictates that a monarch-in-waiting immediately assumes the throne as soon as the reigning monarch passes. The 73-year-old Prince Charles is now King Charles, making him the oldest person to ever assume the throne. There will be a coronation ceremony at some point in the immediate future, although exact dates for both the coronation and Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral have yet to be announced.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is now Queen Consort Camilla

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“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” read the royal family’s announcement of the Queen’s death. The statement then continued: “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” referring to Charles and Camilla.

Camilla’s royal title history has been complicated, to say the least. She and Prince Charles started having an affair in 1986. In 1989, Princess Diana confronted Camilla about the affair, and the turmoil became tabloid fodder for decades, even after their 1992 separation, 1996 divorce, and Diana’s sudden death in August 1997.

The Queen reportedly called Camilla “that wicked woman” and wanted nothing to do with her. She famously did not attend Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005. Even though Camilla was technically the Princess of Wales now that she was married to Charles, she kept the title of Duchess of Cornwall, since the title Princess of Wales is forever associated with Princess Di. When Charles eventually ascended to the throne, Camilla initially planned on having the title Princess Consort.

Public criticism of Camilla eventually started to ebb, and even the Queen grew to accept her new daughter-in-law. On February 6, 2022 — the actual date that marked Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary of the start of her reign — she announced that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla have the title of Queen Consort.

“And when, in the fullness of my time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

Charles released a statement the same day saying what an honor his mother’s wish for Camilla’s title of Queen Consort was: “On this historic day, my wife and I join you all in congratulating Her Majesty the Queen on the remarkable achievement of serving this nation, the Realms and Commonwealth for 70 years. The Queen’s devotion to the welfare of all her people inspires still greater admiration with each passing year. We are deeply conscious of the honor represented by my mother’s wish. As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout.”

So what exactly is the difference between Queen and Queen Consort? The latter is the wife of a reigning monarch, but unlike a Queen (aka a Queen Regnant), a Queen Consort does not have sovereign, military, and political powers, a somewhat moot distinction, given that the modern monarchy is more figurehead and political officials are elected.

Prince William & Kate Middleton, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their children Princes George, Louis, & Princess Charlotte, gained even more titles

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Prince William and Kate Middleton have long been known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and now that Charles and Camilla are King and Queen Consort, William and Kate are now also the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, along with the Earl and Countess of Chester. The couple’s official Twitter account already reflects the additional title. For short, the couple is now styled as TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.

Prince William gets one more title than Kate, though — he is now also the Duke of Rothesay, another title held by his father.

On top of those title upgrades, the Kensington royals are likely to become the Prince and Princess of Wales, a title that Charles and William’s late mother Diana held. King Charles can choose whether or not to pass on the title; it’s not an automatic title change like from Prince to King. And Prince William is now first in line for the throne.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis all also gained new titles. Princes George and Louis are now also Princes of Cornwall and Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte is now Princess Charlotte of Cornwall and Cambridge.

Archie & Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor could still be eligible for royal titles

Even though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer senior royals in the British royal family tree, Charles’ ascension technically means that their kids Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor could become Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet down the line. The current royal guidelines, which were created in 1917 by King George V, dictate as such: “The children of any Sovereign of the United Kingdom and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of prince or princess.”

Given Harry and Meghan’s experience and ultimate departure from their royal positions, it is unclear whether or not they will accept the titles for their two children.