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Queen Elizabeth announces she wants Camilla to be named Queen Consort when Charles becomes king

Queen Elizabeth marks historic 70 years on throne
Queen Elizabeth II marks historic 70 years on throne 01:56

Queen Elizabeth II's jubilee message includes a request that her daughter-in-law, Camilla, be named Queen Consort when Prince Charles ascends to the throne.

"And when, in the fullness of 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," the queen said in a message released Saturday night, hours before she marks 70 years on the British throne

In a statement on Sunday, Charles said he and Camilla are "deeply conscious of the honor represented by my mother's wish."

"As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and people in our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout," Charles wrote in the statement

Britain Royals
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England, December 25, 2021. Jonathan Brady/AP

The 1,000-year tradition dictates that the king's wife becomes a queen as a Queen Consort, which has no constitutional authority, according to BBC News. But when Prince Charles and Camilla married in 2005, Clarence House said Camilla's title would be "Princess Consort" when Charles becomes king.

It was believed the move was made out of respect for Charles' first wife, Diana. In a historic move, Charles and Diana were allowed to divorce in 1992, and then she died in a car accident in August 1997.

Camilla, who is also divorced from her first husband, was given the title Duchess of Cornwall when she and Charles married, since Diana had been styled as Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Charles and Camilla, who first dated in the 1970s before they were married, had carried on a long affair before he and Diana divorced, and Camilla was blamed by the British public for their divorce. At the time, she was known as "the most hated woman in Britain." After Diana died, she became even more unpopular. 

Although she has rebounded in the eyes of many, a YouGov poll of Britons in May 2021 found that only 14% of respondents thought she should become queen when Charles becomes king. Another 41% preferred the title of Princess Consort, while 28% thought she should have no title at all. 

Queen Elizabeth's husband, Philip, was originally given the title of Duke of Edinburgh when they married and he became prince consort when she ascended to the throne. She later gave him the title of prince.

In another unusual move, Elizabeth and Philip gave their children a last name, Mountbatten-Windsor, Mountbatten coming from Phillip's maternal grandparents. According to BBC News, Prince Philip asked for this last name change. "I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children," he said when Queen Elizabeth II was persuaded to keep Windsor, BBC News reported. 

When Philip died in April 2021 at the age of 99, he was the longest-serving consort of any British monarch. 

Elizabeth's prepared remarks for her jubilee also honor Philip. She said she "was blessed that in Prince Philip, I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father's reign."

Charles, 73, is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent to the British throne in history. He became heir apparent in 1952 when he was three years old and his mother became queen, and he was nine when he was named Prince of Wales. 

The laws of succession were changed in 2013 to make the oldest child, regardless of sex, the next in line for the throne. After Charles, the next in line for the throne is his eldest son, William, followed by his eldest son, George. Fourth in line then is William's daughter, Charlotte, then his youngest child, Louis, is fifth. Charles' younger son, Harry, is sixth in line for the throne, followed by his two children, Archie and Lilibet

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