Buckingham Palace is set officially to describe Camilla as ‘Queen’, rather than ‘Queen Consort’.
The change is likely to come after King Charles’s coronation in May, according to well-placed sources.
It will set the seal on a remarkable transformation for Camilla in the nation’s affections.
When she married the then Prince of Wales in 2005, it was widely assumed she would never be called Queen when he acceded to the throne.
That was because of her longstanding relationship with Charles while he was married to Diana, who famously said in her Panorama interview: ‘There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’
Buckingham Palace is set officially to describe Camilla as ‘Queen’, rather than ‘Queen Consort’
But Camilla has won around the public, and the late Queen’s intervention in February last year when she called for her daughter-in-law to be known as ‘Queen Consort’ is seen as a crucial show of support.
Now Buckingham Palace is set to go further, according to insiders.
The first sign of the new approach came last week when Camilla launched the ‘Queen’s Reading Room’ – without the ‘Consort’ – when she updated the name of her charity, the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room.
It is thought that the Court Circular – the official register of Royal engagements – may also soon reflect the change.
A well-placed source said: ‘There’s a view in the Palace that Queen Consort is cumbersome and it might be simpler for Camilla to be known just as the Queen when the time is right.
‘The Reading Room was a sign of that. Her Majesty is the Queen after all.
‘Prince Philip was Prince Consort officially, but he wasn’t known as Prince Consort. The Queen would of course still be Queen Consort so the Palace of course wouldn’t stop anyone calling Her Majesty that if they so chose.’
Some news outlets, including The Times and The Telegraph, have already dropped ‘Consort’ when writing about Camilla.
Buckingham Palace officials have been looking at precedent, including the titles used for the wife of King George VI, Charles’s grandfather.
As a non-reigning Queen, George VI’s wife was technically Queen Consort but was known in public simply as Queen Elizabeth.
When Camilla married the then Prince of Wales in 2005, it was widely assumed she would never be called Queen when he acceded to the throne
Following his death in 1952, she was known as the Queen Mother when her daughter Elizabeth II ascended the throne.
Similarly, when Queen Victoria died and was succeeded by her son Edward VII, his wife went from being known as the Princess of Wales to Queen Alexandra, without the use of the ‘Consort’.
It has been a long road for Camilla – and seemed unthinkable back in February 2005 when the engagement of Charles, then Prince of Wales, to Camilla Parker Bowles was announced.
A Palace statement said then: ‘It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.’
When Charles and Camilla married in April 2005, she did not take on the title of Princess of Wales, as it was so closely associated in the public consciousness with the late Princess Diana.
After years of speculation, it was the Queen’s strong show of support last year which meant Camilla’s title when Charles was King became clearer.
In an official statement released by Buckingham Palace on the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Her late Majesty said: ‘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 official decree set down by Queen Elizabeth II ended years of speculation as to whether Camilla would ever be known as Queen.
It also overturned previous guidance issued by the Palace that Camilla would only ever be known as ‘Princess Consort’.
And now – almost 20 years on from marrying Charles – Camilla is a step closer to being known simply as ‘The Queen’.
She will be crowned at Westminster Abbey alongside the King in a little more than two months.
Last year the late Queen called for her daughter-in-law to be known as ‘Queen Consort’ is seen as a crucial show of support
A Royal source said: ‘There’s a feeling that the time will come when it’s simpler all round to refer to Camilla simply as our Queen. Until then she will be referred to as Queen Consort.’
Explaining The Times’ decision to call Camilla Queen rather than Queen Consort, the newspaper’s archivist Rose Wild said: ‘For most of us, “the Queen” has meant only one person for as long as we can remember. While we were still getting used to the idea of singing “God save the King”, there was some possibility of confusion about who “the Queen” meant in our coverage of her death.
‘This was largely resolved by the use of “Queen Consort” to refer to the former Duchess of Cornwall. This wordy solution no longer seems necessary. “Consort” is a description, not a title.
‘While all previous wives of kings have been queens consort, none have been referred to as such.’