Role of royal consort explained as Queen confirms Camilla's future title

The Queen paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Cornwall in a message celebrating the role of consorts in the royal family, as she set out Camilla’s future title as Queen.

A royal consort is the spouse of a serving monarch, whose main duty is to provide support and companionship during their reign.

Unlike the king or queen, they do not have a formal position or set tasks and responsibilities.

But throughout history, those in the role have held considerable influence – most famously Prince Albert when he served as Prince Consort to Queen Victoria.

Consorts traditionally help the king or queen in their program of public engagements, from hosting heads of state to attending charity galas.

The Queen Mother was King George VI’s consort and the first British-born Queen Consort since Tudor times.

The position saw her visit Commonwealth nations and undertake major tours alongside her husband, including to badly damaged areas of the country after the air raids in the Second World War.

After the king’s death, the Queen Mother continued public duties for many decades and remained patron of about 350 organizations.

Philip automatically became Elizabeth II’s consort when she acceded to the throne in 1952.

He made history when he passed the record as Britain’s longest serving consort in 2009.

In 1953, Philip was the first layman to pay his respects to the Queen on her Coronation Day, immediately after the archbishops and bishops.

The duke dedicated decades of his life to public duty.

He accompanied the Queen around the world on her Commonwealth tours and visited some remote areas which could only be reached by sea on a solo trip on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Unlike Philip, who declined the title of prince consort, Prince Albert was officially given the formal title in 1857.

He had spent most of his childhood in Germany and used his knowledge of Europe to advise Victoria on foreign affairs.

He was given full access to cabinet papers, and from 1841 attended audiences which Victoria held with her ministers, steering her away from her close relationship with the Whigs and telling her the Crown should be non-partisan.

As the Prince of Wales’s spouse, Camilla was already automatically set to be his consort and also technically queen when he becomes king.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall

But the Queen has paved the way for Camilla to be called Queen Camilla, after royal aides said at the time of her wedding in 2005 that she would be known instead as Princess Consort.

The Queen marked her Platinum Jubilee with the message on Saturday: “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 wife of a king, known as a queen consort, is crowned at a coronation ceremony, unlike the husband of a queen.

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