Camilla, 76, has often been praised for being her husband's "rock".

Explained: What will happen to Camilla if King Charles were to abdicate

Alongside her stepson Prince William, who has returned to the royal circuit following a temporary hiatus to tend to his wife Princess Kate following surgery, King Charles’ wife Queen Camilla is carrying on the royal fort as he steps back from duties involving the public to receive treatment for cancer.

The 76-year-old Camilla is frequently complimented for being her husband’s “rock”.


King Charles waves as he’s spotted for the first time since revealing he has cancer
Photo: © Getty Images


In the BBC documentary Charles III: The Coronation Year, Annabel Elliot, her sister, put it so succinctly when she stated, “They’re yin and yang, really, they’re polar opposites, but I think it works brilliantly.” She truly is his rock, and I can’t say that enough. She is an entirely devoted individual.”

The 75-year-old King will still discreetly handle his infamous red boxes on a daily basis and meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak once a week, but Camilla will be out and about running her own royal diary and filling in for her husband when necessary at public appearances.

However, what would become of Camilla’s position and title in the event that her husband Charles abdicated or died before her? This week, after the King’s unexpected cancer diagnosis, the question has come up again.

Camilla’s new title


Camilla could be styled as “The Queen Dowager” in the future
Photo: © Getty Images


We’re not exactly sure what Camilla’s new title would be in the event that Charles abdicated, but since she is a monarch’s widow, she might be called “the Queen Dowager” if he passed away before her.

“The widow of a king” is the definition of dowager. Queen Adelaide was the last widow to use this title after her husband, King William IV, passed away in 1837.

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After her husband King George VI died in 1952, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, had the option to use this title, but she chose “the Queen Mother” instead, to which she was entitled as the heir apparent’s biological mother. For Prince William’s stepmother Camilla, this would not be the case.

What would her new role be?


Camilla is patron or president of over 90 charities and has hundreds of public engagements each year
Photo: © Getty Images


The causes and problems Camilla supports are probably not going to change much even if Charles abdicated or passed away before her. She may decide to reduce the number of organizations she is formally affiliated with and instead transfer her patronage to other members of the royal family, as the late Queen Elizabeth II and the late Duke of Edinburgh did as they grew older, given that she is the president or patron of over 90 charities.

Camilla acknowledged that her work is “very tiring” to Queen Saleha, the Sultan’s spouse, during a 2017 tour of Brunei. “We work nonstop every day. It wears you out more with age. I’m constantly trying to remind people that I need to slow down because I’m not as young as I once was.” Furthermore, it was seven years ago.

Is it possible for the diligent Queen to take a little more time off and retire to her exclusive Cotswolds residence, Ray Mill House? Time will tell.

Camilla’s title and role before Charles was crowned king


During the Platinum Jubilee, the late Queen gave her blessing for Camilla to be styled “Queen Consort”
Photo: Getty Images


Camilla was referred to as “The Duchess of Cornwall” prior to Charles’s accession to power. She was responsible for managing her own royal diary of public and private engagements, as well as providing support to her husband, Prince Charles, and the late Queen Elizabeth II.

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While she hasn’t been afraid to tackle more somber topics like assisting victims of rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, she has long been passionate about a variety of issues, including health, literacy, dance, the arts, and empowering women.

She still champions these ideas as Queen.

What is a Queen Consort?

A monarch’s spouse is referred to as a Queen Consort. Despite lacking constitutional authority, she assists her spouse in carrying out his sovereign duties.

From Queen Consort to Queen 


Ahead of the coronation, Charles issued a Royal Warrant stating that his wife should be named “Queen Camilla”   Photo: © Getty Images


Shortly after Camilla married Prince Charles in 2005, the title of “Princess Consort” was decided upon, and the public still struggled to accept the possibility that she would one day become the monarch’s consort.

However, as public opinion shifted and people began to see Camilla for the amazing, loving senior royal and Charles’s wife, it became evident that her title would require a major upgrade.

At her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the late Queen Elizabeth II granted her blessing in public by expressing in a statement that “it is my sincere wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

Camilla held the title “Queen Consort” following the demise of the late Queen in September 2022. However, at King Charles’ coronation in May 2023, eight months later, the term “consort” was officially dropped.

He issued a Royal Warrant declaring that his wife would be referred to as “Queen Camilla” in prayers said for the royal family as of Coronation Day itself.

Although Camilla’s new title of “Queen Camilla” was not officially adopted until Coronation Day, it was already referenced in royal documents, such as the palace’s official coronation invitation.

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Camilla is now referred to as “Her Majesty The Queen” or just “The Queen” on the royal family website.

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